Archive for Electricity Providers

Lowest Chicago Competitive Electricity Suppliers

Energy choice participation is picking up in Chicago as consumers are becoming more aware of legislation that allows them to choose a competitive electricity supplier as opposed to their incumbent utility ComEd. The creation of a competitive electricity market in Illinois has created an abundance of electric rate options that customers can now choose between. As suppliers fight to gain market share and brand recognition consumers will find it easier to shop around for the lowest rates with names they trust. Residents who become more educated with electricity choice continue to shop to stay informed about which suppliers are offering the lowest rates.

Chicago residents searching for the lowest electric rate should consider switching to a competitive supplier immediately . Locking in a fixed electric rate may protect the consumer from volatility during harsh winter months. Competitive electric suppliers already have future weather projections built into their rates, marginalizing the effects short term spikes in the energy wholesale futures markets will have on competitive offers. In general, fixed rates offered by Chicago competitive suppliers provide price security for residential customers.

Trying to choose the lowest electricity rate in Chicago is becoming easier as the competition fights to gain more market share. One tool that is becoming increasingly popular to help electric choice shoppers choose and compare rates are online comparison sites. Online comparison sites allow consumers to compare the cheapest electric rates from multiple suppliers based upon the desired term that best suits the customer. The process of switching to a competitive supplier through an online comparison site is minimal in time for the customer. All it takes is a copy of the ComEd bill and a few minutes to compare current competitive offers to the ComEd price to compare.


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NH Eversource Electric Bill Savings

Saving money on the monthly Eversource electric bill has never been as easy as it now is for New Hampshire citizens thanks to the successful results of energy choice deregulation. Through state legislature, New Hampshire electricity choice laws allow consumers to shop for the power generation supply component of their electric bill from alternative electricity companies. Instead of being forced to purchase power from a regulated utility, New Hampshire Eversource customer can shop for lower electricity prices at desired terms. Customers who are adapting to New Hampshire electricity choice are discovering that they can drastically reduce their Eversource electric bill.

Having competition in business is an important market component that ultimately benefits the consumer as competing firms are forced to trim profits while enhancing the products they sell. Nowhere is that lesson in economics more apparent than in the New Hampshire electricity choice market where customers are seeing savings north of 30% versus the old utility default price. Most consumers are unaware of how the rate they pay for electricity is derived, especially consumers in regulated markets where they become familiar with the mundane process of receiving a disorganized monthly utility bill with a total amount that they must pay or have the lights turned off in their home.

The reality is that electricity is traded on a 24/7 market where utilities and competitive suppliers purchase and trade blocks of power with the goal of selling it to consumers through the monthly electric bill. It is very similar to the business relationship of the bank and homeowner when purchasing a home. The bank buys the home with cash, and then allows the homeowner to make monthly mortgage payments to the bank with a premium in the pricing. In the case of electricity, the utility or competitive supplier is purchasing a block of power through futures contracts for the consumer and then selling it back to the home dweller through the electricity bill with a small retail adder.

Regulated utility customers, or customers who live in states or markets where they do not have the ability to shop for competitive power, pay a rate for the electricity through their local utility. The local utility has a team who purchases the power on the wholesale energy market for their customer base, and then charges a retail adder that is approved by the state utility commission. However, the main component of the charge is going to be determined by the buying strategy of the utility. In a market environment where there is no competition, the utility has no incentive to make sure that they are doing a good job for their customers as they don’t have to worry about losing customers to another company. In contrast a competitive market keeps electricity suppliers on their toes, always looking for ways to cut costs and purchase wholesale electricity at the right time so that they can pass on the low electricity prices to their customers.

In recent months alternative New Hampshire electricity suppliers have been able to offer NH Eversource customers substantial savings on their electric bills by taking advantage of buying opportunities in the wholesale energy markets. In order to market services to customers, alternative New Hampshire electricity suppliers need to be licensed by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission. If a New Hampshire Eversource customers chooses to purchase power from a company who is offering a rate that is lower than the utility default rate, then the customer will experience the difference in savings on their monthly Eversource electric bill.


