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change power companies in PA?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by maverick06, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    I live in pa and as we arent regulated I can chose my power company via papowerswitch.com

    But there are so many choices I was wondering if anyone here has had good results in doing this? The fixed price/no cancellation fee options are clearly safe. Many are variable rate, with lower rates. I am not sure how much they vary the rates though. Not sure if that would set me up to get hose by some unscrupulous power company. And I have had a terrible time finding any reviews.

    What have you guys done.

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  2. Redbarn

    Redbarn Burning Hunk

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    We have Met Ed as the service provider. After much research and using the basic criteria that a supplier had to have a Stock Symbol, we settled on a 1 year contract with Reliance Energy. Went to the Reliance web site and signed up directly.

    This was cheaper than Met Ed over the 1st year but theoretically cost more than some of the variable options. From a billing standpoint, it is completely seamless and we pay our bill to MetEd as usual. You actually have to read the bill to find that Met Ed bills for both companies.

    Met Ed prices varied a lot over the 1st year but when it came to renewal time, Met Ed dropped their price. Reliance beat it so we signed up for another 1 year deal. Our rates have dropped by 3+ cents per KWhr over the 18 months. So far, so good.
  3. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I've stuck with PECO while they taper off the winter discount. I guess in Jan 2013 I'll look around and ask you who I should go with. :p
  4. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I've used a source (Edit: Constellation Energy) to supply my electricity through JCP&L for something approaching 2 years. The first year I save in the neighborhood of $15 per month on a contract price. I am now on a variable price and sometimes it is more than JCP&L . I just haven't gotten around to changing back to JCP&L. I may look for one of the outfits that gives Airline miles : ) as a bonus.
  5. jwoair23

    jwoair23 Burning Hunk

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    I have Duquesne Light as my "normal" supplier. I just recently switched to IGS Energy, they had a 12 year lock on the rate, no cancellation fee. It seems like a good deal overall, but I haven't had it kick in yet as I only did it a month ago. I think my next bill should reflect it.

    I wasn't able to find anyone else I knew that had done it, for comparison's sake, so I am hoping for the best!
  6. Elle

    Elle Member

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    I've stayed with PPL. My brother uses Dominion and is happy with it. I've done things like turn off surge protectors that have " stand by" items in them. That alone cut my bill almost in half!!
  7. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Well if your usage is measured in Killo-Watt-Hours not Milli-Watt-Hours I wonder how you could even detect the difference with surge protectors on or off I have a watt meter and what I believe are surge protectors, those extension cords with an on/off switch and a number of outlets in an enclosure, so I can measure mine. If you have high loads on one or more of the outlets then turning the surge protector off would shut those loads off, is that what you're talking about?

    Since I went off Contract (fixed) charges for electric energy from Constellation (delivered by Jersey Central P&L) I find the saving are not always positive, i.t., sometimes JCP&L charges less. JCP&L provides me their rate in each billing so that I can compare, and I do. I wonder how many others track the "savings". I have considered returning to JCP&L for the energy, or finding a third party provider that also give miles on United Air Lines - I had an offer on that some months back but I can't find it now. Not on the web or the UA web either.
  8. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Well PPL and the PUC gave us a good one this time. The PUC is ;letting them raise the customer charge from $8+ to over $15 almost double ,and thats before you use a single kill-a-watt. The PUC here should be elected instead of hand picked industry insiders who are throwing us under the bus at every opportunity.
  9. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I don't recall what the customer charge is in NJ, but I"ll guess less than $10 for the last billing.

    We were without electric power for almost 10 days, and we were not last. That means our power company had all of its repair employees and equipment running a maximum over times (know ans 24/7). The company also had even more crews in from out-of-state, including the home company First Energy of Ohio. It was a First Energy team that go our street service back on. Just that, and after the town and cut a narrow path down the road through fallen trees, mostly evergreen, I now hate White Pine trees..that's another story. So all this work can be paid for or we can think like Big Labor an tell the private companies they have to print money (like our government) to pay for the restoration. Remember Hostess bakers? I think they had been around most of my life time (I'm in my 70s) and they are no more because they were told (by the Union in this case) they have to somehow create wealth (also know as bad guys in Washington DC) and not compensate their employees at a level that allowed them to compete in the marketplace.

    Yes, the power companies are heavily regulated but private. They can not create wealth (pay for stuff) beyond what the market/regulators will allow. Yes, I am suspicious of in-bed relationships between regulators (politicians) and the poeple they are supposed to oversee... look at the public employee unions and elected officials who grant wages and benefits that the overtaxed citizens can't afford, even though they are the ones who create wealth. Even there there is a limit to how deep the pockets are.

