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Residential Energy Rates in Alberta: What to do? July 2016 Edition

Residential Energy Rates in Alberta: What to do?

July 2016 Edition

By Cam Mitchell
Solution 105 Consulting Ltd.

“DOG DAYS OF SUMMER?”

Nothing too exciting going on in the market at this time, so we are not advising any changes. I’m not making any changes at my home, but below I’ve tried to highlight the best residential options available.

We are also planning to send out this update at the beginning of each month, in case anything changes. This can be especially relevant if floating on index.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Gas onto Direct Energy REGULATED Services. DERS. This is the default, no retailer rate.
  • Electricity:
    • Floating rates are too good to pass up
      • Best option is ENRG Power, as their floating rate is spot plus 0.55 cents/kWh. Looks like a monthly admin fee of $6.10 to $6.50/month.
      • Next best is Brighter Futures Energy Inc. at spot plus 0.7 cents/kWh. Monthly admin fee of 6.50/month.
    • Don’t want the risk or fluctuations
      • Bow Valley Power has a 5.09 cents/kWh option. Rates stable to Dec. 2018. $5.50/month admin. Free termination.

FOR GAS

For gas, we are still not seeing many decent residential offers.  Most offers are higher than $3.50/GJ, and the forward gas market is now about $2.50/GJ for the balance of 2016.  So for gas, we recommend staying on the Direct Energy REGULATED Services (DERS)… remember “Regulated Service”.  If you aren’t with these guys now, you will automatically go there if you terminate your current gas contract.  Make sure there are no termination fees!  There may also be a small enrollment fee to get on with DERS.

For July, the DERS rate is $1.631/GJ.

We have seen index offers from many retailers, but most add around $0.75/GJ or more for fees to the floating rate.  As DERS fees are closer to $0.06/GJ, we recommend residents stay on the default gas rate.

FOR ELECTRICITY

I am very keen to continue the floating market ride at this point.   Alberta’s spot market rates have averaged well below 4 cents/kWh and the forward market is suggesting rates under 5 cents/kWh for some time yet.  I’m going to stick with Bow Valley Power for now.   Looking at the floating rates available, ENRG Power offers spot plus 0.55 cents/kWh.  Compared to my floating with Bow Valley at 0.8 cents, they are likely cheaper by $1/month.  However, I’m not sure the small hassle to change is worth it at this point – especially if I decide to flop back over to a fixed rate.  Still really close call here… I may make the jump.

If you still are looking for a fixed rate, Bow Valley Power now has an offer at 5.09 cents/kWh.  That said, we think the floating rate is the way to go at this time.

July 2016 forward pricing suggests rates will come in around 3 cents/kWh.  June 2016 averaged about 2.5 cents/kWh.

Just to help put things into perspective, all that we are talking about here is the commodity rates and costs, not the delivery and other regulated charges.  An average house might use around 9000 kWh and 100 GJ over a year.

For Commercial Users

And for those of you who are not residential users, and maybe a bit bigger, give us a call.  We are seeing even better pricing for commercial users so give us a call and we can help.