West Penn Power
Choosing an Electric Generation Supplier
Choosing an Electric Generation Supplier
In the past, there was no choice for the consumer. Your electric distribution company – West Penn Power- provided every aspect of your electric service. This included generating the electricity and delivering it to your home or business. Now, the Pennsylvania Electric Choice program allows you to choose the supplier who generates the electricity. West Penn Power will continue to deliver the electricity to you and maintain the same poles and wires.
You now have the opportunity to choose your electric generation supplier based on the best price available or because of other services or programs it offers. The choice is yours and it may result in cost savings. If you need more time to choose, or decide not to choose at all, West Penn Power will still supply the generation component of your electricity.
You probably have many questions, but the changes in the way you buy electric generation supply do not have to be confusing. We've prepared materials on this site to explain the changes and describe the options you'll have.
- Welcome to Customer Choice
- Basics of Electric Service
- Frequently Asked Questions About the Pennsylvania Electric Choice Program
- Pennsylvania's Electric Choice Glossary of Terms
- Types of Electric Suppliers
- Pennsylvania's Electric Competition Law
If you cannot find the answers to your questions on this website, another resource is our Retail Choice Center, which has specially trained representatives to help with your questions about electric competition. The toll-free number for this resource is 1-866-592-6171.
Information for Small Business
Small businesses have their own special needs as changes unfold in the electric industry. Below is information to address some questions and concerns that small business owners might have:
For additional information about electric competition, call our Retail Choice Center toll-free at 1-866-592-6171.
Small Business - Demand Charges
As small businesses shop for an electric generation supplier, they should compare two separate charges: one for the amount of energy they consume and another for demand.
Most of us think of electric bills in terms of the total amount of electricity used. The more power we use in a month, the more we expect to pay. The less we use, the less we expect to pay.
But, unlike residential customers, most businesses pay for more than just the amount of kilowatt-hours (kwh) they consume. Most businesses also pay for demand. Demand, measured in kilowatts (kw) is the rate at which electricity is delivered at a given instant or averaged over some period of time.
For example, suppose you turn on ten 100-watt bulbs. They "demand" a total of one kilowatt (10 bulbs times 100 watts = 1,000 watts = one kilowatt). Fifteen minutes later, they have used one-fourth of a kilowatt-hour (one kilowatt times one-quarter of an hour). However, their demand remains one kilowatt. If the lights stay on for one hour, the consumption would be one kilowatt-hour. But, the demand still would be one kilowatt.
If everyone used a steady flow of electricity throughout the day, every day of the year, there would be fewer challenges for the electric generation supplier, but this isn't the case. Electricity use rises and falls throughout the day.
For example, two customers each use 1,200 kilowatt-hours in a day. One has a steady demand of 50 kilowatts (50 kilowatts x 24 hours = 1,200 kilowatt-hours). The supplier needs 50 kilowatts of generating capacity to serve the customer.
The second customer has a demand of 30 kilowatts for 23 hours and 510 kilowatts for one hour. Total electricity used is 1,200 kilowatt-hours (30 kilowatts x 23 hours + 510 kilowatts x 1 hour = 1,200 kilowatt-hours). However, now the electric generation supplier must have 510 kilowatts of generating capacity standing by to serve this customer.
Demand charges assign to each customer the cost of the power suppliers needed to satisfy the maximum demand of that customer.
In choosing a supplier, a business should compare demand charges and kilowatt-hour charges. Businesses must consider what their total electric bill will be. A total bill includes charges for both kilowatt-hours and for kilowatt demand.
Small Business - Time-Of-Use Pricing Options
Business customers shopping for an electric generation supplier should check for pricing options based on the time when they actually use electricity. These options offer opportunities for lower electricity prices during certain hours of the day, days of the week or even seasons of the year.
Before choosing an electric generation supplier, learn about your present electricity usage pattern by reviewing historical usage information for your business. The information is available from your local electric distribution company. Some electricity providers may refer to this historical usage information as a load profile.
A business may significantly reduce its electric generation costs by rescheduling its usage. For example, a factory that can schedule production runs during the night might pay less for electricity during that time. Or, a water authority could run its electric pumps to fill large storage tanks at night and pay less for the electricity used to run the pumps.
Here are some examples of pricing tied to when electricity is used. Before deciding on an electric generation supplier, you should weigh all the needs of your business against all available supplier options.
Time-of-use rates and metering. The cost of producing electricity varies throughout the day. Time-of-use rates and metering connect the amount of electricity used with the time it was used. Like long distance telephone calls, prices are higher during some periods of the day than others. Customers with this type of pricing plan can save money by moving their greatest electricity usage to periods when the prices are lowest.
Real-time pricing. At the end of a business day, customers with the real-time pricing option are quoted actual prices for electricity for each hour of the next business day. Special meters record electricity usage for each hour. The amount billed is based on the price set for each hour. Customers truly pay a commodity price based on actual costs, not a rate based on average costs. Customers can reduce their electricity costs by adjusting their usage to the most favorable hours of the day based on the actual prices they'll be charged.
Discounts for curtailing electricity usage. During periods of high demand for electricity, such as during a heat wave, power suppliers may face difficulty keeping up with demand. Also, the prices they would have to pay for additional electricity to serve their customers would be extremely high. As a result, suppliers may offer special credits to customers who, when asked, agree to reduce usage by a predetermined amount. For example, a large industrial facility could receive a credit on its electric bill for cutting back its usage during a heat wave. Or, a hospital could receive a credit on its bill from its electric generation supplier for running its emergency generators to reduce the demand on its supplier for electricity.
- Small Business - Demand Charges
Under the Pennsylvania competition law, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PaPUC) is responsible for licensing electric generation suppliers. All licensed suppliers must post bonds to help ensure their financial responsibility and the supply of electricity to satisfy their contracts or agreements.
All residential West Penn Power customers can shop for an electric generation supplier at any time. View the list of licensed electric generation suppliers who have met all requirements to serve West Penn Power customers.
For additional information about electric competition, call our Retail Choice Center toll-free at 866-592-6171. You can also call the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's Electric Competition Hotline toll-free at 1-888-PUC-3228, or visit the PaPUC's PA Power Switch website.
Your Price to Compare
Your Price to Compare is the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) your electric distribution company will charge to provide generation if you receive default service. It is also used as a comparison tool to help you decide if you can save money by choosing another supplier.
If a supplier’s price per kWh is less than your listed Price to Compare, you can save the difference on every kWh you use by choosing that supplier. Your Price to Compare can be found on your West Penn Power electric bill.
- Electric Choice Links
- Zip Codes Served by West Penn Power