by Sue Ann Rybak

Chestnut Hill is the highest energy-consuming neighborhood in Philadelphia, according to a report released earlier this month by Alphabuyer, a PUC-licensed energy broker and consumer advocacy company.

The report, based on PECO’s R Class residential customers’ usage over a two-year time period, revealed that Chestnut Hill residents used an average of 6,087 kilowatt-hours annually. Society Hill was second at 5,178 kwh, and Northeast Philadelphia used 5,014 kwh.

“If consumers are aware of their energy consumption habits, they will be more likely to implement changes to be more energy efficient, which of course translates into big dollar savings and has environmental benefits,” said Alphabuyer co-founder John Raisch. “Alphabuyer has a lot of valuable data, so we decided to take that information one step further and shine a spotlight on top energy consuming households as a way to hopefully encourage people in those areas that now is the time to make easy changes that result in big savings and benefits.”

Alphabuyer is a Paoli-based group purchasing company that negotiates with electricity suppliers to get the best “group rate” for its customers.

Raisch said that by pooling their buying power, customers can get better rates and terms than they could obtain as individuals.

“Our goal is to be a consumer advisor,” John Raisch said. “We want to help people save money, understand deregulated energy and help them to choose a pre-screened trusted supplier.”

According to Raisch, only 30 percent of residential customers in the PECO region have switched providers since rate caps expired on January 1, 2011.

Raisch said he felt that skepticism in general was to blame. He added that many people don’t believe the savings will be that significant and that people are familiar with PECO.

“It’s the one bill people having been paying the longest,” Raisch said. “But, Alphabuyer can help them pay dramatically less.”

Raisch said in October PECO increased its “price to compare” electricity rate by 22 percent, the single-largest rate increase since PECO rate caps expired.

Chestnut Hill resident Henry Kao, 33, recently used Alphabuyer to find a electricity supplier. He said he stumbled across Alphabuyer’s website while researching different suppliers.

“Alphabuyer spelled out all the terms,” Kao said. “There was no cancellation fee.”

Alphabuyer negotiates with companies to waive or lower cancellation fees. The deal runs for a limited amount of time – similar to Groupon. The service is free, and Alphabuyer switches customers to their new supplier.

“Alphabuyer has your back,” Raisch said.

Prior to the expiration of your new offer, Alphabuyer will contact you to help you find out if there is a better deal out there.

The first year, Kao switched he noticed a savings of $120 a year. He encouraged consumers to go to Alphabuyer’s website. He added that it was a hassle-free way to choose an energy supplier.

“It’s a good tool,” Kao said.

For more information about Alphabuyer, go to

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