Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wagner: Educate Public on Electric Deregulation

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner says the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) and electric utility companies should step up efforts to educate the public on the effects of deregulation.

Since 1997, rate caps have prevented electricity suppliers from raising their prices beyond certain levels. Rate caps have since been lifted gradually to ease the state into the competitive electricity market.

Wagner says while 40% of Pennsylvanians have already seen their providers’ rate caps expire, the remaining 60% won’t have their rates uncapped until January 1. Wagner says in areas where rate caps have already expired, prices have risen an average of 25%, with increases ranging from zero to 70%.

Though the PUC has already held some town hall meetings on the issue, Wagner says more should be done to inform consumers about these likely increases.

The Auditor General says consumers can shop the market, but it takes six to eight weeks to switch from one provider to the next. Wagner urges Pennsylvanians to call the PUC or their local electric supplier to find out more. The Public Utility Commission website can be found here.

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