Energy deregulation isn’t new in Pennsylvania. The energy marketplace started deregulating in 1996. In 2010-2011, Pennsylvania became a fully competitive marketplace when rate caps expired, and consumers have had the power to switch energy providers since then.
Even so, Pennsylvania home and business owners are missing out on their share of an estimated $2.5 billion in energy bills savings every year. Though they’ve had the power to switch for the past 5 years, over 3.5 million consumers are overpaying on their energy bills.
Who’s using PA Power to Switch?
Switch rates vary wildly by sector (i.e. commercial, industrial, and residential) and by which local utility a consumer has. Businesses with industrial and manufacturing facilities switch energy providers at a much higher rate than those in other sectors, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) PA PowerSwitch Monthly Update.
About 85% of industrial electricity customers used the power to switch and choose their electricity supplier. Their power use represents almost 96% of electricity used by the industrial sector.
For the commercial sector, only about half of all commercial electricity users switched energy providers. While 88.5% of the commercial electricity consumption in PPL, Pennsylvania’s largest utility, is purchased competitively, only about half of the commercial consumption is being “shopped” for in UGI.
Who’s losing out?
Residential consumers in Pennsylvania are missing the most in savings. Only a little more than one third of consumers shopped around for a lower rate. Pike county has the largest switch rate at right above half of all residential users and PPL have a switch rate of nearly half. Only 2.1% of residential customers in UGI are shopping around for their power.
What does this mean?
Overall, only 41% of electricity customers in Pennsylvania switched energy suppliers, while 59% might be overpaying. Nearly half of commercial customers and two-thirds of homeowners are missing out. The savings energy deregulation has yielded is estimated to be in the billions. Businesses and homeowners statewide are currently seeing savings anywhere from 10-30%.
Many more commercial and industrial electrcity users have switched compared to residential users because benefits are greater. Businesses and institutions that have a larger exposure to electricity pricing risks and those who use more energy are more likely to shop. So the more electricity your facilities use, the greater the overall savings.
- Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) PA Power to Switch Monthly Update: http://extranet.papowerswitch.com/stats/PAPowerSwitch-Stats.pdf?/download/PAPowerSwitch-Stats.pdf