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ComEd Price to Compare Rate Hike in Effect

After enjoying record level low electricity prices for the past year and a half, residential customers serviced by Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) are facing a huge electric rate hike that went into effect on June 1, 2014. For some consumers the rate hike is more than 50% as the ComEd default rate has jumped from below 5 cents to, in some cases, just above 8 cents. The price hike will effect all residential ComEd consumers who are on the “Price to Compare” rate structure, which is the price consumers pay for generation and transmission service who have not shopped for an alternative solution.

The large price increase by ComEd has resurrected competitive electricity rate offers that can produce savings. During the last year and a half, Illinois electricity suppliers found it difficult to offer rate plans that could show savings versus the ComEd price to compare. Instead they focused on promotional incentives and longer term price protection contracts in order to gain new customers. With high ComEd rates accompanied by low wholesale prices, ComEd energy choice can once again provide fixed electric rates that are lower than the default prices and thus offer clean cut savings on the ComEd electric bill.

Finding a low electricity rate offered by a electricity supplier who is licensed by the Illinois Commerce Commission can result in lower monthly ComEd electric bills.


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Meted Power Companies

Power companies who have taken notice to the success of electric choice in Pennsylvania’s largest cities are now targeting the smaller towns by offering competitive rates and instant bill savings. The Metropolitan Edison Company is the fourth largest electric utility in the state of Pennsylvania delivering power to more than 550,000 power users, all of whom are outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Meted customers have seen a surge in electricity competitive rate offers as power companies continue to enter the area looking for new customers.

The competitive power companies have been successful in their marketing efforts to Meted customers. Over the last year the residential switch percentage, the number of customers who are purchasing their power from a competitive supplier in relation to the total number of Meted residential customers, has surged to 35.9% as reported by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The Meted switch rate is actually higher than the 32% switch rate of Pennsylvania’s largest electric utility, PECO Energy, where power companies have spent more efforts on gaining customers.

Residential customers in the Meted service area are learning that can save money on their monthly Meted electric bills by shopping for competitive low electric rates. Customers who do not shop for competitive rates pay a default electric rate through Meted. Though the Meted default rate recently went down, competitive rates in the area still remain lower. The majority of power companies offering service to Meted customers offer consolidated billing which means that the customer continue to receive the same familiar electric bill from Meted even after they switch.

A list of some of the more competitive rate offerings for Meted residential customers is below. Rate offers are updated daily.


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AEP Ohio Electricity Prices Fall due to Competition

Electricity choice is pushing prices down for the majority of residences in Ohio. Several years ago Ohio passed energy restructuring laws that allowed for competitive electricity in the state’s largest utility service areas. Those laws are now paying dividends as the number of electricity companies offering service in Ohio is increasing, as well as the number of participating energy shoppers.

The biggest electricity service area in Ohio is AEP, which includes Ohio Power and Columbus Southern Power. The utility serves over one million residential electricity customers, of which 25% are currently buying their power from a competitive energy supplier. Those who have taken the time to compare AEP Ohio electricity prices have been able to substantially reduce their electric bills. The savings have been significant reaching as high as 17% versus the AEP Ohio price to compare default rate.

As the Ohio electricity choice market continues to mature consumers can expect to see falling prices. The state is seeing the number of energy companies offering service to Ohio residences increase, giving customers more product options and lower rates. The switch percentage is above 70% for some of Ohio’s service utility areas, showing that the people of Ohio have accepted and welcomed electricity choice.

Below are competitive rates for Ohio Power and Columbus Southern Power, all prices are updated daily.


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When to Lock In a Fixed Business Electricity Contract in PA

In discussing the best time to lock in fixed business electricity rate contracts, there is a wide misconception that fixed electricity rates go down during the fall and spring season of the year. While recent historical data may lead one to believe this may be the case, following this to an end in itself is a fallacy and can cost businesses money as they sit around and wait for prices to potentially fall.

