PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – PECO Energy, the electric utility, is gradually letting customers know that two discounted rate plans are ending.

PECO’s “residential heating” rate and their “off-peak discount” are being cut in half in January, and eliminated at the end of 2012.

About 215,000 customers are affected, but since the beginning of June, PECO has been sending out letters to just 11,000 of those customers each week.

PECO spokesman Ben Armstrong says that’s so its call center wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

“We want to make sure that when customers do call with questions about this phaseout, that we have the time to fully focus and answer every question that the customers have,” he told KYW Newsradio.

He says customers looking to save money can explore PECO’s budget plan, which allows bills to be averaged out over the year.

Armstrong says PECO chose to gradually notify customers the discounts were ending to avoid confusion with the beginning of deregulation, which allows customers to pick their own electric suppliers.   And he says the Customer Assistance Program, for low-income customers, will remain in place.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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