Dear Editor:

The cartoon (May 5, 2024) portraying energy utilities as greedy monopolies taking advantage of captive customers was inaccurate and misleading. Customers do have a choice when it comes to purchasing electricity or natural gas supplies-they can choose a competitive supplier or utilize the “default” supply service utilities offer.

Either way, customers are paying more for energy than they did a few years ago, but that’s primarily due to external reasons. Simply put, competitive suppliers and utilities both buy energy in wholesale markets, and prices in these markets rose due to inflation and global events such as the Ukraine war.

Utilities don’t earn a profit on their supply sales to customers – they only recover their costs. Importantly, the process by which utilities purchase supplies in wholesale markets is overseen by the Public Utility Commission to ensure customers are getting the best deal possible.

Distribution charges of utilities are subject to PUC regulation to guarantee they’re “just and reasonable.” This includes a profit that is no higher than necessary so utilities can invest in their systems to maintain safe and reliable service to customers.

Terrance J. Fitzpatrick, president and CEO, Energy Association of Pa.

*This piece can be found in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: