Competition may not move mountains but it can spark a change in prices.

On Wednesday, FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. announced it is offering 10 percent off on the electric generation portion of the bills of Pennsylvania Power Co. customers who are getting a residential rate.

The program is limited to the first 4,000 customers who sign up by April 30 and lasts through May 2008. It is in response to utility giant Dominion entering Penn Power’s territory two weeks ago with a similar deal.

Unlike Dominion’s deal that offered a 10 percent generation savings to regular residential customers and small commercial customers, FirstEnergy Solutions’ program is only for regular residential customers.

FirstEnergy Solutions is owned by FirstEnergy Corp., which also owns Penn Power. Dominion was offering its deal through its Dominion Peoples Plus company.

To sweeten the pot, FirstEnergy Solutions is offering a lottery in which customers can enter a weekly drawing to win free electric generation for a year. The drawings will be held each Friday starting April 13 and running through May 4.

Deregulation hit Penn Power’s market on Jan. 1 as part of Pennsylvania’s plan to open markets gradually to competition.

If customers previously signed up with FirstEnergy Solutions, which offered 5 percent off residential rates for a Penn Power customer, they will automatically be rolled into the new program to get the full 10 percent generation reduction, said Mark Durbin, a FirstEnergy Corp. spokesman. About 500 customers would fall into that category, he added.

There is no entry fee for a Penn Power customer to sign up with FirstEnergy Solutions. Durbin said he believes this is the first offer of its kind under a FirstEnergy company.

“Every marketplace has a variable that may not make it viable in one place,’’ he said. “This is part of an evolving marketplace there.’’

Penn Power’s territory covers all of Mercer and Lawrence counties and sections of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Crawford counties.



On the net: www.fes.com



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