Coming soon to your mailbox, Higher Electric Bills!
Many years in the making, Western Pennsylvania's energy market will be deregulated effective January 1, 2011.
What this means to consumers remains to be seen but for the parts of the state that were deregulated earlier in the process it has meant increases between 10-40%, depending on who you ask.
Previously, energy was generated by just a handful of companies that had a monopoly on our energy. In an effort to create a competitive marketplace the state decided back in 1996 to deregulate the PA energy market. In an effort to soften the blow to the existing energy companies who had invested in infrastructure the state enacted rate caps that have been in place for all these years. The hope was that in the meantime, other energy generation companies would enter the market and provide competition that would ultimately result in lower prices. (FYI - your energy will still be delivered by the same company as now, but who generates it will be your choice) Of course, nothing works out exactly the way it is planned...
So now we are just over three months away from the deadline for rate caps to end here in Western PA. Energy costs which have maintained the status quo for so long are going away and in all likely hood consumers are going to be seeing increases to their electric bill soon, and I suspect many consumers won't even know why.
After reading this you may think deregulation is a bad thing, but there are some benefits to the plan:
First, the reason for deregulation is to spur competition, it's the American Way. And that competition has already resulted in innovation in the way power is generated. (Click here to see the story in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about Energy Innovation). While the savings may not be immediate, in the long term this is the best way for our energy market to operate.
Second, consumers are now able to choose who they want to generate their power. So they can choose companies that create power from more environmentally friendly sources and from companies that are working on cleaner and more efficient ways to generate energy.
Third, while you may see your bills go up, this is one increase that you can also do something about. By choosing to make our homes more efficient we have the opportunity to offset the increase and even save money. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Have a energy audit on your home. It will give you a prioritized plan for making your home more efficient including plans for air sealing and insulation to maximize your savings.
- Replace your light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. Both use much less energy and last longer.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Replace your old appliances with new ENERGY STAR appliances, and be sure to check if you utility offers rebates for that purchase. (Allegheny Power does, click here for more info)
- Unplug you electronics when not in use or put them on a power strip and turn it off. Electronics on standby still use power.
Finally, the new focus on energy consumption has resulted in an increase in number of homes being built that are more efficient and improvments to older homes, which results in homes that are more comfortable, better built and less expensive to operate.
Just three months left, now is the time to prepare your home and save!
I specialize in helping my customers buy and sell homes in the Pittsburgh area that are good for their wallet, health, family and planet. Christa Ross, Ecosociate and RE/MAX Green Specialist. Call me at 724-933-6300 x214 (office) or 724-779-1437 (direct) or visit my website at www.greenhomespgh.com.
Buying or Selling a home in Pittsburgh? Call Christa Ross from RE/MAX Select Realty, at 724-933-6300 x214 (office) or 724-309-1758 (direct) or visit my website at www.bestpittsburghhomes.com.