PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pennsylvania regulators are warning customers that the cost of electric generation will increase by up to 45% next month.
The Public Utility Commission said most utilities will be adjusting their prices on June 1, so many customers will see "sharp increases" between 6% and 45%.
Pennsylvania's regulated electric utilities adjust what's known as the "price to compare," which is the default price non-shopping customers are charged, either quarterly or biannually.
"Everyone can find the price to compare which means you have the opportunity to shop and find a rate that's more suitable to you and you can sign up with an alternate supplier if you'd like," said Todd Meyers, senior communications representative for West Penn Power.
The commission said higher wholesale market prices for electricity are fueled in part by shifts in supply and demand for natural gas, increasing purchasing costs for electric distribution companies and driving up the price to compare, which accounts for about half of a total utility bill.
"The different fuels that are used to generate electricity, natural gas, coal, etc. -- those prices have been going up. Just like the gas in our pump, the gas to fuel a power plant is going up as well," Meyers said.
West Penn Power consumers will see a 23.7% increase, up from 7.7569 cents to 9.592 cents per kilowatt hour. Penn Power's cost will go from 7.082 cents to 8.694 cents per kilowatt hour, an increase of 22.7%, according to the commission.
Prices for some utilities like Duquesne Light are still being calculated but are expected to rise, the commission said. It expects final prices to be available later in May.
Between the upcoming price changes and the increased electricity usually used to run AC in the summer, the Public Utility Commission is urging customers to evaluate their options.
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"Bring the temperature down. For every degree you can put the thermostat up this time of year, you save about 3% on your bill," Meyers said.