By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starting in June, PECO will be switching some of its commercial and industrial customers to hourly pricing.

PECO spokesman Ben Armstrong says the change applies to about 1,200 mid-size business customers, primarily in manufacturing, with bills ranging from $16,000 to $22,000 a month. He says smart metering allows the utility to do readings every 15 minutes.

“They will be billed based on hourly market pricing, as opposed to fixed pricing,” Armstrong says, “which PECO secures on a quarterly basis for these customers.”

Armstrong says if they don’t want to be subject to market fluctuations, those businesses can shop around for a better deal — so they can lock in a price.

“The most important thing is that there are many options out there from competitive electric generation suppliers,” he says.

Although it may be news to you, Armstrong says the affected businesses won’t be caught flat-footed — PECO has sent each one three letters, and held customer education sessions.