Penelec customers to see rate increase

Customers who use Penelec as their power generation supplier will pay more for their electricity beginning Friday.

The residential rate for electricity will increase from 5.38 cents per kilowatt hour to 6.74 cents per kwh, said spokesman Scott Surgeoner of FirstEnergy Corp., Penelec’s parent company.

The average residential customer who uses 750 kilowatt hours per month will see bills increase from $96.97 to $105.04, about an 8.3 percent increase.

There are a couple of reasons for the increase.

“Prices typically increase during the winter heating season. The economy is moving again, and there is a greater demand in some parts of the country for electricity. That helps drive prices up,” Surgeoner said.

The power generation costs have fluctuated since Dec. 31, 2010, when electricity caps expired. The electric generation rate, which Penelec calls its price to compare, is updated quarterly. Electric bills are divided into two parts: the cost of generating electricity and the cost of transmission for maintaining electric lines, etc.

Consumers can choose their electric supplier. For the Altoona area, there are 48 providers in addition to Penelec.

The other providers’ rates for the area, according to PAPowerSwitch

.com, range from Inspire and Palmco Power PA LLC at 4.99 cents per kilowatt hour (variable rate with no term length) to Energy Rewards at 11.45 cents per kilowatt hour (variable rate with one-month term).

Meanwhile, other options are being offered through the ChamberChoice program.

Tri Eagle Energy, a retail energy provider since 2002, and OnDemand Energy Solutions, an independent energy services firm, have teamed up on residential energy.

Through the Chamber­Choice energy program managed by OnDemand Energy, residential customers in the Blair County area can lock in energy rates.

Tri Eagle is offering three options: 5.96 cents per kwh for 36 months, 6.06 cents per kwh for 24 months or 6.16 cents per kwh for

12 months, said Phil Orend, marketing director for OnDemand Energy Solutions.