Monthly Archives: March 2011

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Penelec formerly Pennsylvania Electric Company

PenelecGPU Energy is the holding company for three electric utilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. One of these electric utilities goes by the name Penelec which was formerly called the more traditional name of Pennsylvania Electric Company.

Among GPU Energy’s electric utilities are:

  • Penelec also known as Pennsylvania Electric Company

 

  • Jersey Central Power and Light

 

  • Met-Ed also known as Metropolitan Edison

Even though Penelec is just an electric utility, owning and charging for the poles and wires and the transmission costs associated with this distribution, you can still buy retail electricity service through Penelec if you choose not to compare other electricity companies with them.

Penelec does not show any rate plans or electricity rates on their site in any obvious of manner. When searching for their retail electricity rate I did see something called the “price to compare”.

The retail rate showing at the time this article was written is 7.685 cents per kWh as of 3-29-2011. This rate includes the pole and wires charges and should be the total all-in bundled price. Seeing the electric rate with all charges helps in the comparison process as there is no need to calculate the pole charges and add them to it.

Our comparison chart will show competing energy providers in PA that offer varying rate plans to compare with this “price to compare“.

You will still get a charge on your electric bill from Penelec if you are in their service territory but they offer little in the form of varying rate plans to choose from when shopping as a residential electric service customer.

If you get on their website you will see that Penelec does not offer electricity rate plans to choose from or anything similar as you will see if you get on a retail electricity providers page. They do offer a description of what PA electric choice means and what options are available but as far as selling you service directly they do not go out of their way to do this.

There is a division of their company that does sell retail electricity service called First Energy Solutions and is owned by their parent holding company GPU Energywhich is owned by FirstEnergy Corp.

Penelec is the company you would call if you have an electricity outage in your home or business. For an electric outage in this utility area please call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877)

If you are moving into your home or business for the first time Penelec can connect you and have your service turned on by your electric rate is a default rate.

To shop and compare electricity rates in the Penelec electric utility area you must compare among multiple retail electric providers in PA.

You can begin switching from your default electric rate with Penelec and to a competitive energy supplier in PA by using the compare chart at the to right.

Energy Plus Electricity Rates

Energy Plus Electric RatesEnergy Plus is kind of an off the radar kind of electric company as they seem to do most of their promotions through partnerships with companies with large lists of customers in their database.

For instance the Upromise student loan program and the Best Buy Rewards Zone program have both partnered with Energy Plus to sell this retail electricity companies electric rates to their customers.

Energy Plus has both a variable electricity rate and a fixed rate. The Energy Plus electricity rates are advertised as being competitive and they explain that they strive to stay competitive against some of the other energy providers out in the market.

Energy Plus has been the brunt of a lot of criticism as of late as some of our sites have a few comments against them as it related to their experience on the variable electricity rate.

What I think is going on here is that the customers signing up choose the very low initial price on the variable electric rate and skip past where they disclose that the rate is subject to change in price.

After the first month many customers complained that their variable electricity rate went up in price on them and is now higher in price than their previous electricity company.

This confusion regarding a variable electricity rate is extremely common in the retail electricity market and is the number one reason people end up paying more for electricity service then they did prior to the market being deregulated.

Energy Plus electricity company from our perspective seems to be a good respectable electricity company but it could be they just need to make it a little clearer that a variable electric rate has no guarantee as to what the price will do on the 2nd month.

Customers who sign up with them seem to be under a completely different expectation similar to if they were on one of the fixed Energy Plus electricity rates that remains the same price the entire length of the agreement.

The solution to end your confusion regarding the Energy Plus electricity price is easy, choose a fixed electricity price with them rather than a variable price.

Variable electric rates are very unpredictable and offer no assurance as to what may happen from month to month. If you have ever been risk averse about things then never consider choosing a variable electricity rate with Energy Plus or any electric company.

There is nothing wrong with an Energy Plus variable energy rate but you need to set your expectations going into the rate plan that this price could go up on you. If you cannot grasp what exactly a variable changing energy priced plan is simply do not choose it and go with a fixed plan instead.

We do not offer Energy Plus electricity rates on this site but are simply explaining a current issue we see in the blogosphere regarding customer confusion over variable electric rates. We strongly urge you to compare fixed electricity rates to avoid the pitfalls inherent with a variable follow the market type of rate.

PPL EnergyPlus is the Retail Electricity Provider of PPL not to be confused with Energy Plus

Energy PlusThis is really confusing as today I happened upon PPL EnergyPlus. There is also an “Energy Plus” that is a separate company in no way owned or related to PPL.

PPL EnergyPlus sells retail commercial electricity service in Pennsylvania at this time and no other states. Energy Plus sells both commercial and residential electric service in PA and many other states such as Texas.

