AKRON, Ohio -- With higher fuel costs expected to influence energy rates this winter, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is encouraging customers of its utility companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland to evaluate electric supply deals that fit their budget and protect against rising energy prices.
The price of natural gas - which makes up the largest share of U.S. electricity generation - has been rising in recent months due to low inventory levels and continuing demand. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects natural gas prices to remain volatile over the winter months, with colder weather potentially driving demand and prices even higher. As these costs fluctuate, customers could see an increase in the rates they pay for electric generation.
In deregulated states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, FirstEnergy's utilities deliver electricity to homes and business and bill for electricity, but customers have the ability to shop among a wide range of competitive energy suppliers for electric generation, which typically represents about half of a customer's monthly bill. A variety of energy pricing options and plans are available from these suppliers. A careful review of those options could result in potential savings this winter.
"With energy rates elevated and poised to increase further, we encourage our customers who live in states with energy choice to review their bills and make sure they've selected a plan that best meets their monthly financial needs," said Mark Jones, vice president of Customer Engagement for FirstEnergy.
When evaluating options, customers should consider energy price, plan structure (fixed or variable rate), contract terms and conditions, and any taxes, charges or fees that may apply. Customers who choose not to shop among suppliers can continue to rely on their local utility for all facets of electric service, including generation (default service). In some cases, the prices paid for electricity under default service may offer savings over competitive energy plans. Customers should consult the price to compare under the "Messages" section of their electric bill when considering their different alternatives.
Before making a switch, customers should review their current contract to determine if an early termination fee applies. Customers who change energy suppliers will not experience an interruption in service, and FirstEnergy's utilities will continue to deliver their electricity, service electrical equipment and respond to outages.
To learn more about shopping for electric generation in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey, including a list of suppliers licensed by each state's utility commission, visit www.firstenergycorp.com/customerchoice.
FirstEnergy also offers a variety of energy-saving tips and resources to help customers manage their energy usage throughout the year. For more information, visit www.firstenergycorp.com/saveenergy.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.