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About Penelec

Penelec really dates back to 1890 when local investors organized the Citizens Heat, Light, and Power Company in Blairsville PA. The company expanded and in 1927, the mammoth Associated Gas and Electric company took it over to build its new subsidiary, the Pennsylvania Electric Company or Penelec. In 1946, Penelec merged with Met-Ed and Jersey Central Power & Light Company, forming General Public Utilities Corporation (GPU).

In 1996, Penelec sold off its power plants to comply with Pennsylvania's new deregulation law. A short time later in 2001, FirstEnergy acquired all of GPU, including Penelec. Today, Penelec continues its long history of giving back to its community through a number of charitable programs through FirstEnergy. These include energy conservation efforts like the Community Connections Program, supporting education through its STEM Grant, and charitable giving through the FirstEnergy Foundation.

Penelec serves nearly 600,000 customers in some or all of these central and western Pennsylvania counties:

Armstrong Bedford Blair Bradford Cambria
Centre Clarion Clearfield Crawford Cumberland
Erie Forest Franklin Huntingdon Indiana
Jefferson Juniata Lycoming McKean Mifflin
Perry Potter Somerset Sullivan Susquehanna
Tioga Venango Warren Wayne Westmoreland

Penelec serves these cities:

Altoona Erie Huntingdon Johnstown Shippensburg

How to Start New Penelec Service

Fill in the online Start Service form on Penelec's website. This takes at least 2 days to process and you will receive email confirmation when it's completed. Contact the Penelec Contact Center if you have an urgent request.

Penelec may check your credit, and charge a deposit to start service based on your credit history. Not everyone will require a security deposit, and in some instances, the security deposit may be waived.

You'll need to give the following information when you apply for service:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • The service Addres
  • Phone number
  • Desired start date
  • Social Security number

Will I need to pay a deposit?

Pennsylvania electric utilities can charge a deposit based on a customer's credit worthiness. The amount cannot be greater than two months of estimated usage. Customers have 21 days after the utility sends the deposit request notification to make a payment. However, customers have three months to pay the full deposit.

Customers can contact Penelec customer service at 1-800-545-7741 or via the Penelec Customer Service webpage.

Understand Deregulation in Pennsylvania

When Pennsylvania deregulated its energy market in 1997, customers were allowed to shop around for their electricity supplier, rather than be bound to the local utility rate. However, each utility taking part had to sell off their generators and become delivery-only companies.

To protect energy customers from service disruptions the PA PUC requires utilities to provide electricity supply at a default rate without mark up to customers who choose not to shop for a retail supplier.

These utility default rates are also called the "Price to Compare" or PTC. These rates are overseen by the PA PUC.

What is the difference between Penelec and a retail electricity supplier?

The primary difference between Penelec and an electricity supplier is that Penelec owns and maintains the distribution network in its service area. This includes all of substations, poles, lines, and meters that bring electricity to your home.

Customers should contact Penelec when they have a problem with their billing or cannot pay the amount due according to their monthly statement. In case of an emergency or outage, Customers should also contact Penelec at at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or through the FirstEnergy current electric outages webpage.

Lastly, Penelec is the "last resort" supplier if your supplier stops serving customers in PA. Your service will not be interrupted if your supplier leaves the state.

What are Penelec delivery and supply charges?

Pennsylvania residential customers now pay separate charges for the cost to deliver their electricity and for the amount of electricity supply that they use.

Because Penelec owns and maintains the distribution network, all electricity customers must pay a distribution charge no matter which supplier they have. All customers pay the same rate depending on their service class.

Utility distribution rates are overseen by the PA PUC and can periodically change. Assuming an average usage of 864 kWh per month, the Penelec distribution portion of a bill could look like this:

Rate of $0.06074 per kWh Monthly Customer Charge Total
Monthly Distribution Charges (excluding riders) $52.48 for 864 kWh Used $11.25 $63.73

Supply charges reflect the price for the electricity that a consumer actually uses. Penelec customers may choose the "Price to Compare" (PTC) for their electricity supply. However, PA consumers can also choose to buy electricity from competitive retail electricity suppliers.

Retail electricity suppliers purchase energy from generator companies on the wholesale markets and sells this power to their customers to use. Rates vary between competing retail suppliers and this acts as an incentive for companies to keep their prices as low as possible. Customers can switch to a new retail supplier at any time but may incur an early termination fee if they break a contract with a retailer.

What is the Penelec Price to Compare (PTC)?

The Price to Compare is the price the utility pays generator companies for electricity. It includes the price to generate the electricity, as well as the cost to transmit it over high voltage transmission power lines to Penelec's local electrical switch yards. From there, the electricity is distributed throughout the Penelec controlled grid for delivery to homes.

Penelec sets its PTC rates by holding auctions 4 times per year: March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. As a result, Penelec's PTC rates change every three months. Additionally, when the auctions are over, the PA PUC must approve the prices for both the generation supply and transmission.

For customers, PTC electricity rates fluctuate throughout the year and can vary with the seasons; low some months, and higher during others.

Understand your Penelec Bill

Your Penelec bill includes a substantial amount of information that may be confusing to customers. To help you better understand your usage and where the amounts come from, we break down the most important items below.

