Summer is coming, and with that, higher electricity prices for some of us as fans and air conditioners begin to hum. You may have received pieces of mail from new companies on choosing an electricity supplier. I certainly have. It may be a prudent time of year to look into your options on electricity choice.

Utility rates are governed by the Public Utility Commission. Over the last few years, established rate caps expired, allowing utility companies to petition the PUC to raise their rates based on their costs. Alternate suppliers were empowered to enter the market and give consumers more choices. The PUC has created PA Power Switch (http://www.papowerswitch.com/) as a guide for consumers to use in making informed choices.

There are three parts to your electric service: generation, transmission and distribution. Generation is the production of electricity and the companies who produce it are called suppliers. Transmission is the movement of that electricity from where it is produced to a local distribution system. Distribution is the delivery of electricity to your home or business.

In most of my district in Pittsburgh city limits, Duquesne Light serves as your electric company. Duquesne will continue to deliver your service, provide maintenance, and handle your billing, but you are now able to choose the electric supplier who generates the electricity that you use. Once you enter your zip code, you can see all the available suppliers, their price to compare, and contractual terms. You are welcome to stay with Duquesne Light as supplier or you may elect to switch. A quick search for zip code 15201, home of my Lawrenceville district office, pulled up seven different options for residential properties.

I urge you to visit PA Power Switch online or to call the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 and research carefully. If I can be of any assistance in this or any other matter, please contact my district office at 412-621-3006.