    So, if you want to feel bad about an increase in the customer charge, keep your head down as you look at the cost to you from the continuing roll out of Obama Care and more regulations - Obama is still after coal, and while he didn't succeed in the Ca p and Trade legislation (even his progressive democrats wouldn't pass it) his free and excessive use of the regulatory powers is accomplishing the same thing. Watch the environmental folks push you electric bill up by double, then who you going to blame? I blame us, we who elect corrupt and power hungry officials. Even if we didn't vote for them, the fact that they get elected says we who didn't vote for them didn't do enough to defeat them.

    A good example of what is yet to happen to electric power cost take a look at gasoline and heating oil. I'll estimate in the past 15 years my electric cost, energy plus delivery, went from 9 cents to 14 cents per KWH, a little under 50%, heating oil went from $1 to $4 per gallon, up 400%, this is Obama's goal, as he said himself before being elected the first time: "electric rates will necessarily skyrocket" he's still yet to deliver on that promise but he's working on it. That increase will come by increasing generation cost from coal and oil, even natural gas - and we know how he feels about nuclear. So, your doubled customer charge will pales into insignificance as you electric rates make you think about getting used to being cold and in the dark.

    I also expect to see my homeowner policy cost go up due to storm damage form Sandy. And in spite of the fact my company denied my claim - a small claim my losses didn't include my home.
  10. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    The main reason why PPL is pushing to double customer charges is they cannot compete with other electric providers on generation,they keep getting creamed in a competitive market so they are sticking it to us where they have no competition,and thats in delivery. We had little damage from sandy so its not from that. The editorial in our local paper today really chastised PPL for this latest money grab. They are guaranteeing shareholders a 10% annual return on a utility stock,pretty rare in this economy. I can see where power companies servicing beach front towns will have increased costs going forward,possibly they should charge more for electric there to balance the cost/risk.
  11. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Okay, sounds like a back-room deal. I assumed it was based on damage such as we have in NJ. I know PA didn't get hit as hard but I figured hard enough to be a needing $$ for repairs.

    Seems we agree there are two many deals and not enough creation of value and efficiency - which had been the American way and free markets. I don't see anyway out of the regulated delivery because the cost of infrastructure is too high for several suppliers to build delivery to the end user. That said there has to be regulatory oversight, not deal making, if this arrangement is to be good value for the dollar.

    Sorry about the diatribe.. I try not to do that, sometimes I back-slide. Regulation is a pet peeve of mine.
  12. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    We have Met-ed here but only a few houses down is PECO. Our house is 1100 sq feet, no kids, just my hubby and I, I work from home so during the day stuff is on. Our electric bill was only over $100 ONCE in 10 years in the middle of summer when AC was kickin on high for weeks on end.

    We now pay $75 a month, fixed regarless how how much we use. Whatever we over pay is credited to our account and left there until we ask for a refund. Every 4 months the a analyze our usage and adjust out monthly fixed fees - so far it only goes down.

    I started looking into other companies just out of curiosity but there were so many extras and fees and variables that I just gave up.

    Just be sure to read all of the fine print, that is where they get you :)
  13. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Well what do you use electricity for? From your signature it looks like you are a serious wood heat person - guess that's why the summer air conditioning bill it a high bill. Do you use oil or gas (natural or otherwise)?

    A better measure of use is how many KWH, we don't need to know the rate you are paying, including customer fees, to translate you usage. I use about 1000 KWH per month average (or about $150) - but I am all electric, including heating (geo thermal heat pump) hot water, cooking, washing, and of course lighting which is mostly high efficiency... I also have almost twice the floor space at 2,000 square feet. Thus, my interest in getting the KWH energy charge as low as I can. Here I again note, electricity is still a bargain compared to oil heat. Here I mean even resistive electric heat isn't too bad compared to oil, and if the resistive heat is controlled per room, one can heat only during the time the room is being used.

    How do you like the Stihl mini boss? Is that like the MS 260? Not sure I have the model right, but it the MS isn't a commercial rated saw. I purchased a new Husqvarna 440E with 16", it is better than my past stock of saws, but not a Stihl.
  14. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    We're in NH and switched from PSNH to somebody else. When all is said and done we saved about 5-10 bucks a month on a large residential bill. Now PSNH is petitioning to raise it's deliver charges, so that will go away soon.

    I wish we hadn't de-regulated our market. Water is going to be next.
    Joful and mole like this.
  15. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'm in Pa and have been debating making a switch as well. However, while other companies offer lower rates the the one I was forced to be with before deregulation, talking to any one of them feels like I'm dealing with a greasy used car salesman, so I've stuck.