Fixed electricity pricing is based on future forward contracts. With natural gas being a significant source of electricity generation in Pennsylvania, fixed rates are highly correlated with natural gas future contracts. This means that when you look to lock in a two year fixed electricity price, the forward natural gas prices for the next 24 months have an effect on the final fixed price for power. Every month included in the duration of the contract will have a set rate the moment the contract is signed. The final fixed price will be the weighted average of the estimated amount of electricity a business is expected to use for a given month times the rate. This means if a Pennsylvania business customer decides to lock in a fixed commercial electricity rate in the middle of summer the price will take into account the cooler months that come along with the fall and spring seasons.

Locking in a fixed rate will protect Pennsylvania business customers from the volatility associated with the energy market. The fixed rate will put a ceiling on the price if the market were to rise during the term of the contract. If the market were to drop you are not necessarily stuck with having to pay a higher rate. More and more electricity suppliers are offering the blend and extend option in Pennsylvania. This allows a business electricity customer on a fixed rate product to immediately lower their rate at any point during the term of the contract in return of extending out the contract. Exercising this option will maximize the savings for the initial term of the agreement while extending out protection against the risk of a potential rise in future energy prices.

Fixed rates are the most common rate structure for those looking to get off PPL, Met-Ed, or PECO’s high default rates. One appealing feature of fixed rates is the transparency in allowing a company to forecast their annual electricity expenditures. Those businesses still on the utility default rate will have to deal with large swings in costs when the electric bill comes due. Budget certainty is a great asset to have when dealing with a volatile market. With the blend and extend option in place, Pennsylvania business customers looking to sign a fixed rate may want to consider locking in a term for several years.


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Energy Plus Company Review

The Energy Plus Company has seen tremendous market growth since being founded in 2007. The company’s success is centered around their rewards programs which they built with household name corporations in the airline, hotel, and retail industries. In 2011 the company was bought by NRG, a fortune 500 company who owns several other retail brand energy companies. Energy Plus offers electricity service in New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas

Energy Plus has built their marketing campaigns around their ongoing rewards programs, similar to credit card reward programs; the more power you use the more rewards you will get. They entice people to sign up for their electric variable rate service, and in return customers can receive their choice from a variety of rewards including cash back, student loan payoff funds, airline mileage, or gift certificates to retail stores.

For customers looking to maximize their savings, the problem with the Energy Plus Company is that they not only charge a variable rate that has no limit to how high it can go, but they don’t even post what the initial variable rate will be when you get your first bill. You might get reward points or cash, but that money is coming from an inflated monthly electricity bill. In the north east markets, where the majority of the Energy Plus Company customers are located, smart shoppers can save a tremendous amount of money on their bills by taking the time to compare low fixed electric rates. In many areas savings are above 20%. For example, Illinois electricity consumers living in the ComEd area can currently save up to 29% versus the local default rates. However, according to customer surveys, the Energy Plus Company charges rates that are close to the utility default rates and sometimes more.

Their contract states:

“The variable rate may change each month and will reflect the cost of electricity, including energy, capacity, settlement, ancillaries, related transmission and distribution charges and other market-related factors; plus all applicable taxes, fees, charges, costs, expenses and margins. The rate may be higher than your EDC’s rate. EP does not guarantee any savings over the EDC’s rates for the entire term of this Agreement”

In conclusion, the Energy Plus Company has a successful marketing program going because their is a market out there of uneducated consumers whose eyes light up when they see the word “REWARDS”. However, in the end these consumers end up paying more money for the rewards they earn then they are worth. Smart electricity shoppers should focus on getting the lowest fixed rate available in their service territory.


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North American Power Review

Electricity customers approached by sales reps from North American Power should be careful before signing an electricity contract with the supplier. North American Power contracts that offer a variable rate are likely to increase almost immediately. Their contracts do not even guarantee that the rates they advertise on their site will be locked in for the first month.

