December energy bills are giving some sticker shock

CJ Leonard of Abington Township, Montgomery County says her PECO bill jumped from $110 to about $500.

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Friday, January 13, 2023
December energy bills are giving some sticker shock
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CJ Leonard of Abington Township, Montgomery County says her PECO bill jumped from $110 to about $500.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- New data out Thursday shows bills have gone up 16% over the last year nationwide, even higher in the Philadelphia area. And some consumers are complaining their bills have doubled.

On social media, we asked Action News viewers about their December electric bill and we received 460 comments just on Instagram about electricity and gas bills issued by a number of different companies.

One person said, "My electric bill actually made me want to tell them to just cut it off. I'll use a candle."

Another resident said, "I had to go lay down after paying my PECO."

"Basically seeing November go up from $200 to December being $400 was a huge impact for our family of six," said Jessica Quiroz of South Philadelphia.

CJ Leonard of Abington Township, Montgomery County says her PECO bill jumped from $110 to about $500.

"I just spent a lot of money for a highly efficient unit. I'm concerned that something else is going on here," she said.

Action News asked PECO to look into both consumers' bills and asked what's causing the increase.

"The electricity price to compare for PECO customers increased by about 15% from September. So the December rate that went into effect is about $8 to $10 more per month on average for the average customer," said Greg Smore of PECO.

Plus in December, as it got colder, more people were home and hosting for the holidays, causing demand to rise. And the cost of natural gas increased due to supply and demand, as well as geopolitical issues.

"Natural gas prices are also impacting the price of electricity because it's the primary fuel source for electricity generation in our region," Smore said.

In our metro area, household energy costs actually went down 3.3% over the last month -- the largest one-month decrease in our area since January 2019. But over the last year, costs went up 19.6%.

PECO says its supply rates are among the lowest in the state, but a reminder: you can shop around for other suppliers.

"They are not obligated to go with their local utility company, they should shop around for electricity supply just like they shop around for any product," said Dave Schrader of NRG.

"Utility companies cannot offer you really long-term fixed price plans. Companies like NRG, we can, so you know what your price is going to be for 12 months, even 24 months out," said Schrader.

But you do need to be careful: look for the lowest, fixed price when shopping around.

And again, we've asked PECO why some bills are doubling, we'll get back to you with the response.

RELATED: How PECO Works to Manage Energy Prices for Customers