Pennsylvania Energy Deregulation

pennsylvania-ratesPennsylvania is not only a state filled with rich American history, but it also made history when it became one of the first states in the U.S. to launch a deregulated energy market. The market officially changed to a deregulated structure in 1996. The goal of the effort was to allow consumers to choose where their energy came from, meaning they no longer had to pay their utility?s energy prices, if they didn’t want to.

With deregulation in place, several individual suppliers began finding their way to Pennsylvania. Today, there are several retail energy providers that buy energy in bulk from the public utilities and sell it to consumers at discounted prices, including the following companies:

  • Accent Energy
  • Ambit Energy
  • Bounce Energy
  • Champion Energy
  • Commerce Energy
  • Constellation Energy
  • Direct Energy
  • Dynowatt
  • Gateway Energy Services
  • Hudson Energy
  • IGS Energy
  • Just Energy
  • Liberty Power
  • Nextera Energy Services
  • Stream Energy
  • Suez Energy
  • Verde Energy

Retail suppliers such as this, appeared in the market and were able to offer PA customers with lower electricity rates. As more and more consumers started seeing the benefit of switching their service, more retail energy providers began providing services to those in the state, creating a competitive market in PA. Today, different energy suppliers are now offer deals on fixed rate and variable rate plans and offer things like short-term and long-term contract solutions as well as green energy products.

As these suppliers continue to strive to offer competitive plans to consumers, many customers in PA are also able to take advantage of different perks, benefits and incentives with their energy plan.

According to the Public Utility Commission in Pennsylvania more than 2.5 million consumers in the state have chosen a plan from a retail energy provider instead of their local utility. Pennsylvania residents who choose not to shop for an energy plan from an individual retail energy provider, can still receive electric service from their state-appointed utility.

PA Power Switch

Pennsylvania’s official energy program is known as PA Power Switch. This program not only provides residents with important information on energy deregulation in Pennsylvania, but resources to better understand the state’s approach to its electric market. PA Power Switch is a government-regulated program owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which launched with the goal of educating homeowners and business owners on choosing the right energy supplier.

The program not only offers a bevy of information, but a search and shopping tool for residents to use to compare offers.

Electricity for Homes

10,402 kWh per year is Pennsylvania’s average annual electricity consumption. Compared to New York, the state’s electricity consumption amount is 58% more, and compared to New Jersey, the consumption amount is 17% more. Overall however, Pennsylvania’s consumption of electricity is still lower than the national average.

The majority of household types in Pennsylvania are single family homes, while around 20% are apartment buildings or units. There are a very small percentage of households that fall under the mobile home category. The average square footage for a household in the state is approximately, 2,240 square feet. Pennsylvania is a unique state because it has more newly build homes and less apartment buildings or units compared to other Middle Atlantic States.

When it comes to cost, residents living in this state pay about 16% more for their electricity than the average American household. Within these households, there are several major uses for electricity. Half of electricity is used for space heating. Pennsylvania households use air conditioners more so than any other Northeastern state, but air conditioners still make up less than 3% of electricity consumed within the state itself. Additional details include,

  • 50% of electricity within Pennsylvania households is consumed by space heaters.
  • Appliances, electronics and lighting uses 32% of the total amount of electricity consumed.
  • Water heaters use 15% of the state’s household electricity.
  • Only 3% of the electricity consumed is for air conditioning.

In regards to the type of energy used to heat homes in the state, 38% of households use natural gas. Electricity comes in at 29%, fuel oil at 20% and propane at 9%. Cooling stats are a bit different in that over half of the state’s homes use central air conditioning. The rest of the state’s households use either windows or a wall unit.

Some other interesting statistics about Pennsylvania’s residential electricity consumption include,

  • 40% of households own a DVR, and the majority also has between 2-3 televisions.
  • Just over 20% of Pennsylvania households have more than 1 refrigerator.
  • Almost 40% of homes own and use a separate freezer.
  • Slightly over 60% of households have double or triple windowpanes installed.
  • Slightly fewer than 40% of households have a programmable thermostat.
  • Over 60% of the state’s homes have a top loading washing machine.

Electricity for Businesses

There are several industries that help to generate income for Pennsylvania. These include, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, technology, finance, energy, aviation, tourism, film, and more. The state is the location of seventeen fortune 500 companies including, U.S Steel, H.J Heinz, and PPG Industries. For each of these industries to work efficiently and effectively, they all require the use of electricity.

As manufacturing is a critical component to the status of the state’s economy, industrial energy use makes up 35% of the total business related electricity consumption. Commercial energy makes up 16.5%. Transportation consumes the second largest amount of energy making up for 23.9% of the total annual amount.

Energy Saving Initiatives

The primary responsibility of the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) of is to provide consumers with the best options and information to reduce their energy consumption and rates. The organization works closely with its energy utilities to make sure that the proper plans and services are in place in order to achieve these goals for the public.

Some of the energy saving initiatives or programs includes, appliance recycling and rebate programs, home energy audit and weatherization programs, and more. The PA PUC also provides links to the information and opportunities offered by each utility so that the public can remain informed about their options.

Pennsylvania Electricity Rates

Pennsylvania is home to several major metropolitan areas. Many of these large cities also fall under the state’s deregulated energy laws.  We have rates for cities like:

Abington Allentown Altoona
Bethlehem Carlisle Erie
Gettysburg Harrisburgh Lancaster
Philadelphia Pittsburgh Scranton
Reading West Chester York

Pennsylvania is still separated into different utilities, meaning that different cities may each have unique utilities governing their area’s energy services.

Fast Facts About Pennsylvania’s Energy Market

Pennsylvania’s energy market has more than just deregulation on its resume, there are also a number of other interesting facts about how the state utilizes and creates energy to create an exciting and multi-faceted market:

– In 2014, Pennsylvania ranked 4th in the nation in electricity generation from nuclear power.
– Pennsylvania has an Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard that requires 18% of the state’s sold electricity to come from renewable resources. The state has until 2021 to reach this goal.
– In 2014, Pennsylvania was the country’s second-largest produce from natural gas.
– Pennsylvania is the 4th largest coal producer in the U.S. and the only state to produce anthracite coal, which has the highest heat value of any type of coal.

Pennsylvania’s Top Utilities

Even though energy deregulation made it possible for Pennsylvania residents to buy energy from individual retail providers, other than their state-appointed utility, these utilities are still major entities in Pennsylvania. The following electricity utilities service the state:

Citizens Electric Company – 1-570-524-2231
Duquesne Light – 1-888-393-7000
GI Electric Service – 1-800-276-2722
Met-Ed – 1-888-544-4877
PECO – 1-800-841-4141
Penelec – 1-888-544-4877
Penn Power – 1-888-544-4877
Pike County Light and Power – 1-877-434-4100
PPL Electric Utilities 1-800-342-5775
Wellsboro Electric Company – 1-570-724-3516
West Penn Power – 1-888-544-4877

It is important for Pennsylvania residents to remember that their utility is still in charge of electricity in their area, even if they aren’t buying their power directly from the utility. This means if there is ever an emergency, an outage or a down power line, consumers still need to call their local utility for assistance. Typically, their retail energy provider cannot help them in these situations.