Comparison Shopping in PA is Hopefully Going To Get Better

What are you really paying for your electricity per kWh?

The supplier may list a price per kWh, but does it include all the additional, often hidden, fees?

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has initiated a “rulemaking” process that would force suppliers to list the total price per kWh including any additional fees. The PUC is trying to combat the misrepresentation seen in the electricity-shopping market. Just last month the site was claiming PECO customers could save as much as 44% annually, but failed to mention this did not include the enrollment fee and that the rate was only guaranteed for three months. The website has since been changed to say, “potential savings”, but this is just one example of how hard it is for consumers to know whether the price they are given is the full amount they will actually pay.

With all this uncertainty, comparison shopping becomes harder and harder to do on your own. Businesses especially often do not have the proper time and resources to devote to it. But there is an answer. Finding a reputable broker to contract your electricity with will allow you to have an expert compare prices for you and give you the piece of mind that for the duration of your contract, prices will not increase. This allows commercial customers to get back to what really matters, their business!

Better Cost Control has been in business since 2002 and have helped numerous businesses control their costs. We compare rates for you and don’t work with any one supplier, so we can get your business the best price possible and help control your budget.

For a no-obligation commercial quote please reach out to Better Cost Control or Click Here!



Met-Ed Price to Compare 2017

Met-Ed Price to Compare as of March 1st, 2017 has been released. Customers that buy electricity for less than the Met-Ed price to compare can save money on their energy costs. These prices are especially important for commercial businesses, who need to be very conscious of their energy expenses, as it could affect their bottom line. Below is a list of the commercial Met-Ed price to compare per rate class.

  • General Secondary – Non Demand Metered (GS-Small)
    • 6.842 cents per kWh
  • General Secondary – Volunteer Fire Company
    • 6.964 cents per kWh
  • General Secondary – Demand Metered (GS-Medium)
    • 6.842 cents per kWh
  • Municipal Service (MS)
    • 6.842 cents per kWh


Today (3/15/17), some businesses with “General Secondary- Demand Metered (GS- Medium)” rate class could qualify to pay as low as 5.763 cents per kWh. This price can be locked in for the next 3 years. For those customers who would not want to make a long-term commitment, a year-long contract could be as low as 6.014 cents per kWh. These fixed rates allow businesses to better predict their energy expenses and control their costs.


Based on this potential savings, commercial customers should reach out to Better Cost Control today to see how we could help their business. Start with a free consultation with no obligation to see the benefit of using our services. Businesses who want to reduce their electricity cost can often feel lost and overwhelmed with all the energy options available to them. This is where Better Cost Control can help. We know the market and what to look for when evaluating pricing from various sources. Contact us today to start saving!

Is Met-Ed’s PTC Really The Lowest Price?

As of September 1st, 2016, Met-Ed offers commercial customers a price per kilowatt-hour for default service by their electric distribution company. This rate is known as the price to compare (PTC). Met-Ed’s PTC is $0.006957 cents per kWh for most commercial customers.

Met-Ed’s PTC is not a commercial customer’s only option. These customers would be able to lock in a price as low as $0.005131 cents per kWh now for a 36-month term. This fixed rate allows customers to guarantee commercial energy costs for 36 months as well as pay less than Met-Ed’s PTC. If 36 months seems like too long of a commitment, customers can also secure a 12-month term for as low as $0.005276 per kWh.  Either way customers will be saving money and getting the security of not having to rely on an unpredictable market.

If you think your business could benefit from these low rates, please contact Better Cost Control today. We will work with you to find the best price for your needs and alleviate the stress of energy costs.

How is the PA Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) Calculated?

Utility Bill Audit

Typically, taxes that are collected on your electric bill are kept separate and apart from the revenue on which those taxes are applied. However, in Pennsylvania, the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) is passed through to the consumer and considered to be part of the revenue base against which the GRT is calculated.

The new total GRT calculation is 5.90%.

