Nonprofit electric supplier available to commercial users

BY STACI WILSON

With rate caps set to expire at the end of the year, time is running out for Penelec users of electric to find an alternate power supplier.

Those powered by Claverack will not be affected by the electric rate deregulation that takes effect Jan. 1, 2011.

No residential electric suppliers have entered the soon-to-open Susquehanna County market yet but a few suppliers for commercial users are in the mix.

Progress Authority executive director Anthony Ventello told the county economic development board, at the Sept. 23 meeting that the agency was attempting to set up an informational meeting about deregulation for commercial users of electric.

According to Ventello, the Progress Authority has developed an energy purchasing option for businesses that will be affected by deregulation.

The Progress Authority has been working with the Employers’ Energy Alliance of Pennsylvania, a nonprofit wholesale electric provider – an arm of the Manufacture & Business Association.

The wholesaler purchases electricity directly from the grid on the day-ahead market and sells it to commercial consumers at cost with a $.0012 per kilowatt-hour service charge.

Ventello said, “We think it is a good alternative.” And pointed out the nonprofit services only commercial accounts and is not available to residential customers.

To participate in the Employers’ Energy Alliance program, businesses must also join the Manufacture & Business Association. Annual membership to the association carries a fee amount based on the number of employees.

Qualifying employers can include for-profit businesses (including agricultural enterprises); non-profit organizations (churches, social service or health care facilities); and public agencies (municipalities, school districts).

For information about the Employers’ Energy Alliance program, contact Chuck Jenkins at 1-800-815-2660 or visit www.eepa.com.

The Progress Authority receives no referral fee or commission for any companies that opt to join the program.

Feasibility study results delivered earlier that looked at the potential for local power generation using natural gas proved that scenario was not economically viable, said Ventello.

Penelec will remain the default electric provider if no alternative supplier is chosen.

The county has already signed on with Constellation Energy, Baltimore, Md., to supply electric for 13 county accounts at $.064243/kwh.

Susquehanna County contracts with the Progress Authority, Towanda, to handle day-to-day economic development activities.

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