    The thing is, Penelec (who I am with), actually wants it's current customers to leave! They apparently don't want the burden of reading meters and such. The problem is I just haven't been able to find another supplier that isn't running scams / promotions that remind me of dealing with a cable or satellite company.

    pen
  16. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I can't say I've dealt with a used car salesman in the past 40 years, thank God, but it does seem to my recollection of those dealings yields the same for the electric power industry, both the 3rd party suppliers and my home company, JCP&L. I went through some searches on the web and then made several telephone calls to determine who was including, or not, which taxes when they quoted me their rate. Even the JCP&L bill which provides their KWH rate for comparison. I can determine the 3rd party rate by simply dividing the $$ by the KWH, and that was as advertised. But not I'm on a floating rate and so it can go up/down each month (free market) and it does, yes even down.

    I don't see the deregulation issues as part of the problem, it is an attempt to put market pressure on the energy charge. As there is no reasonable way to deregulated the delivery, it remains fully regulated. If this results tin game-playing to up the customer charge (a regulated cost), then it is a regulation problem not a deregulation problem.

    Unlike telephone, which had the same benefit, embedded wireline delivery of telephone service which was too expensive to build to expect any real competition there. The regulator tried by forcing a similar hybrid, the telephone company had to lease the physical line to other providers .. this moved the goal posts a bit but didn't really open that market. Wireless has, as the infrastructure had to be built by all providers, thus it was open to competition and their is true competition there and reasonably good value. I use only pre-pay, ant that is 10 cent a minute including "long distance". Then there voice over IP (Internet) which ratchets the cost down. Lots of examples of how deregulation and market competition delivers better value to the end user, us.
  17. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

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    I live in WNY and I switched to Ambit Energy about two years ago. I switched in the winter because they give you a big discount for the first month then they beat National Grid's rates by 1% each month from there on. I have saved a bunch of money, however every 12 months they send you a letter that needs to be returned. If you do not return the letter the rates increase, (I found this out the hard way and had to get a new agreement from online). I use between 900 KW's in the summer and 2000 KW's in the winter. I have a geothermal heat pump that heats my house with no help from any other source.
  18. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Johnny,

    I see you have a Closboy Pellet insert, don't you use that at all? I have a Quadrafire Wood Insert and it see use when the outside temps dip low, here that would be below 30 degrees. We rarely see temps below 20.

    What is your square foot for the heated space in you home? Mine is 2,000 and in a cold month I can hit 2,000 KWH even with and estimated 30-40 hours of wood heat supplementing during the cold evening/nigh (but not over night) hours. My Waterfurnace is approaching 20 years old and while it has seen a couple of expensive repairs in the last 5 years (a total of about $2,500 - or less than I have saved over the cost of oil heat, and there was the first 15 years with zero repairs). How is the Climatemaster working out? I think that's the brand my Waterfurnace installation company moved too and it is about time for me to be replacing the compressors, which translates to a new furnace - but I can still use the existing ground loop, a twin 250' vertical loop well sunk into the water aquifer.

    Hope this isn't a theft of thread, it is still about electricity and minimizing our cost (cost of living). As for the customer service charge I'd not be angry with JCP&L and would expect it to either be temporary or dedicated to paying for the damage from Sandy and then sunk into delivery hardening. JCP&L does spend a lot of $$ cutting and trimming trees along the rural roads where I live, but hurricane (nor an official hurricane according to my homeowner insurance company) Sandy showed we can not leave pine trees and other weak soft wood (we all like to burn hard wood, and I can say the many hard wood trees on my property survived - while large healthy looking White Pine snapped off, not uprooted, just snapped off about 5' above the ground) and week rooted trees within range of the aerial power lines. Here is a rare case where I'd support application of (forget the term) laws on the books that allow government to overrule private property rights in the interest of the health and safety of all. Here I anticipate some tall Pine trees on private property will have to be cut down as they are tall enough to reach the power lines. This is a tough pill for me to swallow as I in general think government has too much power over our private lives.
  19. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

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    Jerry, I live in WNY and I heat a 1850's house that is 2500 square feet. I have not been through and entire winter but I am confident I will not surpass 2000kw per month. I installed it last February and we had cold weather in March. I have only burned maybe 3 bags of pellets since the install. If you send me your email I will forward you my energy history spread sheet since 2008. I have an electric range, dryer, well pump, lots of CFL's and almost all energy star appliances. I keep the house @ 70 or 72 depending on what it is doing outside. I heat my hotwater with a propane tankless, i had an old electric that cost me about $70 per month to run in May of 2009.

    This might be the time to install a new heat pump, expect to spend 7k and you will probably get 50% of that back in taxes and rebates. We had temps down near 10 late last february and the heat pump never went into stage two.
  20. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    johnny,

    I can't find the way to send you a private message, I'd like get you data, but do not like to put my email address in a blog message. If we can send private messages via hearth.com send me one and I will respond with my private email.

    I find a $7k estimate interesting, and I know nothing about the taxes and rebates offsets. I got about 25% off the cost of my unit 20 years go, but this time I"d be replacing a high efficiency unit, i.e., very little reduction in my power usage - still rebates (from power company?) and taxes (federal income tax?).

