This year PPL Electric raised its rates a whopping 30 percent to residential customers, sending many people scrambling to competitive suppliers.

PPL says its rate hike won't be as drastic for 2011.

A news release states the generation price PPL passes on to customers who don't choose an electricity supplier will actually drop in early 2011.

This doesn't necessarily mean lower electric bills for customers, since PPL's distribution charge will probably be raised. The distribution charge is a fee that is tacked on to electric bills regardless of your supplier.

In 2010, PPL charged 10.45 cents per kilowatt-hour, which was the highest rate in the state charged by utilities under the jurisdiction of the Pa. Public Utility Commission. In comparison, BlueStar Energy Solutions charged 9.13 cents per kilowatt hour and Con Edison Solutions charged 8.98 cents per kilowatt hour.

The price PPL Electric charges for the first half of the year from Jan. 1 through May 31 will be approximately 9.43 cents per kilowatt-hour. The exact rate won't be determined until late December.

The price to compare will change again June 1, 2011 and be adjusted every three months after that to reflect new quarterly purchases for wholesale power.

PPL said it encourages that customers shop for prices, noting that the price to compare is the rate for generation and transmission services.

It does not include distribution charges, which will continue from PPL Electric Utilities even if a customer switches.

This past year, the first for deregulation, over 34 percent of PPL customers switched to other suppliers.

Residents of Lehighton and Weatherly don't have such purchasing options. In these boroughs, the towns have their own electric distribution systems which aren't governed by the PUC. They purchase electricity at wholesale rates and resell it to borough residents.