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Residential Energy Rates in Alberta: What to Do? – January 2015 Edition

Quick Take:

  • Gas onto Direct Energy REGULATED DERS. This is the default, no retailer rate.

Electricity:

  • Time to move to Bow Valley Power! Their new rate of 6.49 cents/kWh for seniors (60+) and 6.65 cents/kWh for everyone else at http://www.bowvalleypower.net/
  • Brighter Futures Energy Inc. is an option for users of more than 667 kWh/month that are under 60 years old and in Calgary or Fortis wires territory. As they have a 6.50 cents/kWh rate option at https://www.brighterfutureenergy.com/

For gas, we are still not seeing any decent residential offers. Most offers are higher than $5.49/GJ, and we’ve recently seen the forward gas market dip below $3/GJ for the first time in years. 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.

The UTILITYnet group of Boutique retailers recently dropped many of their rates. To figure out which of them 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.

Bow Valley Power serves all of Alberta. Their senior’s (60+) rate is 6.49 cents/kWh. And 6.65 cents/kWh for those under 60. Bow Valley’s under 60 rate is marginally higher than Brighter Futures Energy Inc., but it’s the best option for many.

Brighter Futures Energy Inc. has the lowest non-seniors rate option, but I see they serve just Calgary and Fortis territories. That said, even if they did serve Edmonton, they would not be my choice. The reason: their admin fee is $1 more per month. To make that up, I would only have to have to use more than 667 kWh/month – and I often do – but, the savings are not quite there to make me switch from my incumbent. As I use around 800 kWh/month, the 0.15 cents/kWh savings amounts to $1.20 /month. After removing $1 for the admin difference, the 20 cents/month savings to swap retailers is not worth my time.

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 $120 a year, plus another $14 a year on admin… so about $124. 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, just go to their website, sign in, and make the rate change to 6.65 cents per kWh. You should see savings of around $45 per year. Check back with me in two months, to get the latest.

And for those of you who are not residential users, and maybe a bit bigger, give us a call. We have seen fixed rate electricity pricing for larger users in the low 5 cent per kWh range, which we think is excellent. Also, with gas rates now in the high $2/GJ to low $3/GJ range, we have recommended some clients move towards fixed rate gas options.