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Schools saving by comparing electricity providers

The recent recession hit many parts of the country hard, but state and local governments have actually been some of the worst off. As states and towns look to keep services running, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that comparing electricity providers has proven an important option for many Pennsylvania school.

Pennsylvania ended the last caps on electricity rates at the start of 2011, sending prices higher, but also giving many in the state a strong incentive to search out lower electricity rates.

As a large consumer of electricity, Kiski Area School District northeast of Pittsburgh expects to save $84,000 over the course of five years, while Pittsburgh Public Schools have saved millions since switching electricity providers a decade and a half ago.

"In this no-dollar-left-behind environment, any cost savings are being used to reduce personnel and program cuts," Jay Himes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, told the Tribune-Review. "The new currency is positions saved."

As of the end of February, PAPowerSwitch.com reports that more than 1.6 million Pennsylvania customers have chosen to switch electricity providers, accounting for more than half the energy consumed in the state.