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

We Recommend:

  • Natural Gas:
    • Direct Energy REGULATED DERS. This is the default, no retailer rate.
  • Electricity:

The best options for gas and electricity are becoming clearer this month for residential users – even with the new Choose Free option from Enmax.

Natural Gas

For gas, I would not get into a fixed rate, as all the offers we’ve seen for residential are very poor. None 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

Before reading on to see our recommendation for electricity rates, it’s important to know that we are referring to commodity rates and costs, so the cost of the actual electricity itself. Regulated fees and other delivery charges that you will see on your bill are not included in the commodity rates mentioned below. On average, a household might use around 9000 kWh and over 100 GJ over a year.

  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.

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. 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, stay put for now. Check back with me in two months, to get the latest.

Business Customers

If you’re buying or managing the utility accounts for a business, we have managed to get our clients better prices than those noted above – contact us for more information.