competitive energy

Summer electricity rates have increase by 20 percent for residential customers who receive their power bill from the Penelec electric utility company. Penelec announced in late May that their default generation and transmission charges would increase on June 1, 2014, giving consumers little time to shop for competitive power prices.

Penelec imposes a default rate, which is called the price to compare by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, to all of their customers who have not chosen a competitive electric supplier to provide power supply. The default rate includes generation and transmission charges. Distribution charges continue to be charged by Penelec and are regulated by the Pennsylvania PUC. Prior to June first, the Penelec price to compare for residential customers was $0.07709 per KWh and included both generation and transmission service. On June 1, 2014 that rate increase by 20% and is now $0.09254.

Penelec residential customers who are on fixed rate contracts with competitive suppliers do not have to worry about the rate increase. Those customers will continue to pay the rates outlined in their agreements with the competitive energy companies that they have chosen. Default paying customers can save money and avoid the rate increase by shopping for low Penelec electricity rate plans offered by power companies who are licensed by the Pennsylvania PUC. Below are several offers from licensed competitive electricity supplies.


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Performing an energy price comparison among different energy companies and their offers is not always as simple as it may seem.  If you are shopping for competitive energy prices you may not always get apples to apples rate comparisons, especially if you are doing electric rate comparisons for a business.

Increasingly competitive energy suppliers are finding creative ways to structure their rate offers which makes customers appear to be signing contracts for unrealistic low rates, when in truth the contract has many additional charges that show up on the electric bill.

In order to protect customers, New Jersey and Pennsylvania post their “Price to Compare” rates which are the default rates offered by the utilities that competitive suppliers are supposed to offer their rates against.  Most people understand that with electric choice, the bill is now divided into two sections:  the competitive supply section, and the regulated delivery section.  The “Price to Compare” rate that utility companies (PP&L, PECO, PSE&G, JCP&L) publish are the entire supply component of the bill.

The supply rate for energy is broken down into more smaller components.  Some of these charges, such as transmission and capacity, will often be displayed on the bill.  Other components, such as line losses and congestion fees, are charges that are not stated on the bill but are blended into the price to compare rate.  However, competitive suppliers will take out these charges and present their rate to a customer that only contains the energy commodity.  The remaining charges will show up when the customer receives the bill.

This practice makes offers seem significantly less than the utility price to compare.  Unfortunately, often when the bill shows up those extra charges push the rate well above the default price to compare.

It is important to understand that in most energy choice markets, business customers can save money on their bills through shopping and comparing offers.  However due diligence needs to be done and the contracts read.  If your staff is unable to do this themselves they should consider working with an energy consulting firm or use a electricity comparison site that presents all offers equally against each other and against the utility’s current price to compare rate.

Here is some information on specific price to compare rates:

PPL:  The price to compare includes the energy rate and transmission rate that are posted on the PPL website.  The rates also include a GRT tax that is 5.9%.  Current PPL commercial rates increased by 33% on June 1.

PECO:  The price to compare includes the energy rate and transmission rate that are posted on the PPL website.  The rates also include a GRT tax that is 6.06%.  PECO commercial rates will increase by 9-11% on July 1.  PECO residential rates will increase by an average of 10% on July 1.

PSEG:  The official term for the price to compare in New Jersey is Basic Generation Service (BGS) rate.  The BGS rate for PSEG businesses is a little complicated because they use different measurements for different charges.  They charge a per KWh rate for energy commodity, and then a dollar per KW demand for transmission and capacity.  This causes the total BGS to change slightly from month to month.  To get an overall idea of what your BGS default rate is, take your total supply charge and divide it by the total KWh amount for that month.  All of this is stated on the bill.  Then you can compare competitive rates against the total BGS rate to see what type of savings are available.  Keep in mind that BGS rate include a 7% NJ tax.

JCPL:  The official term for the price to compare in New Jersey is Basic Generation Service (BGS) rate.  The BGS rate includes energy and transmission charges.

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Electricity customers who are serviced by the utility PSEG are finding savings on their electric bills by shopping for lower electric rates.  Electric shopping in New Jersey is picking up as PSEG and JCPL get ready to set their summer rate increases.

Customers who have not shopped and compared electricity prices are paying high default rates.  The default electricity rates in NJ are set for one year at a time starting on June 1 and ending on May 31.  The summer months (June through September) have a different set of energy rates than the non-summer months (October through May).  While electricity savings are currently available for customers who compare energy prices, the savings are expected to be even greater once the summer default rates take effect on June 1.

In addition to lowering your electric bill, many of the competitive energy suppliers offer promotions such as gift cards and cash back bonuses.  Below are electric rate offers that also have promotional offers.

Electricity choice is certainly becoming a reality in New Jersey.  Customers of PSEG, JCPL, and Atlantic City Electric are seeing more and more electricity options.  One year ago their were less than a handful of options for NJ residential electric customers, now there are about a dozen electricity companies offering electric supply service with more filing the paperwork to enter the market.  True electric competition is taking place in New Jersey.

Compare Competitive PSEG Rates (updated daily):


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Rockland Electric delivers electricity to just under 63,000 residences in northern New Jersey.  Though electricity choice has existed in New Jersey for several years, competitive electricity companies have just recently started offering competitive electricity rates in the Rockland Electric area.

Though, as of December 2010, only 1.8 percent of the residential customers have chosen an alternative electric supplier, Rockland Electric residential customers can save as much as 18% versus the Rockland default rates.  Rockland Electric offers default electricity rates for those customers who do not shop and compare electricity offers.

People have been slow to shop the competitive energy market in the area mostly because they are unaware of their choices.  Of the four incumbent electricity utility companies in New Jersey, Rockland Electric is by far the smallest.  Because of this, the competitive electricity suppliers are focusing more of their marketing efforts on the bigger utility areas of PSEG and JCPL, even though the greatest savings opportunities currently exist for Rockland customers.

It is expected that more and more Rockland Electric customers will shop for lower rates in 2011 as they become more familiar with their electricity choice options.

Rockland Electric Price to Compare – $0.1215
MxEnergy $0.097 /Kwh 20% Savings
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