Changes ahead for FirstEnergy utilities in Pennsylvania

March 27, 2019

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — With the effective date of FirstEnergy's updated default service program quickly approaching, the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute (PSFEI) wants to make sure nonprofit organizations throughout Pennsylvania understand how the changes may affect their electricity costs.

Beginning June 1, Penelec, Penn Power, Met-ed and West Penn Power will begin operating under a new service program, which includes a change to default service electric rates, or the “price to compare.” The changes will impact commercial customers with electric demand between 100 and 400 kilowatts for the past 12 months. When the new program takes effect, commercial customers that are not already shopping with a competitive electric generation supplier will be billed based on their hourly electric usage, at prices that reflect the hourly wholesale price for power.

“The bottom line is, customers who are not already competitively shopping with a supplier and have billing demands above 100 kilowatts will be charged at a variable hourly rate, instead of a fixed rate, which means their pricing may increase up to $1 per kilowatt-hour,” said Scott Harford, PSFEI energy engineer. “Since wholesale pricing is affected by things like weather, temperatures and electric demand, it will be difficult for companies to budget and predict their costs under the new program.”

To identify which accounts may be affected by the new service program and learn more about options for controlling costs, Harford encourages companies to have their electric accounts reviewed by an energy procurement professional. 

“PSFEI has been saving a number of Pennsylvania state agencies money through the COSTARS electric procurement program since 2009,” said Harford. “By working with the Department of General Services Bureau of Procurement, we have been able to save our clients an average of more than $600 per month in utility costs.”

All COSTARS members qualify for a free review of electric accounts to determine if the accounts are subject to the June 1 changes. However, for a limited time, nonprofit companies in Pennsylvania — whether COSTARS members or not — are invited to submit their bills for review. For more information about PSFEI’s energy procurement services, visit psfei.psu.edu. Prospective clients also may contact Harford directly via phone or email at 814-863-2090 or srh18@psu.edu

The Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute provides facilities engineering services, education programs and energy management to Pennsylvania state agencies, the federal government and nonprofit organizations. The organization aims to advance its customers’ facilities engineering objectives through applied research, education and innovation.

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Last Updated March 27, 2019