The company promotes their rates by emphasizing that by choosing them you will be supporting charitable organizations. This is true, however it should be noted that you will be doing this as an extra cost to you, by paying more on your electric bill. You can support these charitable organizations without choosing North American Power as your electricity supplier. By choosing a variable rate with North American Power, you will pay a price for electricity at the company’s choosing.

Current North American Power prices for customers in the Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) territory are listed as $0.0899 per KWh. However, customers in this area are paying $0.0999 cents per KWh on their most recent bill, a price that is even higher than the CL&P default rate.

We strongly recommend not choosing a variable rate for your electricity for the simple reason that the price has no ceiling. In contrast, a low fixed electric rate can guarantee you savings if the rate is lower than your utility’s default price to compare. The fixed rate will be fixed for a set term indicated on the electricity agreement that you choose.


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Patriot Energy Alert

Patriot Energy is an electricity brokering company.  They are currently offering electricity contracts to businesses in Pennsylvania with deceptive language that could cost your business thousands of extra billing expenses.

First, it is important to understand that electricity brokers should not be involved in the practice of offering their own electricity contracts.  The practice of electricity brokers in Pennsylvania should involve obtaining contracts from licensed electric suppliers for the client, negotiating the terms and conditions of those contracts for the benefit of the client, and then offering those contracts to their client.  Patriot Energy is not licensed to offer retail electric supply contracts to customers.

Patriot Energy uses their false electric supply contracts to mislead customers into thinking they are signing lower fixed rates than other competing electric suppliers.  In reality, the low fixed rate stated on the Patriot Contract is artificial and does not lock the customer into any guaranteed rate.

At the top of their contract in a big friendly box, their contract displays the words “Fixed Rate” followed by the rate.  However, at the bottom of the contract written is very small print surrounded by more small print reads the following sentence:

“This document is not a contract for electricity supply and that Patriot Energy Group Inc has not guaranteed that it will be able to place the above account with a competitive supplier on the terms and conditions set forth herin.”

Furthermore, the small writing also includes this sentence:

The actual terms and conditions pertaining to electric supply……will be defined by the competitive electric supply contract entered into by Patriot Energy Group”

By signing the “Patriot Energy Contract” you are merely giving them the power to sign any type of electricity contract on your behalf.  Even though a rate is displayed on the “Patriot Energy Contract”, the contract language allows them to sign any rate for your business that they wish, with any set of terms which can include a number of hidden charges and pass through expenses that should be included in the rate but are not.

I highly advise businesses not to sign this “Patriot Energy Contract” on the simple fact that it does not guarantee the customer anything and instead only gives Patriot Energy the authority to sign your business into any type of electricity supply contract they wish.  Furthermore, Patriot Energy is not licensed as an electric supplier which means that they are not licensed to be offering electric supply contracts.


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Business Electricity Companies

New energy choice markets in the northeast (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut) as well as existing deregulated areas such as Texas and Illnois are making some business electricity companies household names as the battle for market share has heated up.

Electricity companies who offer electric service to commercial and industrial clients buy power commitments in advance for the businesses and then sell it back to them in the form of a monthly electric bill.  Essentially these business electricity companies act as banks for large energy users.  As retail electric suppliers, they buy blocks of power on the wholesale market and then sell it to the customer with a retail markup.  This is why electricity companies require businesses to sign electricity contracts that locks them into service with the supplier for the term of the contract.

However, some of these business electricity contracts can be confusing and misleading to executives who are looking at purchasing energy for the first time.  Some of the misleading practices include “passing through” part of the charge to other sections of the bill,  thus making the rate appear lower than it really is.  Also, electricity companies can add unnecessary meter charges that can add up for businesses that have multiple meters.

It is important for businesses to do their due diligence or work with a energy consulting company who has a clear expertise in the field of deregulated electricity.  Electricity brokering companies can compare electricity contracts, rates, and suppliers.

Businesses should be weary of electricity companies offering variable rates that are contract free.  Usually the offer will not guarantee any type of rate allowing the electricity supplier to charge whatever they want in any given month.


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