PUC Marks 2 Million Electric Customers Shopping, Emphasizes More Work Ahead to Ensure Robust Market Continues
PUC Press Release:
HARRISBURG – With 2 million Pennsylvania electric customers using a competitive electric supplier, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) celebrated the milestone while stressing that more work needs to be done to ensure the robust competitive market continues.
“Two million homeowners and employers are saving money – from a few dollars to as much as $30 a month for residential consumers,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson. “While we are celebrating that achievement, we are mindful that work still needs to be done to ensure the healthy market that has allowed us to achieve this success moves forward.” A video news release from the event is available on the PUC's website.
Joining the PUC to mark 2 million customers using a competitive supplier for electricity were Wolf Furniture, who hosted the event at their Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, location, the North Penn School District (Montgomery County), the Retail Energy Suppliers Association, the Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association, OnDemand Energy and electric utilities, who support shopping as they cannot make a profit on that portion of a customer’s bill.
When the last of the rate caps began to expire in January 2010, about 337,600 electric customers were using a competitive supplier. Through consumer education efforts, including websites such as www.PAPowerSwitch.com, electric customers became increasingly more comfortable with their ability to shop for electricity, saving money and taking advantage of incentives offered by suppliers.
Recognizing that a robust electric retail market requires support, the PUC is in the final stages of an investigation intended to ensure the state’s regulatory framework is one that encourages a market where consumers have continued choices for electric supply.
Here’s what was being said about achieving the 2-million milestone:
PUC Vice Chairman John F. Coleman: “This celebration of 2 million shopping customers is not the end of our story. The PUC is in the final stages of an investigation intended to ensure the state’s regulatory framework is one that encourages a market where consumers have continued choices for electric supply.”
PUC Commissioner Wayne E. Gardner: “Businesses are not the only employers who are benefitting from electric shopping. Across Pennsylvania, hundreds of school districts have switched to a competitive supplier for their electric generation, and experienced tremendous savings, which as taxpayers we all know our schools are struggling in these economic times.”
PUC Commissioner James H. Cawley: “We would be remiss not to mention that in order to shop for our electric generation supply, we need to have suppliers doing business and making competitive offers to customers here in Pennsylvania. We’re happy to report that more than 200 suppliers are now licensed to do business here in our state. In fact, there are 50 suppliers more doing business here than there were just three years ago.”
PUC Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer: “Two million Pennsylvania homeowners and employers have realized that beyond savings per kilowatt hour, they have electric suppliers competing through innovative product offerings such as free power days, frequent flier miles and help with energy efficiency improvements that further their reduce costs. Two million sounds like a big number, but there are approximately 12 million Pennsylvanians and I am anxious to work on additional steps that will help more consumers and small business owners realize potential cost savings and more innovative products.”
Tom Schneider, Manager of Energy and Operational Efficiencies, North Penn School District, Montgomery County:“Since competitive purchasing of electricity has been available, North Penn School District has yielded an average of 12 percent savings off of the utility benchmark which equates to approximately $150,000 per year. These savings coupled with other energy related efforts have yielded a 2011-12 cost avoidance in excess of $900,000 which have been extremely helpful in preserving instructional programs during the prolonged recession.”
Ron Cerniglia, the Retail Energy Supply Association’s Pennsylvania Electricity Issues Chairman: “Due to the leadership of Governor Corbett and the General Assembly in support of the PUC’s pro-consumer policies, today a record number of suppliers are competing in Pennsylvania to provide energy products and services to more than 2 million residential and business consumers.”
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, video and audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov.