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Residential Energy Rates in Alberta: What to do? December 2015 Edition

By Cam Mitchell
Solution 105 Consulting Ltd.

No changes for me this month.  I’ve tried to highlight the best options for residents below.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Gas onto Direct Energy REGULATED DERS.  This is the default, no retailer rate.
  • Electricity:
    • Floating rates are still very inexpensive.
      • Best option is ENRG Power, as their floating rate is spot plus 0.55 cents/kWh. Admin $6.10/month.
      • Next best is Bow Valley Power at spot plus 0.8 cents/kWh. Admin $5.50/month.
    • Don’t want the risk or fluctuations
      • Northern Lights Energy & Power have a 5.50 cent/kWh offer to the end of 2017, but early exit fees apply to early termination. $6.00/month admin.
      • Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. have one- and two-year plans at 5.89 cents/kWh or three-year plans at 5.99 cents/kWh. Admin is $9/month.
      • Brighter Futures Energy Inc. have a 5.90 cents/kWh seniors (60+) rate option and a 5.99 cents/kWh for everyone else. Rates stable to Dec. 2017.  $6.50/month admin.
      • Bow Valley Power have a 5.99 cents/kWh for seniors (60+) and 6.09 cents/kWh for everyone else. Rates stable to Dec. 2017.  $5.50/month admin.
      • Spot Power is 5.99 cents/kWh for seniors (60+) and 6.29 cents/kWh for everyone else at. Rates stable to Dec. 2017.  $5.50/month admin.
      • We have seen “exclusive offers” from Enmax Power for a three-year term at 5.99 cents/kWh also. Admin is $7.10/month.

NATURAL GAS:

For gas, we are still not seeing many decent residential offers.  Most offers are higher than $4.99/GJ, and we’ve the forward gas market is still hovering below $3/GJ.  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.

We have seen Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. offers with pricing that is quite good, and can be terminated without a cancellation fee.  Their one and two-year terms are $3.89/GJ which is much better than most rates available.  I am still going to stay with DERS for now.

We have also seen Bow Valley Power, Spot Power, ENRG Power, and others within the UtilitiNet group offer a floating gas rate at index plus $0.90/GJ.  We would still stick with DERS, as DERS default rate essentially has fees of $0.087/GJ to cover margin and energy related charges.

ELECTRICITY:

I am keen to ride the floating market at this point, as Alberta spot rates have averaged 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.  Really close call here… I may make the jump.

If I were to stay with fixed though, I might go with Direct Energy Marketing Ltd..  They would likely save me about $2/month with their 5.89 cents/kWh rate compared to Bow Valley’s 6.09 cents/kWh rate.  Northern Lights Energy & Power has a very good option too at 5.5 cents/kWh.  But the rate comes with the possibility of an early termination penalty if cancelled before Dec. 2017.  That said, the 5.5 cent rate should save around $3/month compared to the 5.89 rate offered by Direct Energy Marketing Ltd.

The Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. exclusive electricity rate offered is 5.89 cents/kWh and, if combined with gas, the admin fee is just $4.50/month ($9/month for both meters).  If not combined with gas though the fee is $9/month.

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 anyone moving retailers, feel free to tell them mitchell@solution105.com sent you.

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.