It is common practice in Pennsylvania for electricity suppliers to use an adjusted rate to ensure they are billing the appropriate revenue to cover business costs. This practice is called “grossing up.”

The calculation formula is:

Cost = (Taxable Amount)/(1 – GRT)

or  6.27%

Below is an example to demonstrate how the adjusted rate works.

Transaction                                          $1,000.00
PA GRT Adjusted Rate                       6.27%
PA GRT charged to consumer         $62.70
Reportable Gross Receipts              $1,062.70
PA GRT Rate                                        5.90%
PA GRT due to State                           $62.6993
Resulting Revenue                             $1,000.00

Utilities and electricity generation suppliers use varying methods to invoice the Pennsylvania GRT.

Some competitive suppliers presents the GRT as a separate line item, which allows our customers to identify its exact amount.  Other suppliers may embed the tax in their price, making it more difficult to confirm their calculation method (i.e. whether or not they are ‘grossing up’).

When shopping for electricity, understand what you are paying for.  It is common for the price quoted to not include GRT.  Simply add the GRT to this number to compare your price to what you are paying today.

Duquesne Light New Default Service Rates Up 17%

Variable Electric Rate

Duquesne Light filed with the Pennsylvania PUC new default service supply rates for the period beginning December 1, 2015.

The default service supply rate reflects generation supply only; unlike the official Prices to Compare which also reflect transmission and the state GRT adjustment. 

The Small C&I <25 kW (Rate Schedules GS/GM and GMH and Rate Schedule UMS) supply charge will be 6.0133¢/kWh for the period December 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016, versus the current 6.2355¢/kWh.

The Medium C&I 25-300 kW (Rate Schedules GS/GM and GMH and Rate Schedule UMS) supply charge will be 6.6641¢/kWh for the period December 1, 2015 to February 29, 2016, versus the current 5.6764¢/kWh.

West Penn Power Price to Compare Increases

Business talk

West Penn Power has published new price to compare (PTC) default service electric rates for the period of June 1, 2015 through August 31 2015. The published commercial rate is $0.07311/kWh.

As of today a West Penn Power commercial customer can lock in a price as low as $0.0645/kWh for 36 months. This rate is not only 12% lower than the utility’s PTC default service electric rate but also is fixed and guaranteed for 12 times the period of time. A client wishing to obtain a contract to budget and have some price protection but is unsure of locking in for a 36 month period has the option to choose other term lengths. As another example, the fixed price for a 12 month term for a commercial customer may be as low as $0.06278/kWh, which is 14% lower than WPP default service electric rate and is fixed for four times the length of time the utility rate is guaranteed.

Do not play the waiting risk game. Take control of your West Penn Power costs, and provide your company with the peace of mind of price protection and budget certainty. Contact Better Cost Control to find out what rate your business is eligible to receive.

To obtain a commercial price quotation, click here. For a small business price quote, click here.

Here is a link to the filings:

Penn Power Price to Compare Rises June 1, 2015

Electric Meter
Penn Power of Pennsylvania announced the new default service Price to Compare for the period from June 1, 2015 to August 31, 2015. You can read the entire rate filing here.

The price for all commercial Penn Power electricity customers will be $0.08638/kWH, which includes the GRT. This price is an increase over the previous 3-month period.

Customers who choose to obtain a fixed price contract, as of the date of this posting, can obtain fixed 24-month prices that are 12% lower than the new rate, to eliminate all risk of price increases. Without a contract, customer electricity rates adjust every three months.

To obtain a commercial price quotation, click here. For a small business price quote, click here.

Electric Rate Violation Cases in PA

Consumers take care when entering the world of deregulation and shopping electric rates. Taking advantage of the options of deregulations is not all about price and working with a licensed, experienced broker can save you from future headaches.

