PPL residential rates to rise 3.2 percent on June 1, contrary to predicted decline - LancasterOnline: Local Business

PPL residential rates to rise 3.2 percent on June 1, contrary to predicted decline

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Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 12:47 pm | Updated: 4:14 pm, Wed May 21, 2014.

Contrary to PPL Electric Utilities’ prediction earlier this month, its  residential rate will climb 3.2 percent on June 1, the state said Wednesday.

The residential rate will grow from 8.754 cents per kilowatt hour currently to 9.036 cents per kwh, said the state Public Utility Commission.

PPL had been forecasting a drop of 4.4 percent, to 8.367 cents per kwh.

Instead, the rate will hit its highest point in more than three years, since it was 9.270 cents per kwh in January 2011.

PPL spokesman Bryan Hay said the forecast for the summer rate was based on PPL’s purchases up to that time for summer power.

The prices for those purchases were lower, prompting PPL to predict the decrease in the June 1 rate.

But a final purchase, made after the estimate was given to the PUC, was notably more expensive, pushing the June 1 rate up.

The PUC again urged consumers who buy their electricity supply from PPL to visit the PUC’s website, PAPowerSwitch.com, and look for cheaper alternatives.

Because it can take 11 to 40 days for a switch in electric suppliers to take effect, PPL customers who drop the utility will still be hit with the June 1 increase, said the PUC.

“However, consumers who act now should see their new rate go into effect before the highest usage months of summer,” the commission added.

Some 54 percent of the 1.23 million residential customers in PPL territory still buy their power from the utility.

PPL delivers the power to all of the customers in its territory over its lines, no matter which firm supplies it.

The PUC last month approved regulations that would accelerate the timetable for a switch in suppliers to take effect.

But that measure still needs another approval, from the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

With the updated June 1 price, PPL joins the majority of leading electric utilities in the state.

Six of the seven now will be increasing their residential rate on that date.

If it’s any comfort, PPL’s increase is the smallest by far.

The others range from 19.6 percent at Altoona-based Penelec to 50.6 percent at Greensburg-based West Penn Power.

PPL residential customers looking to trim their bill have plenty of choices, the PUC website indicates.

Of 81 offers from alternative suppliers serving residential customers in PPL territory, 32 are cheaper than PPL’s June 1 rate.

However, 11 of them are variable rates, which means they can change, according to PAPowerSwitch.com.

The others are fixed rates, meaning they hold steady for the entire length of the contract term, which ranges from three to 24 months.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the lowest offer listed was a variable rate of 6.90 cents per kwh from American Power & Gas.

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