Archive for Deregulated States

Compare National Grid MA Rates to Offset Default Price Increase

On November 1, 2018 the basic service rate offered by National Grid to Massachusetts residential customers increased by a baffling 26.2%. Basic service is a default rate that National Grid charges to those customers for electricity generation supply who have not elected to purchase their power from a competitive electricity supplier. Residential customers can save money against the higher default rate by comparing competitive rates offered by suppliers who are licensed by the state of Massachusetts. Those customers who are already on a competitive rate plan will not be effected by the November 1 rate increase.

Numerous competitive rate plans are available for National Grid customers to choose between. In response to the 26.2% price increase competitive Massachusetts suppliers are pushing back and stepping up their marketing efforts in order to gain new customers. Energy price comparison sites such as ElectricRate.com are posting competitive rate offers as much as 12.6% less than the basic service rate offered by National Grid. Other rate green energy options are available that provide small savings.

As of May 2018, the Massachusetts state government reported that roughly 42.8% of the 1,035,462 residential customers that National Grid delivers power to had elected to purchase their electricity from a competitive supplier. The remaining 592,000 customers have the ability to substantially lower their National Grid electric bill by comparing and selecting a lower rate plan. The new basic service rate of $0.13718, up from $0.1087 in October, is the highest the default rate has been in over three years. Massachusetts electricity suppliers are expecting a large new batch of first time shoppers in response to the high rate, which will stay in effect until the end of April of next year.

Competitive rates offering savings versus the basic service rate are shown below. All competitive rates are provided by suppliers who have been licensed by the state of Massachusetts.


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How Do I Stop the JCPL Rate Increase

New Jersey electricity customers who receive service from Jersey Central Power & Light (JCPL), and who are on the utility’s default generation plan, will experience a sharp rate increase beginning on the first of October 2018. The default rate, known as the basic generation service charge, changes twice annually and is derived by a series of auctions that take place as long as three years before the rate actually takes effect. The auctions are spaced out over a three year period as a way to spread out the price volatility that often occurs in wholesale energy markets; in this way default paying customers are not stuck paying high prices due to an auction occurring during a time when wholesale prices were high. However, if current energy prices are lower during the time the default rate is in effect, customers are then presented an opportunity to save money by switching to a lower competitive New Jersey electricity supplier.

Residential JCPL customers on the basic generation service rate will see at most a 13.93% rate increase take effect on October 1, 2018 compared to what they had been paying since the beginning of June. The new higher rate will have the biggest impact on lower usage customers. Since June 1, 2018 JCPL customers on the default rate have paid $0.083846 per KWh for the first 600 KWh they consume in a given monthly service period. This rate then increased to $0.093071 for all kilowatt hours above 600. On October 1 these residential customers will pay a flat rate of $0.095527 for all KWh consumed. The JCPL rate increase can be stopped by simply shopping the New Jersey competitive electricity market for a lower fixed price.

As of July 2018, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities released electric switch data showing that 16.8% of JCPL’s 999,604 residential customers were purchasing power from a competitive supplier. This data indicates that there are roughly 831,348 residential customers who are on the basic generation service rate, and who can avoid the October 1 price increase and lower their JCPL electric bill by shopping for a lower rate. Below are fixed JCPL electric rates offered by suppliers who have been licensed by the New Jersey BPU.


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Eversource Energy Changes Default Pricing for All Connecticut Customers in July 2018

Eversource Energy will change their default pricing for residential and commercial customers on July 1, 2018. The current prices have been in effect since January 1 of this year while the new prices will stay in effect through the end of the year. Since Connecticut has gone to an energy choice state Eversource Energy, formerly Connecticut Light & Power, has been updating their default prices twice a year on January 1 and July 1, so the change shouldn’t come as a big surprise to most consumers.

Residential customers will see a small drop in their default price of $0.09078 to $0.08530 while small and medium sized commercial customers will see a modest increase from $0.09304 to $0.09422. Customers who are currently purchasing their power from a competitive electricity supplier will not be affected by the change. The Eversource Energy default rate in Connecticut encompasses the charges that would be imposed by a competitive supplier’s electricity plan. The default price is merely the rate customers pay for electricity service who do not shop for prices available in the competitive energy marketplace.

