By Madeleine Wright

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The price of electricity is going up, and that might catch some people by surprise. Many will inch up their air conditioning dials Tuesday to keep cool, and on Wednesday, that luxury is going to cost more for many in the region.

Sharon Mayes is the owner of Xpressions Beauty Boutique in Philadelphia’s Nicetown neighborhood.

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She says her hair salon’s electric bill is about $500 a month, which includes the cost of powering the lights, air conditioning, hairdryers, curling irons, buzzers and surveillance cameras.

“You know, our business, mostly everything is electric,” Mayes said.

Now her electric bill is going up.

Starting June 1, most PECO customers will pay 8% more and most PPL customers will pay 38% more for electricity.

“Of course, I don’t like it, but it’s everything going up,” Mayes said.

PECO says bills will go up mainly because of the increased cost of natural gas, which is burned at power plants to make electricity.

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“What PECO does is secure the lowest cost possible for customers, and again, that’s passed directly along to customers at exactly that same price that PECO pays,” Greg Smore, a spokesperson for PECO, said.

La Salle economics professor David Robison says international demand is driving up costs for everyone

“The central part of the country’s been much hotter than normal, so central air conditioners have been running already and that’s driving up demand for natural gas,” Robison said. “Russia is no longer exporting anywhere near as much natural gas as it used to.”

PECO and PPL customers who have trouble paying their electric bills can apply for an assistance program with the utility company.

For Mayes, who’s lost numerous customers during the pandemic, the price hike is another cost she just has to swallow.

“What you going to do? There’s nothing you can really do about it,” she said.

Power suppliers say customers who rely on the companies for both supply and distribution will see costs rise.

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The best way to determine your potential increase is to log onto your online billing portal — PECO and PPL.

Madeleine Wright