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Residential Energy Rates in Alberta: What to Do? March 2016 Edition

Residential Energy Rates in Alberta: What to Do? 

March 2016 Edition

By Cam Mitchell
Solution 105 Consulting Ltd.

thermostat

Though there have been many new offers in the marketplace, 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 RECOMMEND:

  • Gas onto Direct Energy REGULATED 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. 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
      • Bow Valley Power has a 5.19 cents/kWh for seniors (60+) and a 15% green option that works out to 5.489 cents/kWh for everyone else. Rates stable to Dec. 2017.  $5.50/month admin.  Free termination.
      • ATCO Energy has a one-year, 5.59 cent/kWh offer available. $7.00/month admin.  Free termination.  $25 signing bonus.

NATURAL GAS:

Natural GasFor 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 well below $2/GJ for the balance of 2017.  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 index offers from many retailers, but most add around $0.75/GJ or more.  As DERS is closer to $0.10/GJ, we recommend residents stay on the default gas rate.

ELECTRICITY:

ElectricityI am very keen to continue the floating market ride 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.  Still really close call here… I may make the jump.

If you still are looking for a fixed rate, Bow Valley Power has two decent offers – their 15% green rate works out to 5.489 cents/kWh, and their seniors’ rate is just 5.19 cents/kWh.  That said, we think the floating rate is the way to go at this time.

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.

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.