Since the Connecticut residential electricity market became competitive in 2006 the number of participating customers have fluctuated in correlation with the Eversource Energy default price. When competitive electricity suppliers can offer rates that are below the default price more customers flock towards the electricity shopping experience. However, when the default rate and competitive rates are near the same consumers are less likely to shop. Over the years competitive electricity suppliers have attempted to smooth out the shopping droughts by offering customers with more incentives to shop other than low electricity rates. In addition to savings versus the default price, many competitive suppliers now offer renewable electricity rates and long term contracts that can offer customers price stability.

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Commercial Electricity Rates in Houston Could See High Price Pressure this Summer

Hot Texas SummerTexas electricity suppliers have been issuing numerous warning to their commercial customers concerning likely higher prices this summer in the wholesale electricity market. These prices will trickle down to the retail sector hitting the electric bills of many business customers who are not on a secure fixed electricity rate contract. The Houston grid zone is already experiencing upward pressure on electricity prices as temperatures have been higher than normal in May. Houston zonal pricing for the 12 month strip, which determines the 12 month fixed rate, jumped up 7% in May.

The cause for concern over Texas electricity prices for the summer of 2018 is a result of recent coal fired electricity generation plants being closed over the last year. In an effort to move to a more green energy future, the closure of coal generation plants is likely going to put Texas is a electricity supply shortage that the state has not experienced in decades. If the shortage in electricity gets to close to a break even point to the demand, wholesale electricity prices will skyrocket as retail electricity suppliers bid of prices to meet the demand of their individual customers, many of whom are on variable rate products and won’t be protected by aggressive market increases.

Small and medium commercial electricity customers often let their fixed rate contracts expire without renewing for another fixed contract. When this occurs, electricity providers in Texas will likely place the customer on a monthly variable rate that is tied directly to the wholesale market with a retail adder for the provider. These variable products are the most accessible to the likely price spikes expected this summer in Houston and other parts of Texas. Texas electricity prices have been fairly stable over the last seven years, so keeping up with the electricity contract hasn’t been an issue for many small business owners. The stability in the market has created a moral hazard issue that could hit businesses hard this summer for commercial electricity consumers who are paying a variable rate with their provider. The variable rates have been quite low over the past few years that many customers have come to believe that low variable prices are normal; they are not and can jump up quickly and aggressively.

It is crucially important for all commercial electricity customers in the Houston area to lock in a low fixed electricity rate contract. Luckily in Texas, as opposed to other states who have electricity choice markets, the time it takes to switch providers and rate structures can be as early as the next business day. In some states in can take up to two months, which would leave customers on a variable rate in a bad situation if wholesale prices spiked.

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Compare Boston Electricity Prices

Boston HarbourElectricity choice in the Boston area has swelled in popularity in recent years as more consumers have become aware of the savings that competitive suppliers are offering. The deregulation of power markets in Massachusetts has resulted in the opportunity for Boston citizens to reduce their electricity bills by comparing offers presented by multiple energy companies. While multiple offers is a good thing for the overall consumer base, taking the time to properly compare Boston electricity prices can be overwhelming for some people who are still learning about the concepts behind electricity choice.

Boston homes and buildings receive their power from Eversource Energy. Eversource Energy services as the city’s local utility company. Though consumers are able to compare electricity prices for their power supply, they do not have the ability to shop for which company delivers them the power through the grid. Prior to rebranding itself as Eversource Energy, the company operated under the name NSTAR in the Boston region. Many customers still call the utility company by the name NSTAR. Boston residents who have lived in the city prior to 1999 might remember their local power company being called the Boston Edison Company. Before Massachusetts deregulated the power market, the Boston Edison Company provided regulated power supply to the city of Boston.

Eversource Energy provides a default electricity supply rate for customers who have not taken the opportunity to compare Boston electricity prices from multiple companies. The difference between the default rate and competitive prices has at times been significant. Customers who have not switched and compared energy suppliers can lower their Eversource electricity bills by over ten percent. At the end of 2017 roughly 38% of residential customers in the Boston area had selected a competitive supplier.


