The increase in retail rates come as companies prepare for surging prices in the wholesale electricity markets where they buy their power. Forecasts of higher than normal temperatures and record power demand are coinciding with the shutdown of at least three coal-fired plants, leading to concerns that temporary shortages on the hottest summer days could send wholesale prices, which typically average less than $50 per megawatt hour, spiking to $3,000 per megawatt hour or higher. (A megawatt hour is 1,000 kilowatt hours.)
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It would be a good idea for you to learn about whether or not a company charges you to interact with its Customer Service Department in any fashion. A company might offer affordable energy rates on the surface, but if they charge you to pay online or over the phone with a credit card, or to make even the most basic of phone calls to Customer Service, then you're not really saving that much money.