Think of it as going shopping for electricity. The best place to start is in front of the computer where you can compare rates and decide what's important to you.
Electricity lights up our lives. It powers our appliances and electronics, but the bill can be expensive, so Pennsylvania customers now have a choice.
Let's say you're with Duquesne Light, they will still deliver your power and your bill, but now you can chose who generates the electricity.
Gregg Holtzman is with Viridian, a green energy company offering service in Western Pennsylvania. "They can decide what type of energy they want to buy. Do they want to buy green energy or energy produced by coal or nuclear?"
The theory is that competition will drive down prices, and we're already starting to see that. I went to the website www.papowerswitch.com where I was able to compare prices.
Let's say your electric bill from Duquesne light is $100 a month. If you switch to Viridian Energy, you'll pay $89 a month. Over time the savings can really add up. You'll save $121 a year.
There are other things to consider as well. Some companies lock you into a contract at a fixed rate and charge a penalty to cancel. While others, like Direct Energy, offer a 5 percent discount for a year with no cancellation fee.
"Five percent off of the generation portion of your utility bill could be quite substantial if you think about how those bills accumulated over 12 months," said Scott Turner of Direct Energy.
Traditionally green energy was more expensive, but now there are companies offering renewable energy at reasonable rates, and some of that wind power is generated right here in Pennsylvania.
"It's manufactured up in Somerset, Pennsylvania from the windmill farms up there so we're keeping it local," said Holtzman.
There's definitely savings to be had. I recommend going to a website set up by the public utility commission. You can put in your ZIP code and find the cheapest providers in your area. Now this is important, you don't have to switch electric providers, but if you do it's estimated you can save between 5 percent and 10 percent on your electric bill.
PA Power Switch Link – by the Public Utility Commission: LINK: PA Power Switch
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