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Energy Choice offers JCP&L Commercial Customers a High Rate of Savings

Savings CashJCP&L commercial customers shopping for competitive electric rates in New Jersey can expect to save 15-25% off of their electric bills. According to New Jersey electric switching Stats, over 70% of the commercial load has already been switched over to a competitive supplier. Natural gas prices are near a 10-year low, which is currently putting downward pressure on electricity wholesale rates. By locking in a long term rate a business will be protected against any spikes in the energy market for over the next few years. With energy prices near record lows the number of JCP&L commercial customers participating in energy choice will continue to increase.

Participating in energy choice will have no negative impact on the quality of power a business receives from the local distribution company (JCP&L). JCP&L will still be in charge of maintaining the lines and wires that deliver the electricity from the delivery point to your place of business. They will continue to charge the distribution cost, which is a regulated charge. Whether you decide to keep JCP&L for your basic generation service or switch to a competitive supplier, the distribution charges will remain the same.

Shopping for competitive electric rates has never been easier. JCP&L provides the official price to compare rate on the electric bill. This is the rate a business will use while comparing prices with a competitive supplier. The price to compare rate will include all components of the supply charge including New Jersey’s usage and sales tax (SUT). When comparing rates it is important to review the contract carefully to make sure your business is comparing apples-to-apples to JCP&L’S price to compare rate. A number of services are becoming available that can help find the lowest price, based on term and rate classification. ElectricRate.com offers a platform that provides a side-by-side comparison to JCP&L’s basic generation rate and a supplier’s competitive offering. If you want a hassle free experience and unbiased advice they are worth checking out.

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BGE Gas Choice Provides Alternative to Fluctuating Default Prices

For over a decade energy choice in Maryland has allowed consumers to shop for competitive priced energy contracts for their homes and businesses. While electricity choice participation and familiarity has increased drastically over the last few years, gas choice awareness in Maryland has lagged behind. Due to recent rising default prices in the state’s largest gas utility, BGE, gas choice awareness is poised to finally grow.

BGE, who is both Maryland’s largest electric and gas utility, delivers gas to over 626,000 residential customers and another 43,500 commercial and industrial. As of September 2017, data obtained from the Maryland Public Service Commission website reveals that only 136,000 BGE gas residential customers were active gas choice customers purchasing gas supply from an alternative supplier. Customers who have not elected to shop for competitive gas rates have the ability and option to do so at any time, unlike in other states where there is a limited shopping period each year.

The more than 78% of BGE gas customers who have not switched gas suppliers are paying the BGE gas price to compare. Price to compare prices are a variable rate that change each month and can be volatile leaving customers unable to properly manage their monthly energy expenses. For example, BGE reported that their gas price to compare in February of 2018 was $0.5068 per therm, a 22.44% increase in the February 2017 price to compare. In 2017 BGE gas customers saw a low of $0.3877 in March compared to a high of $0.5503 in May on the price to compare rate. The 42% price difference occurred in just a two month period.

Gas choice provides customers with the ability to lock in their price with a fixed gas rate contract. Competitive gas suppliers offering service to BGE customers will state the rate in therms and length of the fixed rate in their contract. While the rate offered can easily be compared to the BGE gas price to compare, it is important to remember that the gas price to compare changes each month. This is immensely different than the BGE electric price to compare which sometimes is fixed for up to eight months allowing customers to easily compare the savings that the competitive rate will yield. Gas choice is as much, if not more, about providing price security as it is about instant savings.

When choosing a competitive gas plan, BGE customers should confirm that the rate is in fact a fixed gas price. Otherwise, if it is not fixed, the customer is just swiping out one variable rate for another. Below are a number of fixed gas rate offers from gas suppliers who have been licensed to sell gas supply to BGE customers through the Maryland Public Service Commission.


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Find Meted Electricity Savings and Avoid 2018 Price Hike

On December 1, 2017 Met-Ed enacted a price hike on their residential electricity customers who are on the utilities default supply service price. The former default price of $0.05995 went up to $0.06816 representing a 13.7% increase that will effect an estimated 335,769 customers who receive their power supply from Met-Ed. Fortunately for these customers there is a silver lining; current competitive Met-Ed prices are well below the new default price presenting a chance for consumers to lower and manage their electric bills.

