When to Lock In a Fixed Business Electricity Contract in PA

In discussing the best time to lock in fixed business electricity rate contracts, there is a wide misconception that fixed electricity rates go down during the fall and spring season of the year. While recent historical data may lead one to believe this may be the case, following this to an end in itself is a fallacy and can cost businesses money as they sit around and wait for prices to potentially fall.

Fixed electricity pricing is based on future forward contracts. With natural gas being a significant source of electricity generation in Pennsylvania, fixed rates are highly correlated with natural gas future contracts. This means that when you look to lock in a two year fixed electricity price, the forward natural gas prices for the next 24 months have an effect on the final fixed price for power. Every month included in the duration of the contract will have a set rate the moment the contract is signed. The final fixed price will be the weighted average of the estimated amount of electricity a business is expected to use for a given month times the rate. This means if a Pennsylvania business customer decides to lock in a fixed commercial electricity rate in the middle of summer the price will take into account the cooler months that come along with the fall and spring seasons.

Locking in a fixed rate will protect Pennsylvania business customers from the volatility associated with the energy market. The fixed rate will put a ceiling on the price if the market were to rise during the term of the contract. If the market were to drop you are not necessarily stuck with having to pay a higher rate. More and more electricity suppliers are offering the blend and extend option in Pennsylvania. This allows a business electricity customer on a fixed rate product to immediately lower their rate at any point during the term of the contract in return of extending out the contract. Exercising this option will maximize the savings for the initial term of the agreement while extending out protection against the risk of a potential rise in future energy prices.

Fixed rates are the most common rate structure for those looking to get off PPL, Met-Ed, or PECO’s high default rates. One appealing feature of fixed rates is the transparency in allowing a company to forecast their annual electricity expenditures. Those businesses still on the utility default rate will have to deal with large swings in costs when the electric bill comes due. Budget certainty is a great asset to have when dealing with a volatile market. With the blend and extend option in place, Pennsylvania business customers looking to sign a fixed rate may want to consider locking in a term for several years.


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