(Natural News) The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has warned that Pennsylvanians could be hit with energy bills that are as much as 50 percent higher starting on Wednesday.
In a press release from the PUC, they explained: “Most Pennsylvania regulated electric utilities are adjusting the price they charge for the generation portion of customers’ bills on December 1 for non-shopping customers, also known as the ‘Price to Compare’ (PTC).”
The PTC makes up around half of most customers’ totally utility bill, although it also depends on usage levels and the utility provider.
At Pike County Light & Power, energy costs are expected to surge by 50.2 percent starting December 1st, climbing from 6.5234 cents per kWh to 9.796 cents per kWh. Meanwhile, the electric distribution company PPL is raising its PTC for all residential customers by 26 percent from 7.544 cents per kWh to 9.502 cents per kWh; this equates to an increase of roughly $40 per month for electric heating customers who use 2000 kilowatt hours a month. Meanwhile, Citizens Electric will be instituting a 13.9% PTC hike.
The chairman of the PUC warned that the onset of winter and the price changes mean it is time for people to start taking a closer look at their energy options and looking for ways that they can save on utility bills in the coming months. To that end, they encouraged people to review their electric bills carefully and understand how their energy prices are structured, in addition to learning more about energy conservation.
What is causing the energy price hike?
A PUC spokesperson blamed the situation on “market forces.” The fuel prices for power generators are climbing due to the price of natural gas, which is causing electricity prices to rise in wholesale power markets.
The news comes just a month after the United States Energy Information Administration released a report that forecast the country would see the biggest increase in winter heating costs since 2008.
In an interview with Fox News, the director of environmental policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Jason Hayes, took the Biden administration to task for its energy policies. He said that he could not understand why some western leaders failed to acknowledge the importance of ensuring the population has reliable and affordable energy and electricity.
“It seems like the only nations that understand that we require reliable, affordable dispatchable energy is China and Russia. And they’re the only ones that are producing energy and they’re more than happy to hold that energy hostage for the rest of the world,” he said.
During his first few hours in office, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline that would have moved oil from Canada to the U.S. and paused leases for oil and natural gas on federal lands. Several states filed a lawsuit to block the pause, and so far, courts have sided with them. Biden is also mulling closing down the Line 5 pipeline in Michigan, which supplies energy to the Upper Peninsula of the state.
Ways Pennsylvanians can save money on electricity this winter
The cost of heating your home accounts for around a third of a typical utility bill. Therefore, finding other ways to keep warm, such as by turning down the heating and dressing warmer at home, can make a significant difference.
In addition, having your furnace inspected at the beginning of winter can help ensure it is running at peak efficiency. Replace your filters monthly, and keep baseboard heaters and warm air registers clean and unblocked. You should also reduce your use of kitchen and bath ventilation fans as they can suck warm air out of your home.
According to The Balance, setting your thermostat at 7 to 10 degrees lower than usual for eight hours a day can save you as much as 10 percent on your heating bills. You should also unplug rarely-used electronics and charging devices when they are not in use. Be sure to check your home for air leaks and drafts, and use weatherstripping or caulking to seal gaps. Finding ways to save on energy is particularly important as Americans continue to deal with rising prices and inflation.
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