As winter approaches and many utilities adjust their seasonal energy supply prices, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminds consumers they have options to manage anticipated higher bills – and stresses that consumers currently struggling to pay monthly bills should act now and seek assistance by contacting their utilities.
The cost of energy used each month – either electricity or natural gas – is the second key factor in the size of customer bills. It is important for consumers to understand the two major parts of their monthly electric or natural gas bills:
- Delivery/distribution charge – This charge includes the cost for the operation and maintenance of the poles, wires, pipelines, and other infrastructure that delivers energy to your home or business. This portion of your monthly bill supports your local utility.
- Generation/supply charge – This charge covers the cost of the energy (electricity or natural gas) used during the month. This energy cost for this portion of the bill is determined in two ways: one, by a consumer’s contract with a competitive supplier or two, for consumers who do not shop, the utility provides energy supply at the “Price to Compare” (PTC).
All Pennsylvania regulated electric utilities are adjusting their PTCs on December 1 for residential non-shopping customers. The PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer’s total utility bill. However, this percent varies by utility and by the level of individual customer usage.
Beginning December 1, electric distribution companies report the following changes in their PTCs for residential customers:
- Citizens Electric, up from 9.3667 cents to 12.2259 cents per kWh (31%);
- Duquesne Light, estimated increase from 9.36 cents to 11.25 cents per kWh (20.2%);
- Met-Ed, up from 9.397 cents to 10.303 cents per kWh (10%);
- PECO, up from 8.508 cents to 9.855 cents per kWh (15.8%);
- Penelec, down from 10.021 cents to 9.889 cents per kWh (-1%);
- Penn Power, up from 10.348 cents to 10.511 cents per kWh (2%);
- Pike Co. Light & Power, Dec. 1 PTC not finalized – currently at 12.8994 cents per kWh;
- PPL, up from 12.366 cents to 14.612 cents per kWh (18%);
- UGI Electric, no PTC change on Dec. 1 from the current 12.903 cents per kWh;
- Wellsboro Electric, up from 9.592 cents to 12.816 cents per kWh (34%); and
- West Penn Power, up from 8.306 cents to 8.517 cents per kWh (3%).
The PUC notes that electric utilities are required to procure energy at the least possible cost. However, the Commission does not regulate prices for the generation portion of electric bills. Generation prices are separate from the closely regulated rates that utilities charge for their distribution services – the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses.
Over the past few months, many of Pennsylvania’s natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) have also adjusted their PTCs for non-shopping customers – and some NGDCs have seen increases in their purchased gas costs due to current energy market conditions. Similar to electric, the PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer’s total utility bill, with the percentage varying by NGDC and by the level of individual customer usage.
The following NGDCs report PTC changes for residential customers:
- Columbia Gas of PA, up from $0.32613 to $0.7457 per therm (128%);
- National Fuel Gas, down from $0.9038 to $0.8778 per Ccf (-2.9%);
- PECO, down from $0.8346 to $0.8179 per Ccf (-2%);
- Peoples Natural Gas Co., down from $8.713 to $8.1342 per Mcf (-6.6%);
- Peoples Gas Co. LLC, down from $8.713 to $8.1342 per Mcf (-6.6%):
- Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), down from $0.9381 to $0.8999 per Ccf (-4.2%):
- UGI Utilities, up from $0.85979 to $0.86063 per Ccf (1%); and
- Valley Energy, up from $0.41748 to $0.82047 per Ccf (96.5%).