The Official Electric Shopping Website of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

Fixed and Variable Rates

When choosing your electricity supplier, you must choose whether to go with a fixed, variable or unlimited rate. Each rate option has pros and cons.

This short video explains the differences between fixed versus variable rates.

What is a Fixed Rate?

A fixed rate is an all-inclusive per kWh price. It will remain the same for at least three billing cycles or the term of the contract, whichever is longer. This will give you certainty that your price will not change during the term of the agreement. 

Unless you act prior to the expiration date in your contract, your rate may change to a monthly variable rate. Find out what happens after your term expires by reading your contract’s disclosure statement.

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Provides stability, especially when you’re budgeting your electricity costs.

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Cost for Certainty

The certainty of getting a fixed rate could cost you a little more money.



Provides protection from sudden changes in energy rates in the market.


Wait for Lower Prices

If market prices fall you may have to wait until your contract expires to get a lower price.


Cancellation Fees

Long-term fixed price contracts may have cancellation fees. Be sure to ask your supplier/read your contract for the terms and conditions.


What is a Variable Rate?

A variable rate is an all-inclusive per kWh price that can change, by the hour, day, month, etc. Changes happen according to the terms and conditions in the supplier’s disclosure statement.

If you select a variable rate, the rate may change with market conditions. If market prices increase, your rate may increase. If market prices drop, your rate may decrease.

Price Down

Price Drop

If market prices drop, your rate may decrease.


Price Increase

If market prices increase, your rate may increase.

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Potential to Save

If you follow energy market prices and adjust your electric usage accordingly, you may save money.


Hard to Budget

Changing rates may make it hard to predict your monthly bill and budget your expenses.

No Fee

No Cancellation Fees

Variable contracts often do not have an early cancellation fee, but check with your supplier and your contract.


Extreme Weather

Wholesale electric prices may increase dramatically during extreme weather. Extreme weather may also increase your electric usage which would also increase your bill.


What is an Unlimited Rate?

For unlimited usage, also known as flat rates, power used by the customer is neither based nor paid for on a kilowatt per hour (kWh) basis. Instead, it is based on one monthly price for electric generation, consistent with all terms and conditions in the supplier’s contract.*

Customers considering this option are encouraged to ask the supplier about:

  • Pricing tiers.
  • Usage limits.
  • Cancellation or early termination fee.

*Monthly pricing for unlimited usage offers would not include electric distribution charges on your monthly bill, which are separate and billed apart (by your electric utility) from suppliers’ fees for electric generation.

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Your Rights & Protections

Know your rights as a utility customer so you can put them to work for you.

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