Tired of Yearly Power Rate Increases? Tired of Re-negotiating Your Energy Contracts?
Then do it ONE LAST TIME, but make it good! Click There ===>
Have you received a terrific offer from a third party electric supply company (ESCO) claiming they can save you money on your energy bill?
So you’ve compared their rate to your local distribution company’s (the utility company that prints and mails your bill to you) standard offer service rates and indeed you can save a bundle by switching, but have you researched all the got-cha’s?
If you are offered a variable rate product, you will want to confirm:
1) Is the advertised rate a teaser rate which will rise to a market price or even higher after a few months, like North American Power‘s 4th month surprise rate spike? (Not all customers receive a rate spike, but mine went from NAP’s 8 cent / kWh teaser rate to about 12 cents / kWh at exactly the wrong time: during peak power usage on a hot summer month.) A 50% rate increase! Surprise!
2) Does your variable rate have a cap like Starion’s 6 month rate cap? (They recently canceled their capped plans.)
3) Is there a monthly service fee? How much does that monthly service fee add to your bottom line total price per kWh? It counts too! Just like all the other junk fees – add them up and see if your negotiated rate is still looking that great.
4) What are the costs, if any, to switch to your new electric power supply company and to cancel?
If you are offered a fixed rate product, you should confirm:
1) How long is the fixed rate term? 1 year? 2 years?
2) What is the early termination fee for the contract?
3) What is the monthly service fee or minimum billing amount? IF you bill under their minimum or over their maximum, do you have to pay bandwidth penalties? Are there tiers? Time of use penalties? Peak power or demand charges? Power factor penalties?
4) Does the contract auto-renew at the end of term and automatically lock you into a higher rate product without right to rescind like Washington Gas and Energy Services’ contract?
With both variable rate and fixed rate electric power plans, you should know:
The rate you are being offered by your ESCO is not the rate you will be paying. Remember, after you negotiate your energy supply rate, that electric power still has to be delivered to your home.
Your final “all-in” energy cost will include:
1) Energy supply cost;
2) Transmission cost;
3) Distribution cost;
4) In some cases it will include demand charges, time of use tariffs, multiple rate tiers based on volume;
5) Surcharges to pay for all those cheap CFL‘s your utility company sells through Cosco, and for their many other incentives;
6) Taxes, hidden taxes, disguised taxes, and more taxes;
7) Junk fees of all sorts
All of these fees can add an additional 3-5 cents / kWh to that great new energy supply rate you just negotiated.
Take the total amount you are paying on your bill and divide it by the number of kilowatt-hours of usage for the month. That is your true rate. Not what you expected? Quite a bit higher than that negotiated amount you saw on the postcard you received or that the guy who knocked on your door quoted to you? That’s typical.
However, after 1-2 years and your contract expires, then what?
You will have to renegotiate your energy rates all over again and look for a new energy supplier. How much do you want to bet that the starting point for the new rates will not be lower? They might be, but the odds are not in your favor. Think about it this way, in which direction do the rates have more room to move, up or down? How would YOU hedge that bet?
If you think that fracking and other new technologies will bring the price down, consider how the free market will affect the apparent surplus we are experiencing in the United States: All but one of the US LNG terminals are configured to import natural gas from overseas. Since the price of LNG in energy hungry China is significantly higher than it is in the United States, investors are working on retrofitting the import terminals to adapt them for energy export, a process which takes time. But when China gets a hold of our natural gas, the US becomes a giant energy exporting country and there goes our surplus and along with it, our low energy prices.
How does this affect electricity prices? Natural gas is the most volatile component of electric power pricing and therefore has the greatest effect on pricing on an inelastic commodity.
Confused by all that information? You don’t have to be…
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*What is a PPA?
A PPA stands for “Power Purchase Agreement.” You are in a PPA with your utility right now. But is it the best PPA for you?
Your current utility’s PPA: They paid for a coal, nuclear or other kind of electricity generating plant with investors’ funds somewhere “out there.” You are paying them for the electricity they generate and that’s how they pay off their investment in the generating plant.
Your new Solar PPA: SolarCity has large investors who fund the materials, installation, maintenance and warranty of a solar power plant which SolarCity installs and owns on your roof. You just pay SolarCity for the electricity they generate each month and that’s how SolarCity pays off the investment in your solar system on your roof.
What the Difference?
With a solar PPA, the goal is to secure long term savings on the energy you use by generating clean, green solar energy at a lower price than what your utility charges.
You save money, the environment is protected, so why not start today? The only one that loses is the coal powered electricity generation plant!
What are the hidden charges?
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