Utility Choice web site exceeds 10 million hits

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 5, 2003 — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) announced that www.utilitychoice.org has reached 10 million hits, as the Utility Choice campaign continues to educate Pennsylvania consumers about how to shop for local telephone, natural gas and electric service.

“The Utility Choice Web site is just one of the many ways we are informing consumers about utility competition,” Chairman Thomas said. “We have found that consumers want to learn more and shop for better deals. The statewide consumer-education program is making a difference. People are hearing the radio spots, seeing the TV ads and asking questions directly to our outreach team.”

Officially launched in June 2002, the Utility Choice Web site has continued to experience lengthy user visits from across the Commonwealth. It focuses on three utility industries — electric, natural gas and local telephone — and features information on how to shop for each service, including detailed questions to ask potential providers and suppliers; an online calculator to determine possible savings; consumer protections; lists of providers by county; and glossaries of commonly used terms.

The site features PA TeleChoice, a first-in-the-nation Web-based shopping information guide consumers can access by visiting www.utilitychoice.org. PA TeleChoice allows consumers to type in their area codes and exchanges (the first three digits of their telephone number), and view and compare local telephone service providers, plans and prices in a convenient side-by-side list. PA TeleChoice consistently ranks as the top resource that consumers visit on the web site.

The program also has developed several easy-to-follow educational brochures for consumers as another effort to provide Pennsylvanians with the resources necessary to make informed decisions. All materials are available in English and Spanish, and can be easily accessed, downloaded from the site or by calling 1-888-PUC-FACT (1-888-782-3228).

The Council for Utility Choice is a non-profit corporation working in conjunction with the PUC. The Council is comprised of individuals from the following entities: the PUC; the Pennsylvania Rural Development Council; the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs; the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African-American Affairs; the Office of Consumer Advocate; small-business representatives; state utility associations; public school educators; and community-based organizations.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ensures safe, reliable and reasonably priced electric, natural gas, water, telephone and transportation service for Pennsylvania consumers, by regulating public utilities and by serving as responsible stewards of competition.

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