Are you leaving money on the table?

Shopping for electricity supply can help you save.

Imagine pulling up a chair at your local sandwich shop. There are two burgers on the menu: Same ingredients, same size; identical burgers, in fact.

The only difference - the price.

Naturally, you'd choose the less expensive burger, right?

One could apply the same logic to electricity supply.

Why pay more for the electricity supply you use if you can get it cheaper elsewhere?

After all, electrons are electrons. Electricity, no matter who supplies it, still energizes your TV so you can watch your favorite shows.

Surprisingly, though, many electricity customers don't shop for electricity supply. About half of PPL Electric Utilities customers do not. Here are some of the reasons we hear from them:

'I'm too busy'

It's a sentiment many of us can appreciate. Life is crazy. Shopping for electricity supply may seem daunting and unfamiliar.

In reality, though, shopping can be quick and easy. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has established an excellent resource for interested customers: PAPowerSwitch.com.

There, with a few clicks, you scan dozens of supplier offers and sort by price, terms and other features. Want to see only plans with no cancellation fees? You can. View plans by term length? Easy enough.

Once you decide, signing up is simple, too. Your supplier notifies us. We take care of the rest. You continue to receive one bill from PPL Electric Utilities for all of your charges.

Loyalty

"I've been with PPL Electric Utilities a long time. I'm a loyal customer."

We appreciate that. We love our customers, too. They're great people.

But here's why you don't have to feel guilty about ditching mom's meatloaf for pizza with your friends: When you shop, you don't hurt PPL Electric Utilities. By law, the utility doesn't make any money on the electricity supply portion of your bill. Our business is delivering that power. Like FedEx, we don't make the product you buy. We deliver it.

So, in short, we'll still be your delivery company whether you shop or not.

Pay more?

"I heard customers who shopped this winter wound up paying more."

That was true for some customers, particularly those on variable-price plans. With such plans, the price of electricity can vary by month, or more frequently. Customers on these plans can save, but there's also the risk that they could pay more. When electricity use soared during last winter's bitter cold and prices rose, that's exactly what happened.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has since taken steps to strengthen consumer protections. We support those efforts, and we also encourage customers to understand the terms of their contract and how they may change when the contract expires.

Fortunately, plenty of fixed-price offers are available for customers who want greater peace of mind. Term lengths range up to 24 months. PAPowerSwitch.com lets you sort offers by plan type - fixed or variable - and enter your usage to see how much you'd save.

Still not sure? Visit www.pplelectric.com to hear from some of our employees about how they've shopped and saved. They shop. You can, too.

(MacBride is PPL Susquehanna regional affairs director.)