Five retail electric suppliers in PA are at risk of license suspension or revocation due to alleged deceptive practices and other violations. Complaints filed with the PUC by the Pennsylvania Attorney General and Office of Consumer Advocate are against Blue Pilot Energy LLC; Energy Services Providers Inc. d/b/a Pennsylvania Gas & Electric (USG&E); Hiko Energy LLC; IDT Energy Inc. (who has denied the allegations); and Respond Power LLC. The violations of certain PUC codes include: deceiving or untrue savings guarantees especially versus the PTC, disclosure language inadequately stating the terms of potential price variability, prices charged were inconsistent with suppliers’ disclosure statements, violation of the state’s Telemarketer Registration Act, customers unable to reach suppliers to address complaints, in addition to other allegations specific to one or more suppliers. The PA AG is pursuing license suspension or revocation and refunds to customers.

The PUC has previously ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to enforce violations of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law though the AG broadly alleges they occurred in this case.

A case involving alleged slamming, Do Not Call violations, and other marketing violations against ResCom Energy LLC has reached a proposed settlement with the PA PUC. Under the terms, ResCom Energy LLC would be required to pay $59,000.

These previous examples are of actual violations. What needs to be kept in mind is that the PA PUC may not regulate the rates charged by electric generation suppliers. In reaction to a customer complaint against Blue Pilot Energy LLC, a judge concludes the Commission has no jurisdiction over suppliers regarding that an EGS has charged it an “unreasonable, unjust or illegal” rate for electric generation service. After an initial three-month period, the customer’s electric rate increased from about 8¢ to 39.99¢. Though a shocking increase in rate to the customer, the ALJ’s decision was in favor of Blue Pilot as no violations of PUC code or law are alleged or sustained.

“Since the Commission lacks the authority to regulate rates charged for electric generation service, it lacks the authority to order a refund or credit to the Complainant,” the ALJ said.

The recent AG complaints against several other suppliers are based not specifically around high rate amounts but rather allegedly in violation because they are marketed as being “competitive.”

The “competitiveness” cannot be measured solely again the default service rates. So the AG included an analysis finding that EGS rates based on PJM spot prices should not have exceeded 23¢.

Regarding the specific customer complaint against Blue Pilot, the disclosure statement and agreement indicated that the initial price would be for a period of 90 days. Consumers must be very careful and read the contract terms and fine print of their agreements. This is why having an expert in the field advise you is of utmost importance

“After ninety days the disclosure statement and agreement provides that the price could vary on a month to month basis due to several factors, including the cost of wholesale electric market prices. The disclosure statement and agreement contains no cap on the amount by which the rate could increase,” the ALJ said, concluding that the 39¢ rate was therefore not in violation of any disclosure statement received by the customer.

Make sure you have a high volume broker with deep experience such as Better Cost Control guide you through the buying process to avoid any surprises. We work for you not the energy suppliers and are experts at navigating potential energy suppliers. Do not get blinded by seemingly very attractive rates.

First Energy Default Electricity Rates Rise Dramatically

Power PlantDefault service electric rates for certain customer classes at the First Energy Pennsylvania utilities will jump up to 30% on June 1.

The rates below do not reflect the State Tax Adjustment Surcharge, and therefore are not the official Price to Compare. You can read the specific rate filings here.

The Met-Ed division of First Energy commercial default electric rate will increase slightly to 7.833¢/kWh (Rate GS-Small, Rate GS-Medium, Rate MS, Borderline Service, Street Lighting Service, Ornamental Street Lighting, and Outdoor Lighting Service).

The Penelec division of First Energy commercial default electric rate will increase 20% from 7.361¢/kWh to 8.844¢/kWh (Rate GS-Small, Rate GS-Medium, Rate H, Borderline Service, High Pressure Sodium Vapor Street Lighting Service, Municipal Street Lighting Service, and Outdoor Lighting Service)

The Penn Power division of First Energy commercial default electric rate will increase 30% from 5.651¢/kWh to 7.353¢/kWh (Rate Schedules GS [excluding GS Special Rule GSDS], GS Optional Controlled Service Rider, PNP, GM, GM Optional Controlled Service Rider, PLS, SV, SVD, SM, OH With Cooling Capabilities, OH Without Cooling Capabilities, and WH Non-Residential)

The West Penn Power division of First Energy commercial default electric rate will increase 17% from 5.780¢/kWh to 6.777¢/kWh (Rate Schedules 20, 22, 23, 24, 30 (small), 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58 and 71).

