fixed rate

Delaware has a deregulated electricity market.  What does this mean?  It means that the local incumbent utility Delmarva, which was once a regulated monopoly controlling all aspects of electricity service – generation, transmission, distribution – is now only in charge of distribution (they are just an electricity delivery company).  The state mandates that they offer all of their customers a generation default rate for those customers who do not choose an alternative supplier.

Even though Delmarva offers a default generation rate, they do not profit off of these charges.  Their only profit is derived from the delivery charges that are still regulated by the state.  Because of this fact, Delmarva not only does not care if their customers choose a competitive electric supplier, but actually support it.  They want all of their customer to purchase their generation electric service from alternative suppliers so that they can focus their attention on the management and reliability of the electric lines and wires in the state.

Customers looking to shop for competitive electric rates can use the Delmarva default rates (Price to Compare) to determine if the offers they receive are worth signing a contract.  Current competitive electricity rates are showing good savings (8-20%) versus the default rates over the last several years.

Delmarva default rates change about every 4 months.  It is important for Delmarva customers to realize that signing a fixed electricity  contract is not only about saving money off of the current default rate, but also about price protection into the future.  It is possible that the future default rates can become lower than the fixed rate that you signed.  However it is possible, and more likely, that they can drastically increase.  Fixed rate contracts are designed to offer customers with budget certainty giving them electric rate protection.

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Residential electricity customers in Philadelphia and surrounding areas in southeast Pennsylvania are finding good savings on their PECO energy bills through electric competition.  Customers in the area seeking to compare electricity prices will find savings versus the PECO price to compare rates of 2011.

Below are two electricity companies offering electricity rates that are lower than the current residential PECO default rate.  While the savings are relevant, they do not even take into account that PECO rates are estimated to increase by another 10-15% this summer according to www.peco.com.  Locking in a fixed rate will protect customers from these increases.

The default prices for PECO electricity will change every three months and are based on a series of auctions.  Some competitive electricity companies are able to offer savings compared to the PECO rates partly because PECO has to include a premium in their pricing when they buy the energy on the wholesale market to offset the uncertainty of how many customers they will have.  Competitive electricity companies do not have to include this premium in their pricing since they are able to purchase power on the wholesale market for the retail customer one at a time.

Compare PECO Rates:


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The Atlantic City Electric company, the electricity utility company serving the majority of southern New Jersey, has the highest electric default rates in the country among utilities serving electricity deregulated markets.  Current residents serviced by Atlantic City Electric who have not chosen a competitive electric supplier for the supply portion of their energy usage, are paying the Atlantic City Electric price to compare rate of 13.15 cents per kilowatt hour.

Customers can save 13% by paying a fixed rate of 11.40 cents per kilowatt hour.  The offer also includes a Visa Prepaid Gift Card.

Despite the large savings available for Atlantic City Electric residential customers, well under 10% of them have switched electric suppliers to companies offering lower electric rates.  Much of the resistence is centered around the unfamiliarity that New Jersyans have with electricity choice.  Most people might be surprised to find out that the Atlantic City Electric company supports energy choice and wants their customers to shop for lower rates. Those who switch electric suppliers will still receive their electric bill from Atlantic City Electric.  The only thing that changes is the Atlantic City Electric price to compare rate, or default rate, is replaced by the rate offered by the electric supplier of the customer’s choice.

Here are current competitive electric rates:


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We have recently been getting a lot of questions pertaining to the Energy Alliance of Pennsylvania as a result of their increased rates over the past few months.  After much research, here is what I have discovered:

The Energy Alliance of Pennsylvania is a licensed retail electric provider that was set up by the Manufacturing and Business Association (MBA) through Fluent Energy as a way to get better electric rates for their members.  In their own words….

“The Association has established the Employers’ Energy Alliance of Pennsylvania, Inc. (EEA-PA), which will act as an energy supplier for its more than 4,700 member companies and organizations operating throughout central and northwest Pennsylvania. By purchasing directly from the electric grid and gas pipeline and eliminating broker commissions and marketing costs, the EEA-PA is able to pass savings directly on to participating members.” (keep a mental note of the words in bold)

The statement sounds good in theory, but many members saw their rates skyrocket to over $0.13 a few months ago when PPL default rates are at $0.10402 and the majority of businesses in the area are able to get low fixed rate offers of $0.085 (35% less than the $0.13 rate).  So what is going on here?

First, upon reviewing the Energy Alliance Electric Service Agreement, the Alliance buys their electricity on a monthly basis from the wholesale market which makes them extremely and completely open to spikes in the market.  When the Alliance charged their customers over $0.13 the wholesale market did see a bump in prices.  However, the jump in wholesale prices should not have caused rates to go up as high as they did.  Here is where things get really interesting….

In the Electric Service Agreement, the part that explains how customers will be charged, it reads:

“Basic Commodity Price: this is a variable price which is comprised of the weighted average PJM Independent System Operator commodity price and other associated costs of goods sold, plus the administrative fee per kWh set forth below, and any applicable taxes and/or agent fees.”

To break that sentence down, the first part (basic commodity price) is the wholesale price of electricity.  The administrative fee per kwh is listed in the contract at $0.0012 which isn’t out of the ordinary.  Applicable taxes are always warranted.  Then comes the kicker, ever so slightly written, “agent fees”.  What exactly is an agent fee?  It is not defined anywhere else in the contract, and to me it seems like it is the very thing the Alliance set out to eliminate in the first place (bold area from above “liminating broker commissions and marketing costs“).

Basically this “agent fee” gives the Energy Alliance the right to tack on whatever commission they would like on a monthly basis, and it is possible that when the members of this alliance payed a rate of $0.13 cents per KWh a few months ago, someone walked away with a nice undeserved bonus.

I would recommend to any business involved in this Energy Alliance to seek out a fixed electric rate that will prevent such spikes to happen in the future.  For a list of electric companies offering fixed rates and their offers, email us or write a comment to this article.

The thing that really gets to me about the Energy Alliance of Pennsylvania is the way they market themselves.  They come off trying to sell the whole “power in numbers” mentality when really their buying structure is not taking advantage of their buying power at all.  Furthermore, there statement of lower rates due to the fact that they will eliminate broker fees, followed up by adding their own agent fees is just plain misleading.  Even the name “Energy Alliance of PA” gives the impression that they are a non-profit when clearly they are as profit seeking as Walmart or McDonalds.

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Viridian Energy Review

October 4, 2010

Viridian Energy is a new company, founded in 2009, who offers a variable electric rate to customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Viridian Energy only offers a variable rate which can be dangerous if you are a customer.  There is really no limit to how high a variable electric rate can go up […]

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