By Gregory N. Dudkin, Executive V.P. & CEO, PPL Corporation
Here in Pennsylvania, you can shop for your electricity supply. Just like you would shop for a car, you compare different offers and choose what is right for you at the lowest cost. Then, PPL Electric Utilities delivers the electricity to you.
We support shopping for electricity supply, but because we deliver the electricity, we have no vested interest in which supplier you choose. We do, however, care whether you’re paying a reasonable rate.
We’ve been monitoring the rates shopping customers pay compared to the default rate, which is the rate charged if you do not choose a supplier.
We’ve found many of our residential customers are paying more for electricity through their supplier than they would have on the default rate. For customers paying more than the default rate, over a one-year period, our residential customers paid about $97 million more and small business customers paid $34 million more.
This is alarming.
The data really made me stop and take a step back. How is this happening?
One of the biggest issues I find is that suppliers sometimes use deceptive marketing tactics to attract customers.
I am sure we all know someone — or you yourself — who received a phone call or letter claiming to provide a new and better rate. Often these solicitations are disguised as a PPL-endorsed communication, using our logo or stating that the call is about your PPL bill. You may be told that if you switch now, you can get $300 in gift card rewards.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Those gift cards they offer you are often short-term discounts to mask higher rates. And the low rates they offer you are often teaser rates. They only last a short while and then they skyrocket.
Suppliers are intentionally vague in hopes you won’t understand the long-term cost increase or aren’t monitoring your electric bill closely. In fact, there are more than 26,000 PPL customers paying double the price of default energy.
I recently appeared in front of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to encourage our representatives to take steps to protect our customers from this type of deceptive marketing.
We’re committed to advocating for our customers. In the meantime, it’s critical you continue to shop smart. Read the fine print, be aware of deceptive marketing tactics and check your electric bill regularly to see how much you are being charged.
The time for change is now or Pennsylvania customers will continue paying the price. I encourage you to speak to your local officials to raise awareness about the consumer protections that are needed and continue to shop smart.
To learn more about how to check your electricity supply rate and make informed decisions, visit pplelectric.com/shopsmart today.