Many low-income clients of Community Legal Services receive reduced PECO rates through the CAP program. Many have asked us what effect the expiration of PECO’s electric rate caps last month will have on the CAP program. Here’s the latest:
Q. I heard that PECO’s electric rate caps are expiring in January 2011, does that mean that my low-income CAP Rate discount is expiring?
A. No! PECO’s low-income CAP Rate program will continue to provide discounted bills for low-income customers who are enrolled in the CAP Rate program.
Q. What is the PECO CAP Rate discount and how can I get the discount?
A. The PECO CAP Rate discount is available to customers whose household income is within 150% of the federal poverty level. See chart. Household Size Monthly Income at 150% of Federal Poverty Level1 $1,354 or less2 $1,821 or less3 $2,289 or less4 $2,756 or lessEach Add’l Person Add $468 Call PECO at 1-800-774-7040, provide your monthly income information, and ask for a CAP Rate application.
Q. Can I switch to another electric supplier while enrolled in PECO’s CAP Rate discount?
A. No. You must give up the CAP Rate discount if you switch to a non-PECO electric supplier. The CAP Rate discount is now at least 25% off the first 650 kWh per month (average usage is about 750 kWh a month). Right now, no alternate supplier can beat this discount. Also, if you switch, any unforgiven balance from before you enrolled in the CAP Rate discount will become due immediately. So, if you have the CAP Rate discount, don’t switch.
Q. I am not eligible for PECO’s low-income CAP Rate discount program, but can a non-PECO supplier lower my electric bill?
A. Shopping guides and comparison charts are available for free from the PA Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA), 800-684-6560 or www.oca.state.pa.us, and from the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC), 800-692-7380 or PAPowerSwitch.com.
Q. How do I compare all the different offers?
A. In the same way you would compare cable and cell phone providers, ask: How often will the rates change? E.g., monthly, quarterly (every 3 months), yearly? The “market” price of electricity can go up and down, in the same as gas prices.
Q. Is there an early cancellation fee?
The plans that lock in prices may have these fees. Again, good websites for shopping guides are: http://www.oca.state.pa.us and PAPowerSwitch.com.
Q. Are door-to-door sales allowed and how do I cancel a contract I was pressured to enter?
A. Door-to-door sales are allowed. However, you have the right to cancel a contract within 3-days, if signed during a door-to-door sale. You can also complain to the PUC about unfair sales practices, at 1-800-692-7380.
Q. Will I stop getting PECO bills when I switch?
A. No, PECO will continue to bill you “distribution” charges for delivering electricity, and the “generation” and “transmission” charges on the bill will be from your chosen supplier.