How You Can Keep Your Electric Bill Lower Despite Rising Energy Costs
The cost of electrical power will increase statewide starting on June 1, but there are steps consumers can take to prevent their bill from rising too drastically.
Energy rates are about to rise just as summer is starting to heat up.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has cautioned residents that the cost of electrical power could balloon when energy rates rise statewide on June 1. Many customers may see increases ranging from 6% to 45% as summer approaches and customers rev up their air conditioners, with the following companies reporting the following increases:
- Citizens’ Electric, up from 7.3995 cents to 9.3667 cents per kWh (26.6%);
- Met-Ed, up from 6.832 cents to 7.936 cents per kWh (16.1%);
- Penelec, up from 6.232 cents to 8.443 cents per kWh (35.4%);
- Penn Power, up from 7.082 cents to 8.694 cents per kWh (22.7%);
- PPL, up from 8.941 cents to 12.366 cents per kWh (38.3%);
- Wellsboro Electric, up from 7.7569 cents to 9.592 cents per kWh (23.7%); and
- West Penn Power, up from 5.667 cents to 8.198 cents per kWh (44.6%);
Prices for Duquesne Light, PECO and Pike County Light & Power are still being calculated but are expected to rise, too. Final prices for those utilities will be available later in May, the commission said.
The rise is fueled by higher wholesale market prices for electricity, driven largely by shifts in supply and demand for natural gas. Other issues, like unrest and uncertainty in the global energy market and the pressure of inflation affecting nearly everything, are playing a role, too.
Small businesses will also feel the heat from rising electricity costs; among Pennsylvania’s major providers, service rates for small businesses will soar, ranging from an increase of 20.8% for Pennsylvania Power & Light to 55.6% for West Penn Power.
But nevertheless, the commission said customers can prevent their bills from increasing too sharply by being energy conscious and shopping around for a less expensive provider. You can check out PA Power Switch’s website to compare rates and offers from various electrical companies. The site also offers some tips in shopping for electric power and additional information on how to switch, if need be.
Many utility companies also have a voluntary Standard Offer Program — an alternative for default service customers that provides the option of receiving service at a fixed price that’s 7% below the utility’s standard cost. This means the cost of energy is fixed at that price for one year, and it can be canceled at any time without termination fees.
You can also set up a Budget Billing payment plan for your bills that’s spread out over the whole year, which means you’ll pay the same rate every month for a year regardless of energy consumption. This offers a level of predictability for electricity customers and ensures that your bills won’t be too high in the summer, even if you use air conditioning. (On the other hand, though, your bills may be a bit higher than usual in your low-energy-use months to offset the cost of high-use months.)
You can also take the following steps to limit your energy consumption without cutting too many corners:
- Seal air leaks to help prevent cool (or warm) air from escaping.
- Keep hot water use to a minimum by washing only full loads in washer and dishwashers.
- Use your clothes dryer automatic cycle, which helps prevent energy waste by drying your clothes only as much as needed. This also helps your clothes last longer, too.
- Check and clean your dryer exhaust vent occasionally and remove lint after each load.
- Put weather stripping on all doors and windows, or install storm windows and doors, to prevent drafts.
- Make sure furniture isn’t blocking heating and cooling registers; heating systems and air conditioners work harder when they’re blocked.
- Lower the water temperature setting to 120 degrees on your hot water heater.
- Wash laundry in cold water, which not only reduces your energy bill, but helps prevent shrinkage and fading of your favorite clothes.
For more tips, check out this handy guide from PA Power Switch.