Exelon Corp.’s Pennsylvania gas and electric utility, PECO, has requested permission from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to begin phase one of a voluntary residential real-time pricing program (RRTP) that would allow up to 2,000 customers to view real-time energy prices.

Participating residential customers would have access to an interactive website where they would find information to help them decide how and when they use energy, including hourly prices of energy and their actual energy use. Participating customers’ meters would be upgraded with additional software to provide more automated meter readings.

“Real-time pricing helps puts customers in control by giving them the tools they need to understand how they use energy and to control their energy use during key times,” said PECO CEO Denis O’Brien.

The PUC is expected to rule on PECO’s filing in early summer. If approved, PECO then will begin soliciting customer volunteers to participate in the program.

PECO said the program is one way it is helping customers manage their energy costs as Pennsylvania prepares to transition to market-based pricing in 2011. Last year the PUC approved the final regulations and policy statement establishing the rules for default service for electric generation as well as a plan to mitigate and prepare Pennsylvania electricity customers for potential significant price increases that included the possibility of a $5 million consumer education campaign — a move applauded by PECO, the state’s largest utility.

PECO maintains a network with 550 power substations, 21,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines, 27 gas gate stations and 6,000 miles of underground gas mains. The company serves approximately 1.5 million electric customers in the city of Philadelphia as well as Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and York counties and 460,000 natural gas customers in the areas outside the city.

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