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Residential Energy Rates in Alberta: What to Do? August 2014 Edition

Quick Take:

GAS

The best options for gas and electricity are becoming clearer this month for residential users – even with the new Choose Free option from Enmax. For gas, I would not get into a fixed rate, as all the offers we’ve seen for residential are very poor. None are much better than $5.99/GJ, and we’ve had a lot of our clients get around $4. So for gas, we recommend staying on the Direct Energy Regulated Service (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.

ELECTRICITY

As for electricity, with all the ups and downs that we’ve seen over the last few months, and even years, we like the idea of getting into a fixed rate. The rates available right now aren’t too bad. The best rates can be found in the UTILITYnet group of Boutique retailers. To figure out which retailer can service your home, go to http://www.theelectricityshop.net/. One great thing about these fixed contracts is that they can be cancelled without penalty at any time. Below I’ve highlighted the best of the bunch.

  1. NRG Power has the lowest offerings and I see they serve Calgary, ATCO and Fortis territories, but not Edmonton. Their senior’s (65+) rate is 6.90 cents/kWh and for those under 65 years old the rate is 7.00 cents/kWh. For everyone outside those territories, Adagio Energy has the best senior’s (65+) rate of 6.95 cents per kWh, and Bow Valley Power has a 7.15 cents per kWh rate available to all other residential users.

We also looked at Enmax’s new Choose Free option. The deal with this is that you get 4 years of electricity at 8.49 cents per kWh and one year for 0 cents per kWh. As a strict average, that leads to a rate of about 6.80 cents per kWh. This is the best around. However, we see two things that hold us from moving ahead with this rate. First, you must also sign up for gas with Enmax, and their gas rates are not attractive enough for us to make the move. Second, you are locked in for five years whereas the other options described can be terminated with short notice and without fees.

Epcor’s Encor plan does not have the security deposits required, or keep you locked in for 5 years (as you can cancel without penalty), but the rate is 7.99 cents per kWh. So Encor is not competitive compared to other offers around.

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

For those of you, who are on an old EasyMax contract at 8.0 cents per kWh, a move to Bow Valley Power would save around $81 a year, plus another $14 a year on admin, so about $95 total savings. EasyMax’s bundle option where they give you $100 back every year isn’t so grand with their current $0.99/GJ transaction fee for gas. For anyone moving retailers, feel free to tell them mitchell@solution105.com sent you.

For those who are on Bow Valley Power’s 7.15 cents per kWh rate, like me, stand pat for now. Check back with me in two months, to get the latest.

COMMERCIAL USERS

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