How the end of PECO's Electric Heating Discount will Affect Philadelphians

Most Philadelphians aren’t aware of it, but for decades they have enjoyed an electric heating discount that saves the average family about $40 a month during the winter. Like most good things, however, PECO’s heating discount must come to an end.

Over the next two years, the Pennsylvania utility company will gradually reduce their electric heating discount, so that by the end of 2012, it will be a thing of the past. The end of this winter savings will affect more than 150,000 households in the Philadelphia area, and is expected to increase the average monthly electric bill between 5 and 15 percent.

Other discounts will be phased out as well, including an "off-peak offering," affecting over 80,000 customers that have a separate (discounted) meter for their hot water heater. PECO customers using more than 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) during summer months will lose their "inverted block rate" discount as well. All in all, the end of these three utility discounts will have the most impact on Pennsylvania households with electric heat, central air conditioning, and a separate meter for the hot water heater.

Fortunately for current Philadelphia customers, however, there is a silver lining to the impending rate increase. A government program known as electricity deregulation allows independent, state-approved electric suppliers to sell low-cost (i.e. cheaper) electricity to consumers throughout the state, including Philadelphia. PECO customers who find an independent electric supplier offering a lower electric rate can transfer their service to the new supplier - for free - with the hopes of negating or even surpassing the effects of PECO’s ending discounts.

PECO customers can also save money and lower their winter utility bills by adopting eco-friendly habits in their homes. Simple things like turning off unused appliances, insuring proper insulation, using CFL light bulbs, washing clothes in cold water, and using energy-efficient appliances can reduce a home’s utility bill by hundreds of dollars a year.

If you expect the end of PECO’s electric heating discount to affect your Philadelphia home (and budget), don’t fret. You can most likely find cheaper electricity through an independent electric supplier, and you can most certainly reduce your PECO electric bill year-round by adopting eco-friendly practices.

Publish Date: 2010-12-14 10:44:00

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