By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you live in Pennsylvania, get ready: Beginning today, many of you will be paying more for your electricity, as PECO rates are on the rise.

The generation and transmission portion of your monthly bill, which accounts for about two thirds of your cost, will go up on average $13 to $15 a month. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan reminds us, there is no time like the present to shop around for a better rate.

Electricity lights up your life, powers our appliances and turns on your electronics. But the bill can often leave customers with sticker shock.

Billing is based on the number of kilowatt hours that you use. Beginning October 1st, PECO’s quarterly rate will jump almost two cents, to 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour. That rate is known as “the price to compare.”

“That is the figure that customers should use to compare with prices of competitive suppliers,” says PECO Spokesperson Cathy Engel Menedez.

Customers can shop around for electricity providers on http://www.pappowerswitchcom. For example, if you use 750 kilowatt hours and find a company that charges a penny less for each kilowatt hour than what you are currently paying, then you would save $7.50 a month.

When comparison shopping, be sure to see if the rate is fixed or if it’s variable and can change. Also, be aware that some companies may lock you in at a lower price but require you to sign a contract. If you want out early, you could pay a penalty.

Regardless, even if you switch providers, PECO will still be responsible for your poles, wires and a whole lot more. According to Cathy Engel Menendez, “We’ll handle your billing, your customer support; we’ll come out when there is an emergency and restore your power.”

It is important to point out that these PECO rates change quarterly based on market conditions. For example, in January the rates are expected to go down again. Nonetheless, it’s estimated that customers who shop around can save ten percent on their electricity costs.

If you are interested in shopping around for an alternative electricity provider, you can visit these links:

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