Apples to apples comparisons : LUSENET : Deregulation / Restructuring Discussion: - Energy Utilities in the 21st Century : One Thread

This whole issue has become very confusing to me. I just sent back a notice that PECO energy sent to me that I had to send back, or they would be forced to send out my account info to all of the electric companies that serve my area (lower Bucks Co.).

All I want is a reliable electric company that isn't raking me over the coals. My current electric bill is outrageous. What's the best way to compare rates, and what should someone like me be looking for? What are the risks with going with a no-name electric company i

-- Dale Leaderer (, September 28, 1999


The Pa. state PUC has been pretty agressive about trying to "force" the competition to fruition, which I personally see as a boneheaded play. It took quite awhile for competition in the telecom industry to mature, and I think we'll see much the same type of thing play out in the electric and gas industries. You can't force someone to switch service, or even consider switching.

My grandmother stuck with the same phone companies until the day she passed away. Now, I'll admit her long distance charges were probably minimal, but the point is that she wouldn't even consider switching from the company that had been reliably serving her for many, many years. Is that customer loyalty or fear? I dunno. I suspect the latter.

With respect to apples to apples comparisons, try doing that with your telecom providers. ;-) It's the fine print that gets you every time. Even though you may switch providers, you'll still be paying what amount to "transmission rights" to your company. The deregulation deck in Pa. was stacked (and maybe rightfully so) in favor of the traditional electric companies for the next five years or so, so that they can recoup the cost of building and maintaining their infrastructures. After the transition period passes, and some of those charges drop off your bill, you might begin to see some real savings.

The only thing I can suggest is to do your homework - contact the approved suppliers in your area for rate quotes, find out what PECO's embedded charges are, and then compare against your current bill. I'm sure you'll save money - I'm not sure how *much* money you'll save, though.

Risks - probably minimal. Even if a "no-namer" goes out of business, there's still an obligation to serve by the distribution company. You wouldn't be without power. The primary risk is that down the road, either your bills will skyrocket (residential ain't where it's at), or you'll be pre-paying for power. It's a whole new el

-- Rick Cowles (, September 29, 1999.

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