Electricity Costs Are Rising: How You Can Prepare for Higher Summer Utility Bills Now

Posted on 05/17/22

The cost of electricity will be increasing dramatically beginning June 1. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently alerted customers that most electric utilities will be adjusting electric generation prices next month. Depending on their electric utility company, many customers will see increases ranging between 6% and 45%. 

Electric distribution companies have reported increasing electric generation costs for residential customers.

You can download a price comparison document from the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate by clicking here.

Here Are Some Ways to Reduce Your Summer Electric Bill:

  •  Reduce your consumption and increase the efficiency of electricity use by raising your thermostat to 78 degrees, installing a programmable thermostat, or replacing your air conditioning filter. To learn more about ways to save energy, click here.
  •  When purchasing new or replacement appliances, choosing the most energy-efficient model can save money in the long run.
  •  Many electric companies are required to offer their customers energy efficiency programs and rebates. To find out more about these energy programs and rebates, click here.
  •  Review your electric bill to understand the rates you will be paying and ensure you get the best available rate. You may want to consider switching to the utility’s Standard Offer Program. The PUC launched the Standard Offer Program in August 2013 to give non-shopping electric customers greater access to the competitive electricity market. To review the PUCs Standard Offer Program Fact Sheet, click here and contact your electric utility provider for more information.   
  • Visit PA Power Switch - the PUC’s official electric shopping website. Depending on where your home or business is within Pennsylvania, you may be able to save money on your electric bill by switching your electric supplier.

 Special Programs: There are several Special Programs available to help you with your electric costs, including:  

  • Budget Billing: Most electric suppliers offer budget billing, which allows you to pay a fixed about each month. Any customer may choose to use budget billing simply by contacting your electric utility or supplier and requesting budget billing.
  • Customer Assistance Program (CAP): This program is set up between the utility and a low-income, payment troubled consumer to pay utility bills that are based on household size and gross household income. Call your electric utility for more information to participate in a CAP program. 
  • Hardship Funds: This program provides assistance grants to customers who cannot qualify for other financial assistance programs or those who still have a critical need for assistance when there are no other resources. The payment is made directly to companies on behalf of eligible customers. Call your electric utility for more information.
  •  Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): The application deadline for LIHEAP, which can help you pay your energy bill, is June 17, 2022.  With funding nearly doubled this year, please check your eligibility and learn how to apply by clicking here. You can also find a listing of all LIEHAP assistance agencies by county by clicking here. You can also request an application by calling the Statewide LIHEAP Hotline at 1-866-857-7095 or calling PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Don’t delay. Enrollment ends June 17th.
  • Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP): This program helps low-income residential customers lower the amount of energy used each month. Typically, the company may install energy-saving features or make energy efficiency improvements in customers’ homes to help reduce bills. Call your electric utility for more information. 
  • Weatherization Assistance Program: This program can assist if you live in a home that is too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. Weatherization Assistance Programs (WAP) are available to assist with potentially costly home improvement projects. A PA WAP Fact Sheet is available to help you learn more about participating and applying for the program, and by clicking here, you can find your local county WAP provider agency.

Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate Offers Tips

  • The Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) represents the interests of Pennsylvania utility consumers before the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, federal regulatory agencies, and state and federal courts. 
  • Pennsylvania’s Acting Consumer Advocate Patrick Cicero urges consumers to know their options in the face of rising energy prices. Click here to read the OCA Press Release and learn more. 
  • The OCA also has a Consumer Hotline to assist customers who have questions about their energy bills. Call 1-800-684-6560 – Monday thru Friday – from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or email your questions to: consumer@paoca.org.

This story is provided by AARP Pennsylvania. Visit the AARP Pennsylvania page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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