Archive for the PA Category

Electricity Suppliers in PA to Consider Beyond Just the Standard Brands

Monday, May 9th, 2011 | Permalink

As electric choice competition has spread in Pennsylvania we see new electric suppliers defining themselves as leaders among some familiar brands.

Most of us have heard of PECO and Penelec but how many of you have heard of MXEnergy, Champion Energy, and Gateway?

MXEnergy will soon be bought and merged with Constellation NewEnergy which is one of the largest electric companies in the US. Champion Energy and Gateway are smaller providers but still formidable and reputable suppliers many commercial and industrial companies have chosen to do business with.

These companies are all aggressively advertising in PA and are convincing people to switch away from PECO and Penelec and on over to their electric company.

Some of the electricity suppliers that are offering electric service that came in from another state are using some gorilla sales tactics to accomplish this task.

You may find yourself having your door knocked on in the middle of the day by one of the the alternate electric companies in Pennsylvania trying to snatch you away from the big brand energy companies.

There are some important things to consider before you switch providers in regards to the sales tactics they might use.

Door to Door Electricity Sales Tactics

  • The salesmen may refer to themselves as having been sent from PPL or Penelec.
  • The company may mention a notice through the mail that you might have received letting you know they were coming.
  • The company may guarantee that the electricity price would be lower when this might only be the case the first month.
  • The sales guy helps to confuse you as to if you will be switching electric companies.
  • They may make it seem that you are only changing your rate plan as your bill will still be coming from Penelec or PPL.

Do not fall for any of these slight of hand tricks as you most definitely will be switching away to a new PA electricity company. There are in fact ongoing lawsuits regarding this type of door to door scheme by some of the alternate electric companies in PA.

Switching to a new low PA electricity price is a good thing to do if it will save you money but no one wants to be lied to about it. Chances are that if a sales guy is lying to you about who they are the price may not actually save you money, as what keeps them from telling the truth about that?

We are not saying that all electric companies that knock on your door are bad it just pays to know a few things that have been happening in advance so you do not fall for the same tricks.

 

Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec)

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | Permalink

Penelec electric utility was previously known as Pennsylvania electric company and has been around for over 100 years. Now this electricity utility is known as Penelec and is owned by First Energy.

If you live in the Penelec electric utility area you will always use Penelec to service your pole and wires and handle outage requests but you may pick a competing retail electricity supplier or continue staying with this provider.

You are not required to switch energy companies and if a door to door sales men tells you differently keep in mind that this is a common tactic used when pounding on doors but is a lie. Again, you do not have to switch companies if you are happy with Penelec.

Penelec Electric Utility Area Map

Penelec Electricity Utility Map
Penelec Utility Area Color Code

Some of the popular cities in the Penelec Electric Utility area are Erie PA, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Gettysburg. If you live in these areas of PA or surrounding cities you have the power of electric choice.

There are quite a few alternate residential and commercial electricity suppliers in the Penelec utility area but before switching away there are a few important points to consider.

  • Penelec can act as your retail electric provider but they do not show their prices online.
  • This company actively advertises and encourages you to compare and choose the lowest price provider by utilizing an online comparison service through a company called AllConnect
  • This company will always service the pole and wires at your home or business and if you choose not to use the customer choice program they will also sell you a retail electricity rate.
  • If you choose to go with a new provider in the Penelec utility area you will still call this utility during a power outage. The outage phone number will also be listed on the electric bill you receive regardless of the company switched to.

Energy Plus vs Pepco

Thursday, April 21st, 2011 | Permalink

 

The confusion of energy deregulation in Pennsylvania and Maryland is not uncommon. You have been using the same monopoly electric company for several decades and so now what?

Well you still will get your electricity service from the same pole and wires company as always which might be BG&E, Pepco, Comed and others.

When you choose to go with an alternate Pennsylvania or Maryland electricity company that is not your utility pole and wire company nothing changes regarding delivery of service and how outages are handled.

You still call your utility company you have always used when outages occur and they are the responsible party for getting service restored.

Energy Plus sells retail electricity service sells electric rate plans that compete against Pepco electric company and ComEd in both MD and PA.

We mention Energy Plus because they have a very large direct mail campaign and you have likely seen advertisements offering competitive electric rates as compared to ComEd and perhaps Pepco.

When comparing these prices between Energy Plus vs Pepco I recommend calling both companies. Ask specific questions I outlined below to assist in making an accurate comparison so you can make a clear confident decision.

  • Ask them if their electric rate is a variable rate that changes after the first month.
  • Ask to see if the rate is only competitive the first month and what happens on the subsequent 2nd month of service to the price.
  • Check for historical information on what their variable price has done the last several months in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
  • Decide if their rate plan is a teaser price that is competitive only for the 1st month.

