PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Consumers could be losing money because they are not using the Public Utility Commission’s Pennsylvania Power Switch website to search for cheaper suppliers of electricity.
“There are offers out there that might save consumers 25 percent, 30 percent, compared to what the standard rate would be,” PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Those often higher standard rates come from the default providers like Duquesne Light and West Penn Power.
Hagen-Frederiksen says about two-thirds of residential users are still stuck with them, and the number is growing.
“Thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of people dropping out of the competitive market, and moving back to default service,” he said.
The PUC said one explanation might be First Energy’s decision to get out of the residential electricity supply business here.
Another reason many consumers may not be going on this webpage is they remember the reports KDKA-TV did a year ago when so many electricity consumers found that their bills were being jacked up multiple, multiple times during the dead of winter.
Remember the polar vortex of 2014 when consumers on variable rate electricity plans found their bills doubled, tripled, quadrupled?
“Some folks may be a bit gun shy about shopping,” acknowledged Hagen-Frederiksen.
But Hagen-Frederiksen says the PUC is requiring more transparency from suppliers about rates on the PUC’s revamped website where you just type in your zip code to see all the various options.
“It’s now quicker and easier for consumers to shop and get out of a contract that they might find disadvantageous,” he said.
In fact, consumers can now switch suppliers on just three days’ notice instead of the month it used to take.
You can check out the PUC website on your PC, iPad, or smart phone right here: http://www.papowerswitch.com/
And state Sen. Matt Smith is hosting two seminars for PUC officials to show consumers how to take advantage of lower electricity bills.
Thursday, May 7: Mt. Lebanon Public Library
16 Castle Shannon Blvd.
Mt. Lebanon, Pa.
Wednesday, May 27: Council Chambers Of Moon Municipal Building
100 Beaver Grade Rd.
Moon Twp., Pa.