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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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.