When you shop for an electric supplier, you are choosing the company that generates your electricity. For most electric customers who select a new supplier, transmission costs will also be included in the charges from your new supplier. The electric utility that distributes your electricity will remain the same.
- Is the supplier licensed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)?
- What is the EDC’s price to compare, and how long is that price effective?
- Are all taxes included in the supplier's price?
- What is the price per kilowatt hour (kWh)? Is the price fixed, variable or does it depend on time of day or usage?
- Is there a limit to how high or low the variable rate can go?
- Are there any built-in-price increases or decreases?
- Is there an introductory rate, and, if yes, how long does it last?
- If the EGS offers an introductory rate, what will the price be at the end of the introductory period? Will it be able to provide the rate in advance of the service being used?
- Does the supplier offer a choice of energy sources, such as renewable energy?
- Can the EGS provide historic pricing information (for example: its average price over the last year)?
- If my rate changes, how does it change?
- Will the EGS provide its rate at the beginning of the month or in advance of the service being used?
- What is the length of the agreement? Can your price change in that time? If so, when can it change, and how will you be notified?
- Will I receive a notice before my contract expires? What happens when my contract expires?
- Is there a cancellation fee or any penalty for switching suppliers before my contract expires?
- Is there a switching fee to change suppliers?
- What steps must I take to switch suppliers? The Switching Process
- Is there a bonus or any customer incentives for signing up?
- Are there any special add-on services?
- Who provides billing, and will I receive one or two bills?
- Does the supplier offer a budget billing plan?
- Will I still get service from the supplier if I have an outstanding balance or bad payment history?
- Do I need a special meter? And is there a special charge for that meter?
- Door-to-door marketing is sometimes conducted by independent energy supply companies.
- Before inviting a door-to-door marketing representative into your home, providing personal account information or engaging in contract discussions, you should request identification that includes:
- The full name of the representative
- A photograph of the representative
- The full name, business address and telephone number of the company represented
- You may also contact the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission at 1-800-692-7380 to confirm that the company being represented is a licensed supplier.
- Feel free to contact the company represented to find out if it is sending sales representatives door-to-door.
- It is unnecessary to provide the sales representative a copy of your utility bill or the account number unless you are interested in pursuing an offer.
- Carefully review all contract terms before signing, including fine print and any fees for early termination.
- You do not have to make a decision on the spot. You can check your options at www.PAPowerSwitch.com to shop competitive supplier prices.
- If you have any questions or concerns, you may call the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission at 1-800-692-7380.
- PUC Regulations on Marketing and Sales Practices for the Retail Residential Market can be found at: www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol41/41-43/1789.html.
As you shop for electricity, ask competitive suppliers to provide you with a PTC so that you can make an apples-to-apples comparison on price for the generation portion of your bill. Be sure to ask how long the price is effective and verify if taxes or other fees are included in the PTC.
By law, the current GRT rate in Pennsylvania is 5.90 percent. However, since the tax is embedded in the cost of electric generation supply, electric distribution companies and electric generation suppliers apply a gross-up factor to determine the amount of GRT that must be paid to Pennsylvania. As a result, electric distribution companies and electric generation suppliers pay GRT to Pennsylvania in the amount of 6.27 percent on the base price of electric generation supply. This gross-up factor, resulting in a GRT of 6.27 percent, is calculated by the following formula: 1/1-5.90 percent.
For example, if an electric distribution company or electric generation supplier charges a customer $100 per month for electric generation supply, application of the 5.90 percent GRT rate results in an electric generation supply charge of $105.90. Because the electric distribution company or electric generation supplier owes GRT to Pennsylvania on the basis of total gross receipts in the amount of $105.90, it must apply a gross-up factor to the base price of $100. Application of this gross-up factor results in a GRT liability of 6.27 percent. To recover this full amount from consumers, electric distribution companies or electric generation suppliers must collect $106.27 for electric generation supply.
As a consumer, it is important to understand that, even if an electric generation supplier quotes the GRT rate of 5.90 percent, the electric generation supplier is still obligated to pay Pennsylvania GRT in the amount of 6.27 percent on the base price of electric generation supply. Consumers should ensure that any GRT rate communicated by electric generation suppliers in offers or price quotes matches the GRT amount that is included in electric generation supply charges on bills.