Two decades of competitive electricity in Pennsylvania

PPL's Brunner Island three-unit coal-fired plant located on the west bank of the Susquehanna River.

Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

PPL's Brunner Island three-unit coal-fired plant located on the west bank of the Susquehanna River.


Twenty years ago, Pennsylvania enacted the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1996, shattering the long-held paradigm of monopolistic energy distribution.
The act allowed Pennsylvanians to shop for competitively priced electricity from the source, choosing how it is generated it and who supplies it, essentially creating a la carte energy delivery rather than a prix fixe rate from a singular supplier.
Two decades on, supporters regard the act as a success. Power costs in Pennsylvania are 9.3 percent below the national average. That’s a 25 percent decrease since 1996. Critics are concerned about protecting low-income consumers from the predatory marketing techniques that can accompany marketplace competition, but properly regulated, they feel this trend will be successful.
WITF’s Smart Talk spoke Wednesday with John Hanger, a former Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and one of the architects of the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act.  He discusses the benefits to both the industry and consumers in the Commonwealth. Christina Simeone, of the Kleinman Energy Center, also co-authored a retrospective study of the effects the act.
Listen to the full show:


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