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You can lower your heating bill, but you need to read the fine print first | FOX43 Finds Out

You can shop for energy suppliers in Pennsylvania. FOX43 Finds Out how some will save you money while others might give you a headache.

YORK, Pa. — Your heating bill could be anywhere from 6 to 50 percent more than what you paid last January.

Energy suppliers know that, and they may offer you an incentive to switch to their service. 

Some will save you money and others will give you a headache. 

FOX43 Finds Out what you should look for before shopping for a new energy supplier this winter. 

Colder weather outside we're means cranking up the heat inside.

Sure, we know that means our energy bills are going to go up, but we're also trying to save a buck right?

That's what Joanna Gurkins of York thought she was doing.

"I was looking through my mail and I saw this piece of mail that said I could get $100 gift card if I sign up with this company," she says.

The company was Smart Energy, according to Gurkins. 

That's an energy supplier.

In Pennsylvania, you can shop around those suppliers to save some money on your heating bill, but that didn't save Gurkins money at all.

"So I was like, 'OK, cool, I get $100 and I save money on my electric bill,'" she says. "And they were like, 'Yeah!'

"So I was like 'Ok, let's do it.'"

So she did. 

And then, this month, she says, she got a bill that was double what it usually was.

"And I was like, 'Whoa,'" Gurkins says.

A quick look at PAPowerSwitch.com shows how this could happen.

Gurkins' power company is MetEd. The price to compare is 7 cents per Kilowatts per hour. 

The company she signed up for charges 12 cents for every kilowatt per hour, which is almost double what she was paying before.

"I don't know anything about that," Gurkins says. "I don't know about kilowatts or anything. I just assumed that this dude wouldn't lie to me on the phone."

This doesn't necessarily mean the company lied. 

Depending on where you live, finding different energy suppliers might save you money. 

But you have to check for yourself.

You can do that on PAPowerSwitch.com or PAGasSwitch.com. Those are websites run by the Pennsylvania public utility commission. 

You can put in a couple of different options and determine if switching your energy supplier will help or hurt your wallet.

After she got her big bill, Gurkins called to cancel with Smart Energy and she didn't get her $100 bonus for signing up because she left before the end of the contract.

"I actually ended up crying," she says. "I was like 'You're the worst people ever.'"

Now Gurkins wants anyone else who is considering making a switch to save money to do their own research.

"I just wanted to make sure that other people knew to pay attention," she says.

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission says whenever you shop around and pick a new energy supplier, they are supposed to give you clear rate information and disclosures and if you feel like you were misled, you can report that to the p-u-c.

Keep in mind though according to the PUC, offering incentives is legal. 

So it's up to you to read the fine print.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out. Send her a message on Facebook or send an email to FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.   

Download the FOX43 app here.   

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