Energy Plus vs PepcoNow call up Pepco or ComEd or whomever you currently have electric service and ask the following questions.

  • Ask them if their electric rate is fixed or variable.
  • Ask if their variable rate goes up on the 2nd month or if it has ever gone down in price after the 1st month of service.
  • Check if their variable rate is a teaser price that is substantially lower to hook you in.
  • See if their variable electricity rate follows a fuel commodity market or goes up and down related to other factors.

 

Once you have asked these questions you will likely have a better idea of which electric company has the better rate plan. You can make a clearer more consumer informed decision when asking point blank questions to make that Energy Plus vs Pepco comparison.

If you would like a more thorough comparison of PA or MD electricity rates that include multiple electricity suppliers please fill in your name and email in the box at the top right.

Energy Plus Scam

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 | Permalink

Energy Plus is receiving quite the buzz these days on the internet on places like PissedConsumer dot com, upromise community board, complaintsboard dot com, and a host of other websites.

The complaint is always the same and basically goes something like this, “I thought I was signing up on a competitive rate but my rate is much higher than my previous electric company.”

As you can see this is a generic example of the many complaints I have read that call Energy Plus the Energy Plus scam. In reality Energy Plus is offering a variable electric rate as one of their most popular electric rate plans.

I would jump to guess that many people choose the variable electricity rate with Energy Plus because the initial electric rate does look competitive.

The problem with choosing a variable electric rate is that many people look past the part on the contract that says that the electric rate is subject to change in price after the first month.

Some electricity companies in Texas and Pennsylvania will even change the rate the first week of switching on a variable rate plan. As far as we know Energy Plus does not change your electric rate within the first week on their variable plan.

I mention the situations in which some people have even had their rate change sooner than a month so you know the industry standard is for the rate to change after the first month.

My conclusion is that the Energy Plus Scam is not a scam at all but possibly just a lot of customer confusion associated with reading that the variable rate would be competitive .

Energy Plus customers expectations were thinking that competitive was for a longer term than just one month which is understandable and it might help if it was a little clearer some how to set expectations that a fixed rate may be a better competitive rate for these customers.

So in summary, a variable electric rate with Energy Plus may only be competitive the first month which is typical of a variable rate plan. You may have just not gotten that message clearly but variable prices are usually for people who want to try before committing for a year long plan.

If you feel like your expectations were not met with an Energy Plus variable electric plan consider asking them about their fixed rate plans.

Before switching to a fixed rate with Energy Plus ask if all fees and charges are bundled into the rate and if they can give you a total average of what the fixed rate will look like.

You could follow up by asking what other charges may appear on the electric bill beyond the fixed rate. You can even go further by asking if when taking the advertised rate, multiplying it by the kilowatt hours used, and adding sales tax, will give you all charges you will be asked for on your bill.

If this request does not throw the ball in the energy providers court to be very clear what you will be charged I do not know what else will.

We do not represent Energy Plus or sell their electricity service but I thought this article would be helpful in clearing up much confusion I see out there in the blogosphere.

 

Pittsburgh PA No Credit Check Electric Company

Monday, April 4th, 2011 | Permalink

Often times people in Pittsburgh PA that are hit up for a credit check when signing up for electric service are not bad energy consumers. These people may even have an alright credit score. Unfortunately a decent credit score is not enough and in Pittsburgh PA you will likely have to come up with some type of deposit amount.

If your credit score is okay you may still have to come up with $200 or more even though you have approved credit cards, a house, and cars you qualified for buying.

Pittsburgh electric companies operate on thin margins and need a lot of volume to make a profit. These PA energy suppliers cannot afford defaults on electric bills.

If these energy suppliers sign up too many customers in a certain credit score number without taking a deposit they could find themselves upside down on the energy they have purchased to sell all of their electricity customers.

A few defaults by some bad customers can ruin it for all and in the past have even caused some energy companies that were too lenient on credit checks to go out of business.

Taking on credit risk customers is only one of many risks retail electricity providers have to deal with. There are also legal risks, bad executions risks, and risks associated with unwanted criticism posted on the web that hurts their brand name.

In summary among all these risks Pittsburgh PA electric companies simply cannot deal with helping out a few honest people who may not have the best credit score. The energy companies simply do not know how to filter out the good from the bad but that is okay because there are other options out there.

You can choose a prepaid electricity provider in Pittsburgh PA that charges you in advance. By having an energy supplier that charges you in advance for the energy you use you avoid the deposit and are trusting the provider to pay you back for anything you over pay to them.

When using a prepaid electric company you take on the risk of possibly paying too much and the energy provider never truing up the charges and leaving town .

The scenario above does not often happen but has happened from time to time so be sure to choose a good reputable well known PA electric company.

You can compare above to begin shopping for a PA electric supplier.

Electricity Suppliers