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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Beware low, variable electricity rates

Beware low, variable electricity rates

By Dennis Owens
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
abc27 WHTM

Pennsylvanians across the state are opening electricity bills and getting shocked, then angry, frustrated and totally dismayed.

It happened to me and I share my story so it won't happen to you.

It all began in the fall when our fixed rate with Pennsylvania Gas and Electric ended and we were bumped, without notice, to a variable rate. The price per kilowatt hour was around 11 cents. It was roughly $300 per month for an all-electric house.

I knew I could do better and began shopping at Papowerswitch.com. I plugged in my zip code and there were 75 offerings. Some had cancellation fees, some had one or two-year contracts, and there was a wide variety of prices.

My wife said, "don't do a variable, stick with a fixed rate so we know what we're paying month to month."

I heard her.

I didn't listen to her, lured as I was to American Power and Gas's six-cent offering. Six cents a kilowatt hour was a 40 to 50 percent savings over the old price. It was a variable rate.

But how much really could it vary, I wondered? Sign me up.

It took more than a month for the actual switch to American Power and Gas and the first bill at six cents per kWh was in December, a cold month with higher than usual usage. The monthly bill was $374. That's high but it would've been closer to $500 under the old rate.

So far, so good on the switcheroo.

But then came January and that sweet six cent rate was replaced by 22 cents per kWh. The bill, for one month, was $850.40. It was freezing outside and I was getting icy stares inside.

"They get you at the teaser rate, what I like to call bait and switch," said Lancaster's John Dull, an independent energy consultant with Ambit Energy. "Then a couple months down the road, they jack the price up on you and they're hoping you're not watching it." Read more...

6 comments :

Anonymous said...

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Anonymous said...

Amen Brother!

PS: We tried telling people that in '08 & and in '12.

Anonymous said...

Right on 7:16 Stay with what you have because they are all the same. I learned with my telephone bill and I didn't change carriers only plans I was suppose to get a lower rate and it ended up higher and they wouldn't let me go back to what I had so I am paying higher

Anonymous said...

I went with Ambit last spring and my rate increased, rather than decreased as promised. Electric bills were higher than ever. No savings there! Got out, went back to my former plan and happy with it.

Anonymous said...

As we should have all learned by now "CHANGE" usually isn't for the better!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey 11:31, you know that didn't happen, so please tell the truth. The rates will never increase with Ambit. If you chose the variable rate, and the rates went up, then so did the incumbent provider's rates. Either that or you just used more kilowatts and now you're looking for an excuse.
Ambit now has guaranteed 3% savings over the incumbent provider. After 1 full year, they will send you an energy statement showing how much you saved. If you didn't save at least 3% they will cut you a check for the difference.
I suggest learn to read your electric bill and do some research before posting next time.