    I've been blogging a bit today on geoghermal, here and elsewhere, so I forget if you had any complaints. Is the Climatemaster working well? My Waterfurnace installer changed to Climatemaster so if I go back to him, and he did a great job on the installation 20 years ago, I'd have to move to Climatemaster.
  21. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Click on the "Start a Conversation" link under the person's name / avatar that you want to have a private conversation with to do so.
  22. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Okay, I spent my morning looking at my options....

    I had stuck with PECO for several years as they originally had a winter heat discount....7.5 cents including delivery. To make it greener, I enrolled in 'PECO Wind', which bumped it 2.5 cents....a few years back I was getting 10 cent (total) wind power and thought it a deal.

    Now, PECO is still my delivery company, and charges me $7/mo + 5 cents for delivery. PECO Wind is ceasing to exist, and PECO base power looks like 9.5 cents, so conventional power runs 9.5+5 = 14.5 cents/kWh, completely flat across month, time of day or usage.

    Looking for new green/wind options in PA, the portal is here: http://www.choosepawind.com/buy-pa-wind

    Going over the options, I went with: http://citizenpower.com/GEC/index.html While the website makes them sound like dirty hippies...they were also the cheapest. My only choice is length of contract, I went with 24 mos since I can't be bothered to mess with this stuff too much.

    The good news....my locked rate for 24 mo is 8.5 cents for 100% wind power (local, not REC). So my 'all in' will be 13.5 cents/kWh, or a whole cent cheaper than conventional PECO power. Since the phase out of my previous deal, my PECO Wind price has risen from 10 cents to 17.5 cents, so I will be saving 4 cents per kWh, or about $600 yr :eek:. Suppose I should have looked into this sooner <>.

    Oh yeah, and I figured out my wind powered ASHP is delivering BTUs at a price equivalent to $1.80 gal oil. OR about half of what I can get it for discount around here (although with the tank and boiler scrapped I would have a hard time using it). ;lol
  23. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Woodgeek,

    Sorry if I have already asked in the past... but my memory is so bad I can't even recall how to look :eek:

    Your numbers look interesting, ans very surprising. You are saying you are buying "green" (never mind the lost flocks of birds) electric power for less that the dirty oil (worse coal) generated electricity. It sounds like the old saying: "sounds too good to be true", not saying it isn't, but I haven't checked my case yet. Somehow good deals are never offered in my market;).

    Hum 4 cents and $600 says you use about 15,000 KWH a year. What are you heating with, your signature says "burning up to 1.9 cuf fe of wood" what an hour?

    I think the JCP&L customer charge is low, less than $5 and the delivery is about what you quote, I do recall buying delivered power from under 15 cents, maybe close to 14 cents per KWH, depends son what Constellation energy is charging... which is always ove 10 cents. A energy cost of 8.5 cents is the lowest I've seen, even from whatever energy (coal mostly I think).

    I'll take a look at your source, thanks,

    EDIT: I just looked closer, your source is "PA" not "NJ" a substitution of NJ didn't return anything and I bet there are no wind sources in NJ, unless they are offshore. As speculated above, no in my market.
  24. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Jerry,

    IIRC we talked about cheap wind power a few years back, when I was getting it for 10 cents/kWh (total) and you were incredulous then. I am heating with a conventional split ASHP that I have tinkered with a bit, and get a SCOP I think ~2.25 ± 0.1. My annual usage is ~3.5 MWh for base, 1.5 MWh for AC, 2 MWh for a HPWH and 8 MWh for space heating, totaling ~15MWh. No combustion on site other than (recreational) wood-burning, biased towards really cold weekends, evenings and power outages. Previously, a now-scrapped oil boiler provided space heat and DHW and cost an arm and a leg.

    PA is a pioneer both for deregulation (started back in the 90s) and wind power (currently 900 MW capacity, or equivalent to a 300 MW plant running 24/7). Wind economics are pretty good compared to conventional power, but are dominated by construction costs, and thus depend strongly on the cost of the debt/ financing model/ discount rate. Most of the turbine owners nationwide also receive a 2.2 cent/kWh federal subsidy for the first 10 years of production, which makes it pretty easy and low risk to make money in the business (onshore). This 2.2 cents for **new** projects is ending on the New Year.

    So yes, it appears I can buy 100% local wind power on a 2 yr contract for 8.46 cents/kWh. My local excelon provider charges me 9.5 cents now, and is supposed to increase to 10.5 cents next year (unclear). There are other conventional providers in PA that can get close to 8.5, I think, haven't really looked. My excelon provider has a lot of nukes, and so I expect that there are little guys out there undercutting them with cheap (also local) natural gas fueled megawatts. And no matter what I choose, PECO adds 5 cents/kWh + $7/mo for delivery.

    If there's a catch...I'll let y'all know.
  25. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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