While energy choice laws have been in effect for almost a decade in the New York City area, an alarming number of consumers are still unaware of their option to shop for competitive electricity and natural gas rates. The majority of citizens are still under the belief that they have to pay the energy rates offered by Con Edison, the local utility company. In truth, New York City consumers only have to pay the regulated delivery charges for energy to Con Edison, the supply component of their energy bills is open to customer choice. New York energy choice laws changed Con Edison from being the sole energy company in the New York City area, responsible for the delivery and generation supply of the energy, to only being responsible for the delivery and maintenance of the energy lines and wires.
On top of their delivery duties, Con Edison also provides a default rate for electricity supply to customers who do not choose to initiate in electricity shopping activity. Con Edison customers can find attractive rate plans offered by competitive electricity companies that will replace the default rate. The competitive electricity companies in New York are referred to as ESCOs, which stands for energy supply companies. ESCOs can offer customers rate plans that differentiate from the “one size fits all” default plan offered by Con Edison.
The Con Edison default electricity rate changes each month as it is variable and tied to market fluctuations. This volatility does not allow for ESCOs to market exact savings with their rate offerings as they are able to do in other state markets. In the neighboring states of New Jersey an Pennsylvania, utilities have default rates that last anywhere from three to eight months at a time. Electricity companies there can offer rates below the default rates and consumers can calculate exact savings. While this isn’t the exact case in New York, consumers can still lock in low Con Edison rates that are fixed and will offer price certainty during the term of the contract.
In addition to price, Con Edison customers can shop for plans that offer renewable energy as the source of power. ESCOs can purchase power generated from wind farms and sell it to retail customers so that there money is supporting renewable resources.
Consumers have a variety of options when shopping for competitive electricity in New York City. Getting this idea out has been difficult as people have become used to accepting whatever rate Con Edison imposes. The last migration data in New York was released at the end of 2015 which showed that only 23.6% of residential customers where purchasing their power from a competitive ESCO. Below are competitive offers from ESCOs who have been approved to sell power in the Con Edison service area.
In the state of Delaware electricity customers are discovering that they are no longer forced to buy their power from Delmarva Power. Delaware competitive electricity has created an abundance of electric rate options that customers can now choose between. However, with recent increases in the Delmarva default Price to Compare rate and tumbling energy prices, the primary reason new shoppers are materializing is to save money.
Current competitive electricity prices in Delaware are yielding as much as 21% savings versus the Delmarva default rate. The Price to Compare default rate includes electricity generation supply and transmission service while the distribution charges that Delmarva Power charges for the delivery of power remains regulated by the Delaware Public Service Commission. Competitive electricity rate plans replace the Delmarva default price, resulting in a lower Delmarva electric bill if the competitive price is below the published Delmarva Power Price to Compare.
Despite an abundance of plans yielding significant savings, the majority of Delaware electricity consumers continue to be on the Delmarva Power default plan. November shopping activity released by the Delaware Public Service Commission show that only 10.33% or Delaware residential customers were purchasing their electricity using a competitive electricity price. Only 28,755 residential customers had elected to leave the default plan while 249,486 customer remain. On the commercial side, more than 33% of business customers have entered into agreements with competitive Delaware electricity suppliers allowing them to purchase their power from an alternative supplier.
Current competitive Delaware electricity prices are below $0.08 per KWh while the Price to Compare remains at $0.0958, where it has been since August of 2016. Since June of 2014 the Price to Compare has averaged above $0.10 per KWh. Alternative offers to the Delmarva Power default price are listed below by electricity suppliers who are licensed by the state of Delaware.
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.
Small businesses in central Pennsylvania serviced by PP&L who are still on the utility default “price to compare” rate have an opportunity to reduce their electric bill through the Pennsylvania electricity choice program. Electricity choice allows consumers to shop the market and purchase their power supply from an alternative supplier who may be able to offer a price lower than the utility supply rate. As a result of a recent utility default rate increase combined with a steady low wholesale energy market, savings are available for PPL small businesses.
PPL customers have experienced a true competitive market since the beginning of 2010 when decade long low capped rates with the utilities expired. The rate expirations caused alternative suppliers to flood the market as they were able to offer competitive prices that yielded quick savings for customers on their PPL electric bills. As is the case with most new electricity markets, commercial and industrial clients were quicker to act on the benefits of the new Pennsylvania electricity market structures as opposed to the residential customer pool, who were less familiar with the new laws. However, after seven years of electricity choice in Pennsylvania, both customer and energy supplier participation has grown.
Among the seven largest electricity utilities in Pennsylvania, PPL leads in customer participation rate for both residential and business customers. As of December 2016 the utility has 56.6% of their commercial customers purchasing power from a competitive electricity supplier. The commercial customers who have shopped and entered into a contract with a supplier account for 89.3% of the commercial usage amount. The largest users have been the quickest to adopt and learn about the benefits of electricity choice. However, small businesses can experience the same savings percentage if they take advantage and shop for a lower commercial electricity price to replace the PPL price to compare rate for the commercial customer class.
Competitive suppliers are able to offer lower prices to PPL businesses when the wholesale electricity market yields prices that are lower than the default rate. While the default rate is determined through an auction process months before the time they actually go into effect, competitive suppliers can offer customers fixed rate contracts based on wholesale prices at the current level. Over the last seven years there have been times when suppliers could not offer rates lower than the utility default rate, however for the majority of the time savings have been available. When savings are available it presents an easy and stress free way for business owners to lower one of their largest operating costs.
Competitive suppliers offer different fixed electric prices to customers based on their power consumption. Below customers can choose the amount of their monthly electric bill to see different fixed electric prices available.