Even though good savings are available for Met-Ed residential customers only 33% of customers in the region have selected a competitive electricity supplier in order to better manage their energy expenses. The remaining 67% remain on the utility default price. Some energy experts have hypothesized that the reason for the slow switch rate is the confusion among customers concerning what information to provide on the competitive electricity supplier enrollment form. In order to switch electricity suppliers Met-Ed requires that the customer provide their “Customer Number”, a 20 digit number found in the middle of a lot of small print on the Met-Ed bill. Numerous electricity suppliers have reported a high percentage of enrollments being rejected due to customers inputing their “Account Number” which is more easily found at the top of the electric bill.

Customers who input their “Account Number” will unfortunately have their enrollment rejected, a lesson that hundreds of customers learn each month. Requiring the Met-Ed “Customer Number” instead of the “Account Number” has added an extra layer of confusion to an already new and somewhat confusing market. However, more customers are starting to become familiar with the electricity shopping experience in Pennsylvania

Below is a sample Met-Ed electric bill with the “Customer Number” highlighted in yellow. When shopping for low Met-Ed electricity prices be sure to use the correct utility number.

Met Ed Electric Bill

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Penelec Rate Increase in 2018 set to Spur Electricity Shopping

First Energy Corps’ electric utility Penelec announced a large price increase in late 2018 for their customers who are the price to compare residential rate structure. The price increase went into effect on December 1, 2017 and will first become apparent to thousands of customers in January 2018 as the Penelec electric bill with the new higher price arrives in the mail. According to Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission data, the Penelec rate increase will effect close to 358,122 residential customers who are currently on the Penelec price to compare rate structure; a default price given to consumers who have not selected one of the competitive electricity suppliers available through Pennsylvania electricity choice laws.

Default rate payers will see their Penelec electric bills increase by a whopping 25.2% in January from the rate increase that occurred at the end of 2017. The price to compare, which was previously set at $0.05383 per KWh, jumped up to $0.06742 on December 1, 2017 to the surprise of most customers. Most customers experiencing the 25.2% price increase are still uninformed that they are able to shop for lower Penelec electricity prices. Current competitive electricity rates in the region are well below the Penelec price to compare rate, allowing customers the opportunity to pay less for electricity.

Penelec is responsible for delivering power to 500,870 residential customers in Pennsylvania. Only 28.5% of their residential customer pool has elected to shop the market and choose a competitive Pennsylvania electricity supplier, leaving over 358,000 customers who are not participating in electricity choice. Choosing a competitive electric supplier in this market environment is simply about switching out a high default rate for a lower competitive price resulting in electric bill savings. Many first time shoppers are surprised to learn that the quality of power is not effected by switching suppliers since all of the power comes through the same Penelec lines and wires.

The internet and electricity comparison sites have made switching electricity suppliers one of the easiest and quickest ways to save money. In under five minutes a Penelec customer can find a lower electricity price, agree to the Terms and Conditions, and start paying less for their electricity. Below are a variety of options to compare against the Penelec price to compare rate. All electricity suppliers have been vetted and our licensed by the state of Pennsylvania.


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National Grid Massachusetts Rate Increase 2017 Update

National Grid electric bills in Massachusetts are going to be substantially higher this winter for customers who have not selected a competitive supplier. According to the most recent data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, the higher National Grid electric bills will effect just over 600,000 residential customers. The cause of the the change is a result by an adjustment in the generation supply price that National Grid charges to their customers who have not selected a competitive Massachusetts electricity supplier.

Formerly divided into two separate companies – Massachusetts Electric Company and the Nantucket Electric Company – National Grid now delivers power to just under 1 million residential customers in Massachusetts. All of their customers have the ability and right to shop for competitive electricity rates. Those that do not pay a default rate charged by National Grid. This default rate changes three or four times a year and fluctuates around the wholesale energy markets.

On November 1, 2017 the National Grid default rate in Massachusetts will rise 34.4%, and will stay in effect through April of next year. The current price of $0.09432 will jump to $0.12673. Roughly 39% of customers in the National Grid service area have selected a competitive electricity supplier, and as a result will not be effected by the November rate increase. The remaining 61% of customers can avoid the rate increase by shopping for lower electric rates from electricity suppliers who are licensed by the state of Massachusetts (see below).


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