Penelec Coupons, Energy Promotions, Discounts, Rebates and Promo Codes

As your local electric utility, Penelec offers several rebate and energy efficiency programs to help customers reduce their monthly bill by upgrading their home's energy performance. Some programs also offer money-saving incentives while others could make paying your monthly bills much easier during those expensive winter months.

Program Name Program Type Benefit
Appliance and HVAC Rebates Program Energy Efficiency Rebate Program Pennsylvania residential customers of Penelec, Penelec, Penn Power and Penelec can now take advantage of $25-$75 rebates on Energy Star appliances, $50 rebates on HVAC tune ups, and up to $600 on new HVAC systems.
Appliance Turn-In Program Energy Efficiency Rebate Program Recycle your old working fridge or freezer and get $50. Plus, you save money on your electricity bill. Refrigerators and freezers must be 10 to 30 cu. ft. in size, plugged in, and operating (cooling) at the time of the scheduled pickup.
Energy Efficient New Homes Energy Efficiency Rebate Program Pennsylvania Energy Efficient New Homes Program provides financial incentives for construction of more energy-efficient single-family, multifamily and manufactured homes with ENERGY STAR certification.
Home Energy Analyzer Energy Efficiency Rebate Program First Energy's Home Energy Analyzer is a free simple and convenient tool you can use to save energy and money. Register online with your account number and zip code.
Residential Energy Audit Program Energy Efficiency Rebate Program First Energy customers can sign up for the low cost Home Energy Audit Program, an in-person assessment of your property's energy efficiency. Includes installation of free energy saving products and recommendations for upgrades that can qualify for rebates.
Lighting Discounts and Water Heating Rebates Energy Efficiency Rebate Program Discounts on energy-efficient bulbs and up to $500 off a heat pump water heater.

Penelec Payment Arrangements Bill payment assistance Penelec offers payment arrangements to allow residential customers to pay their account balance in monthly installments. These installments are billed along with your current monthly charges and both must be paid on time, in full each month.
WARM Program Residential Energy Efficiency Energy efficiency program for customers consuming more than 375kWh per month to reduce their electric bills through home weatherization and conservation.
Medical Certificate Bill payment assistance A medical certificate delays termination of service for up to 30 days if you or anyone living in your home is seriously ill. A licensed physician, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner must notify Penelec in writing.
LIHEAP Cash and Crisis Grants Bill payment assistance Payment assistance program is available to low-income households from from November to April.
Dollar Energy Fund Bill payment assistance Penelec partners with Dollar Energy Fund to provide assistance grants to limited-income households. The maximum grant is $500 and is available only once per Penelec electric account per year.
Penelec Customer Assistance & Referral Evaluation Service (CARES) program Bill payment assistance Bill payment assistance program, open to Penelec customers in financial hardship. Call Universal Services Center at: 1-888-393-7600.
Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program (PCAP) Bill payment assistance Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program (PCAP) helps residential customers maintain electric service and eliminate their past-due balance. Apply through the Dollar Energy Fund.

How to Shop for Retail suppliers

Pennsylvania electric consumers may choose their own competitive retail electricity suppliers. These alternative suppliers shop deals on the wholesale market to offer competitive rates. Therefore, their rates are not dictated by Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) the same way that utilities are.

The PTC rate is important to know when shopping Pennsylvania electricity plans as it provides a price for a set period of time to compare with retailer's prices. This way, you can compare the relative costs of electricity over both the short term and long term.

When you're shopping for retail suppliers, you can choose a fixed rate, or a variable rate plan.

  • When you're choosing a new electricity plan, the biggest difference is whether you choose a fixed or variable rate. Variable rates change often to reflect market prices, which means your monthly bill will fluctuate. Typically, variable rate plans only last one month and do not have a contract. However, their rates can fluctuate monthly; low some months, higher in others.
  • A fixed rate plan can typically last from 6-36 months. This longer term provides greater stability and a cheaper price than variable rate plans. However, if you want to break the contract early you could be liable to pay an early termination charge. That's why it's essential to carefully consider which type of electricity plan is right for you.

Electricity retailers offer a wide range of different plans to suit different customers. Some suppliers offer plans with renewable energy sources or other greener options such as investing back into solar or wind energy. Additionally, keep an eye out for any kind of perks or deals you may be able to take advantage of. Some retailers may offer reimbursement in the form of gift cards, discounts, or specialty pricing if conditions are met.

Be aware that the Penelec PTC rate changes 3 times per year. Depending on when your supplier contract expires, this means the PTC has very likely changed since last time you shopped for an energy deal. Keep this in mind, because you can make big savings by picking the cheapest price for your energy!

Penelec Shopping Questions

The best way for a PA energy customer to avoid making a bad choice is to ask the right questions. That way, you can learn exactly the information that can save you money. When you shop for electricity service in Pennsylvania, always be sure to ask these important questions:

  • Is the rate variable or is it fixed?
  • Is the rate competitive with the current Penelec supply rate?
  • How long is the contract?
  • Does the plan's contract term last longer than Penelec's PTC rate?
  • Are there any recurring monthly charges?
  • Are there any restrictions on the rate being offered? These can be things like new customers only, active military only, seniors only, etc.
  • Does the plan have an early cancellation fee?
  • Are there any incentives or rewards programs? Do they fit your lifestyle?
  • Does the contract automatically renew? If so, what are your options?

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According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, on average, customers who switch to a competitive supplier can expect to save about 10% to 15% compared to the price-to-compare.

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