By Cameron Mitchell
Solution 105 Consulting Ltd.
“BACK TO CLASS”
The kids are heading back after the best summer ever… for electricity generators! Pool prices from June to August averaged the highest since deregulation started in Alberta in 2001, with rates above 11 cents per kWh. August electricity rates came in at about 9 cents per kWh for the month. September and October forward rates suggest those months’ will be coming in at around 8.5 cents per kWh and 9.5 cents per kWh respectively. The remaining calendar 2021 is expected to come in around the 9 cents per kWh range. As forward rates are looking high, we would highly recommend locking in a fixed electricity rate for your homes.
Floating natural gas rates are expected to come in around $3.00/GJ for September and $3.75/GJ for October. Short term rates have moved up recently and we expect to see some months above $4/GJ this winter. With that in mind, it might be time to consider a fixed gas rate.
- Gas Only: get onto Direct Energy REGULATED Services. DERS. This is the default, no retailer rate.
- Electricity Only:
- Here are the best fixed rate options:
- Encor by EPCOR has recently raised their rate to 6.69 cents/kWh option. Rates stable for up to 5 years. $7.00/month admin. Free termination.
- EasyMax by Enmax has a 6.69 cents/kWh option. Rates stable for 3 years. $7.10/month admin. Free termination.
- Best floating rate option:
- Best option is Acorn Energy as their floating rate is spot plus 0.22 cents/kWh. Monthly admin fee now $6.24/month.
- Bundled Gas and Electricity: Direct Energy Retail: Admin of $9 per meter per month with gas and electricity. 7.39 cents per kWh; $3.99/GJ. 2 months of free gas Nov and Dec 2021. $50 back per year on five-year plan and a free Google Nest hub. Free termination.
- Here are the best fixed rate options:
AT MY HOUSE
I’m on the ATCO “Three for All” offer. This expired offer has me paying 3 cents per kWh for electricity and $3/GJ for gas from January 2019 until December 2021. Since I use about 9,000 kWh/yr, the 3.7 cent per kWh savings compared to other fixed rate offers, should lead to a savings of about $333 per year. On the gas side, I use about 100 GJ per year, and the fixed rate of $3/GJ is about the same as what I might have to pay if I stuck with DERS… so close to $0 difference. Therefore, it would appear the Three for All offer would save me about $333 per year, and lock in my rates. If something way better were to come along, I could still terminate by paying $50.
For gas, we are not seeing any super exciting residential fixed rate offers. The retailer offers we have seen are no better than $3.79/GJ. Short term pricing is now around $3.00/GJ, and longer-term pricing is below $3.00/GJ for 2023 to 2026. So for gas, we recommend going with Direct Energy REGULATED Services (DERS)… remember “Regulated Service”. If you are not 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.
For August, the DERS rate is $3.454/GJ. Approximately $0.05/GJ of this figure is to reimburse for previous overcharges. Looking at the longer view, we still recommend DERS. Index offers from most retailers add around $0.30/GJ or more for fees to the floating rate. As DERS fees are closer to $0.08/GJ, we recommend residents stay on the default gas rate.
As noted previously, I am on a fixed rate product. I am a bit risk averse, and don’t really want big swings on my bills if I can avoid it. Since the forward market is suggesting rates that are higher than the current retail offers available, we would highly recommend moving to a fixed rate offer if you are not already there.
Forward pricing currently suggests index residential rates will come in around 8.5 cents per kWh in September and 9.5 cents per kWh for October. August averaged about 9 cents/kWh. At this point, 2021 forward market rates suggest the remainder of the year could average around 9 cents per kWh.
If I were to pick an electricity only option today, the 6.69 cents per kWh five year term with Encor by EPCOR is the one I’d go with.
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 9,000 kWh and 100 GJ over a year.
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 get in touch and we can help.