PECO wants to help customers deal with the increases, so they have several programs including the PECO Smart Home E-Audit, Smart Lighting Discounts, Smart Home Rebates, and Smart Appliance Recycling. They are pretty smart programs. But the smartest way customers will be able to reduce their electricity bill is by looking for an alternative supplier that will offer a lower rate against the PECO price.
PECO is going to continue to deliver power to those customers who they are currently delivering to and they'll continue to send invoices out. The decision to choose an alternative electric company will be a simple choice to pay less. There will be more information and rates for alternative providers as we get closer to 2011.
Before the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act became a reality, all of the electricity purchased or transmitted in a specific region was sold by one company. In the Philadelphia region that company is PECO Energy. PECO held full rights to operate a monopoly in this region and consumers didn't have the option to buy from any other electric supplier. Before deregulation, electric utilities were in charge of the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. They worked as a monopoly, and had the only rights to sell electricity in a particular region. There are 9 electric utilities across the state of Pennsylvania that were operated under a regulated monopoly. This means that the utility supplied the power, read the meters, fixed any problems, and determined what the power sources of electric generation would be. Because electricity consumers had no option to switch companies, utilities were able to install any facilities that they thought were necessary, with little input from residents and consumers.
Now that the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act has been fully put into action in Pennsylvania (As of January 1, 2000) every resident has the option to choose the company that generates their electricity. Generation is now competitive. Electricity consumers can shop for a new generation supplier. The local utility is still responsible for delivering that electricity through the transmission and distribution lines. The electric utilities that once operated as controlled monopolies are now called "electric distribution companies". They are responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity to homes and businesses (the poles and wires). Because the regional monopolies are still responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity, distribution will be as reliable as it was before. Your current distribution company (old utility) will still be in charge of certain things. Problems with bills, downed power lines, power outages, billing complaints or concerns. Electric distribution companies will also be called the "provider of last resort". The provider of last resort is obligated to provide electricity service to any customer who looses service from any new electricity supplier, or are denied service from any new supplier.
It might seem a little confusing, but it's not all going to happen overnight, all at once. Telephone deregulation is still changing and it's been about 10 years for that. As technology improves and evolves, you are being presented with more choices. It will probably be the same way for electric deregulation.
As the process evolves, an educated consumer is the best consumer.
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