Consumers in Pennsylvania are free to shop around and change their electric suppliers at will. This is one of the benefits of being an electricity customer in a state with a deregulated utility market. Consumers have more choices today when it comes to both power providers and electricity plans. Switching providers can take anywhere from 11 to 40 days to take effect, depending on the last meter read date. Although utility providers don't charge fees for customers to return to them, some do charge significant penalty fees for leaving a contract early. Contract stipulations like early termination fees are why Pennsylvanian electricity consumers should always research switching suppliers first before they actually decide to switch.
Switching Power Providers
The number one thing that one should do when contemplating a new electricity provider, is to go through their current contract stipulations, and see if there are any financial penalties involved in switching. If you can't find a copy of your power contract, then contact the company's customer service department and ask about the consequences of canceling your plan.
If you do end up switching electricity suppliers, the new supplier will contact your old supplier and handle the changeover. They will then contact you by mail in order to confirm your choice. During power outages, emergency's, and repair situations, the consumer can still contact their local utility provider even though they switched.
Electric Supplier Disclosure Statements
The Public Utility Commission (PUC), in order to help protect consumers in a competitive and often confusing deregulated market, directed electricity suppliers to disclose exactly what the main and most relevant stipulations are of the many assorted electricity plans being offered by Pennsylvania's numerous power providers (IE: Electricity rates per kWh, basic fees, early termination penalties, etc.)
These power plan disclosures came in the form of Electric Supplier Contract Summary statements (ESCS) providing in one easy-to-understand page, all the plans basic terms. Using these disclosures is the easiest and most efficient way to research your best power plan options. Information Included in an ESCS Disclosure includes:
- Electric Generation Supplier Information
- Provider name, company phone number, website URL, etc.
- Price Structures
- Fixed or variable rates, billing cycle, rate changes, etc.
- Generation/Supply Price
- Kilowatt-hour price, first billing cycle rate, any introductory prices and also term lengths.
- Savings Statement
- Savings stipulations.
- Deposit Requirements
- Deposit terms and contractual obligations.
- Power discounts, special bonuses, cashback programs, etc.
- Contract Start Date
- Actual service start date, meter reads, and billing cycles.
- Contract Term Length
- Agreement length of power plan contract along with corresponding early termination fees and other stipulations.
- Renewal Terms
- Consumer options when the electric contract is over.
- Distribution Company Information
- Name of company, phone number, website, along with distribution charges.
Switching to a new power provider in the State of Pennsylvania is simple; finding a great deal on a new provider is a little more difficult and confusing. Make sure to do the proper research and compare electric rates and contractual terms first, before deciding on a new plan. With many power companies enforcing lengthy contract terms and also charging steep early termination fees, you don't want to have to wait months or even years in order to change plans again — Just because you made the wrong provider choice by not checking all the details out first in your current plan .