Many commercial business customers have believed that they should only contract their electricity if they can obtain a price that is lower than the Price to Compare.  While that might offer a short term savings, it is actually a risky strategy if one realizes that the goal should be control of costs to hedge against future price increases.  A skilled electricity broker can explain the pros and cons of all the options to contracting your competitive electricity supply.

With better Cost Control’s experience (since 2002) you can be confident of securing the best energy options at the lowest price.  For more information, contact us via email or call 800-454-0027 x150.

Variable Electric Prices – Know the Risks. Use a Broker!

Variable Electric Rate

“I’m very angry,” said John Venti, a business owner in the Midstate.

Venti, is upset about his most recent electricity bill from Pennsylvania Gas and Electric. He typically paid between $2000 and $2500 for electricity through Met Ed.

This month? “Just under $8,000.”

John’s variable electric price with his competitive supplier jumped from eight cents to 28 cents per kilowatt hour.

“It was just complete shock,” Venti said. “I cried, just because there’s no way I can afford that.”

John is not alone.

We have heard horror story after horror story of business owners that contracted for variable price electricity contracts.  Many signed up for a six-cent rate but didn’t read the fine print about it being a variable rate. It jumped to 22 cents per kilowatt hour the second month.

When they originally signed up, the sales person promised a competitive rate within a few cents of the utility company’s rate.  Well, that was before the unusual weather we are experiencing.

The Public Utility Commission regulates power companies but has very little—pardon the pun—power to reign in variable supply rates. Variable electric prices make sense for a buyer who truly understands the risks and rewards.  But for small businesses, the risks can be catastrophic.

Use an experienced broker

This is just one more reason why it truly pays to contract your electricity through a reputable broker such as Better Cost Control.  By working with all the suppliers, we obtain the best prices and explain all the different contract details so you understand what you are doing.  We never advise small businesses to obtain variable price contracts. Since 2002, we have been helping businesses get the right electricity and gas supply contracts for their businesses.

To obtain a quotation on your business electricity or natural gas, contact us today!

A related story from the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Penelec Price to Compare Announced for March 1, 2014

Pennelec Price to ComparePenelec announced its new price to compare for default service customers that do not have competitive electricity contracts.  These new prices will begin on March 1, 2014.

For the period March 1, 2014 to May 31, 2014, the Price to Compare will be:

Commercial Customer Rate Classes: $0.07361/kWh

The price to compare default rates are calculated at the end of each Default Service Quarter, for three months ending March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 to be effective on the first day of the calendar months June 1, September 1, December 1 and March 1.

As a comparison, a customer using 350,000 kWH/year that contracted their electricity for a 24-month period starting in February, would pay a fixed rate of $0.07249, based on prices on 1/13/2014, which is 1.5% below the present default rate.  Fixed price contracts protect the customer from price fluctuations.  They do not guarantee savings, but based on the rising trend of prices, a fixed price contract is a good decision for most companies.

The next price to compare change for Penelec, which is unknown at present, will be effective on June 1, 2014.  You can view the tariff filing here.

Contact us if you would like competitive pricing for your electricity or natural gas supply.

Penn Power New Price-to-Compare Decreases

Electric Meter
Penn Power of Pennsylvania announced the new default service Price to Compare for the period from December 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014. You can read the entire rate filing here.

The price for all commercial Penn Power electricity customers will be $0.05741/kWH, which includes the 5.9% GRT. This price is an slight decrease over the previous 3-month period.

Customers who choose to obtain a fixed price contract, as of the date of this posting, can obtain fixed 12-month prices that are 2% lower than the new rate, to eliminate all risk of price increases. Without a contract, customer electricity rates adjust every three months.

To obtain a commercial price quotation, click here. For a small business price quote, click here.