The confusing issue at hand is that both of these retail electricity providers operate in Pennsylvania. Energy Plus operates in other deregulated electricity markets as well but imagine trying to build a brand with two companies showing almost identical names both in the successful deregulated energy market of PA?

PPL of Pennsylvania is quite a bit larger than “Energy Plus” so “Energy Plus” will likely piggy back and build an even larger customer base simply because of the confusion regarding the names.

PPL EnergyPlus connects the words Energy and Plus together to form one word which seems to be the cool thing to do these days in energy brands.

To sum this up:

  • The two Energy Plus names are slightly different. Energy Plus and PPL EnergyPlus
  • Energy Plus is owned by Energy Plus Holdings, LLC
  • PPL EnergyPlus is owned by PPL Corporation (Pennsylvania Power and Light Corporation)
  • PPL EnergyPlus sells only commercial electricity service in Pennsylvania at this time.
  • Energy Plus sells commercial and residential electric service in Pennsylvania at this time.

Will commercial customers who become acquainted and familiar with the brand name Energy Plus in PA become confused as to which company to call for commercial electric service? You better believe it! Energy Plus is one of the fastest growing electric companies in Pennsylvania right now and with the help of piggy backing off of the PPL EnergyPlus brand they are likely to gain even more traction in PPL’s own backyard. Ouch! Don’t you hate identity theft?

Now I am not sure where all of this falls in the realm of the law and do not know if either company has infringed on a brand name or not but it sure does look like that. At this point I am not even sure if this was done intentionaly. I just find it to be extremely poor judgement.

In Texas the Public Utility Commission would knock down a brand name that so closely resembles a competing electric companies but that does not seem to matter in PA.

I am not on either side here especially not knowing the whole story but I am only commenting on the weird conflict of two energy companies operating in the same territory with extremely similar brand names.

If you are a customer or potential customer of either of these companies feel free to input your comment below if you have been confused by this mess, accidentally signed up with the wrong electric company or some other happening.

Respond Power Customers Have Questions

Respond PowerAccording to some forums Respond Power is an active electricity company in Pennsylvania and has been doing the door to door sales thing in Philadelphia. Don’t knock door to door sales. Those guys have will power but still stay on your toes and ask questions as they need to work for that new electric customer.

In a newly deregulated electricity market a door to door electric service sales person can be a little confusing as some customers don’t yet realize they have a choice in Pennsylvania. PPL is all many people even know in places like Philadelphia.

It is up to an electric company sales person to explain what electric choice means and differentiate themselves and separate their company from the pole and wires company for that area.

Respond Power Electric CompanyFor instance a customer at a home that is approached by a Respond Power electric company rep may think that because their electric company for the last several decades was PPL that this guy is with PPL electricity company.

You cannot fault Respond Power for the natural confusion that develops from an electricity market new to electric deregulation as is the case with Philadelphia.

Here are the facts folks, Respond Power is a retail electricity company and the reason you would want to switch to their electric company is if they offer a cheaper electric rate over PPL or whomever you may use.

When deciding to switch to a company like Respond Power you want to review their electricity agreement contract. Here are some typical questions you would want to ask listed below.

Questions to Ask in Order to Review Respond Power Rate Plans Being Offered Door to Door

  • Is this “competitive” rate a fixed rate or a variable rate? Typically a variable rate is a teaser price that initially looks low in price but is raised on customers after the first month.
  • Is this a fixed rate? A fixed rate normally should remain the same the entire length of the energy contract.
  • Is this an “all-in” bundled electricity rate? A bundled rate includes all of Respond Power’s charges as well as PPL electric utility charges (PPL is the pole and wires company in Philadelphia not to be confused with PPL EnergyPlus)
  • If this is a fixed electric rate does it include all charges including PPL pole and wires charges as well as any ancillary charges, fuel surcharges and misc charges averaged into the rate? Follow up with, are their fuel surcharges that will increase this rate during the term of the contract? The fuel surcharge question is useful as some Philadelphia retail electricity companies have been known to advertise a fixed rate and hide a fuel surcharge in the contract. Respond Power has not been accused of doing a tactic like this.

We assume Respond Power adheres to ethical and legal guidelines in their sales and marketing as well as how they have their energy contract written. These questions will help in verifying that you are getting a good electric rate without hidden fees and charges.

If you were confused as we have seen on some forums as thinking that the Respond Power door to door sales rep was PPL Electric Company we want to make it clear that these are two separate companies.

If you switched to Respond Power you will still get one bill but you will see the electric bill split into two separate sections. One section will show the retail electricity provider charges from Respond Power and the other section will show the PPL electricity transmission and poles and wires charges.

During the process of being told that you will still get an electric bill from PPL it could be that some customers simply misunderstood and thought that they were choosing PPL as their electric company at a cheaper rate.

In reality a customer who misunderstood in this way had switched away from PPL electricity company and chose a “competitive” rate with Respond Power at hopefully a cheaper price than they currently pay with PPL.