maryland

Electricity customers who are serviced by Baltimore Gas & Electric are finally starting to see the benefits of Maryland energy choice as competitive energy companies have pushed prices down.

How Do I Lower My BG&E Electric Bill?

There are a thousand different answers to this question. Some are true, some are myths, some are smart, and some are just plain ridiculous. While many people will spit out some energy efficiency strategies and facts – unplug appliances, turn down the AC, keep blinds shut during the day – the easiest way to lower your BGE bill is to exercise your freedom to shop the competitive electricity market.

You can always take the time to learn about energy efficiency and put that to practice, but there is no simpler way than taking 5 minutes to switch off of the high BGE default rate and onto a lower competitive rate.

Maryland electricity choice laws have structured it so that BG&E continues to deliver power to their customer’s properties regardless of which energy supplier they choose. BG&E is now only in the business of power delivery and power line and wire maintenance. When you choose a competitive supplier, you continue to receive your monthly electric bill from BG&E. The rate you choose simply replaces the default BG&E supply rate. So if the competitive rate is lower than the default rate, you save money on your electric bill.

So, How Do You Lower Your BGE Electric Bill?

Simple! Just shop and choose one of the low competitive electricity rates below.


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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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This article pertains to commercial and industrial electricity customers in deregulated markets where Integrys Energy is active, including but not limited to Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and New York.

Integrys Energy has offered electricity contracts with misleading rate quotes to commercial and industrial customers.  If you are deciding to use Integrys Energy as your supplier it is extremely important that you either review the contract thoroughly, or work with a consultant or energy broker who is equipped to do so.

As a business electricity customer, here is what you need to know:

Every deregulated electricity state divides their bill into two basic parts, the regulated delivery part and the competitive supply part.  Depending on who is your local regulated utility will depend on how these charges are viewed on your bill.  Sometimes, like in the case of PSEG in New Jersey, the two parts are clearly divided.  Other times, like in the case of PPL in Pennsylvania, the charges are not so clearly separated.

The competitive supply portion of the bill can further be separated into several components (energy charge, transmission, capacity, line losses, etc.).  When you receive a competitive rate offer from an energy supplier, the rate should include every component of the competitive supply portion.  However, what some suppliers do is give a quote that only includes a portion, and then passes on the rest of the charges in a subsection on the bill.

So for example, you might get an offer from Electric Supplier (A) for a rate of 8 cents that includes every aspect of the competitive supply part.  Then Electric Supplier (B) might offer you a rate of 7 cents that only includes part, say the energy charge, of the competitive supply part.  The remaining part of the competitive supply part (transmission, capacity, line losses) will show up on the bill in a different section, and all of a sudden 7 cents is really 9.5 cents.

Integrys Energy practices the method of Electric Supplier (B) from the example above.  Recently I reviewed a contract that they presented to a customer.  After reviewing the contract I found that the customer would have paid exactly double to what they thought they would have paid.  This is because Integrys divided the competive supply part into two sections, and gave both sections the same exact rate.  This was extremely misleading as the implementation of the exact rate for two different sections was designed to make it appear as if everything would be charged the single rate once.  But after taking a closer look, I was able to see that there would in fact be two separate charges.

To summarize the above paragraph, had the customer signed they would have paid:

6 cents per KWh for (energy commodity)

6 cents per KWH for (capacity, transmission, line losses)

12 cents total

The sales person representing Integrys presented the rate as 6 cents.  The customer thought that the 6 cents was a great offer compared to the 8 cents offer they were getting from another legitimate supplier (the 8 cents offer was found to include the entire portion of the competitive supply part).  In reality the 8 cents should have been compared to 12 cents, and not 6 cents.

People making electricity decisions for businesses need to be aware of these deceitful practices.

A simple way to do this is to email the sales person and ask them:  Does the rate include energy, capacity, transmission, line losses, and all other components of the utility price to compare?

Anything less than a “yes” means that there will be some surprises.

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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 in any given month, and history shows that eventually the rates will increase drastically.  The main reason for this is the huge dependency that Viridian places on the wholesale market.  When the market behaves, Viridian can offer a rate that is slightly lower that the utility default rates, however when the market spikes they will be forced to pass on the extra costs to their customers.  I recommend finding a fixed electric rate that will lock in a rate for a set period of time.

Viridian Energy markets through “Direct Selling” or multi-level marketing.  They attract independent associates, who are often not well informed on energy prices and markets, to sell Viridian electric rates to their friends and family in hopes that it will cause these customers to stay loyal to them long term.

Viridian’s rates are not attractive.  Lower electric rates, both variable and fixed, can be found by comparing other electric companies’ offers to Viridian’s offers.

Besides the lower rates offered by these other companies, the important thing to note is that these offers are fixed.  Viridian’s offers are variable and can go even higher at any time.  Viridian advertises that they have “no contracts”, but when it comes to buying electricity, it is good to have a contract as it will state the exact rate you will pay assuming that the contract is for a fixed rate.  Without a contract you are truly at the mercy of the electric company.

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Compare Electric Rates

September 29, 2010

The time and energy that it takes to compare electric rates can be overwhelming for some.  However, with a little research and education, customers in Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Connecticut can lower the cost of their electric bill by comparing electric rate offers from electricity companies against the electric rates of the […]

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How do I Lower My Electric Bill

August 9, 2010

States that have decided to deregulate, or restructure, their electricity utilities are giving their consumers the opportunity to lower their electric bills.  Misunderstanding how to lower the electric bill has been a problem for some of these electric rate payers. As a simple review, the electric bill is divided into two main sections; the delivery […]

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Maryland Electric Rate Update

July 8, 2010

Maryland electric customers, both residential and business, are finding lower electric rates when they shop in the competitive market.  Customers who are served by Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) and PEPCO are finding the greatest savings. The exact rate and savings that you can find depend on your individual rate class by your utility and […]

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Hurricane Season May Raise Electric Rates

July 1, 2010

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting a rough Hurricane season in 2010 that may have a negative effect on retail electricity prices.  Electric rates in the majority of competitive electric markets have a direct correlation with natural gas prices.  Bad hurricane seasons result in a decline in natural gas production that eventually pushes […]

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Fixed Electric Rate Contracts

March 3, 2010

With many electric deregulated markets seeing true market participation by suppliers and users for the first time, consumer questions and concerns are on the rise.  Used to paying electric rates set and monitored by the state, electricity customers are skeptical and uneasy about their introduction to fixed electricity rate contracts. Consumers hear the word “contract” […]

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