Deregulated States

Hot Texas SummerTexas electricity suppliers have been issuing numerous warning to their commercial customers concerning likely higher prices this summer in the wholesale electricity market. These prices will trickle down to the retail sector hitting the electric bills of many business customers who are not on a secure fixed electricity rate contract. The Houston grid zone is already experiencing upward pressure on electricity prices as temperatures have been higher than normal in May. Houston zonal pricing for the 12 month strip, which determines the 12 month fixed rate, jumped up 7% in May.

The cause for concern over Texas electricity prices for the summer of 2018 is a result of recent coal fired electricity generation plants being closed over the last year. In an effort to move to a more green energy future, the closure of coal generation plants is likely going to put Texas is a electricity supply shortage that the state has not experienced in decades. If the shortage in electricity gets to close to a break even point to the demand, wholesale electricity prices will skyrocket as retail electricity suppliers bid of prices to meet the demand of their individual customers, many of whom are on variable rate products and won’t be protected by aggressive market increases.

Small and medium commercial electricity customers often let their fixed rate contracts expire without renewing for another fixed contract. When this occurs, electricity providers in Texas will likely place the customer on a monthly variable rate that is tied directly to the wholesale market with a retail adder for the provider. These variable products are the most accessible to the likely price spikes expected this summer in Houston and other parts of Texas. Texas electricity prices have been fairly stable over the last seven years, so keeping up with the electricity contract hasn’t been an issue for many small business owners. The stability in the market has created a moral hazard issue that could hit businesses hard this summer for commercial electricity consumers who are paying a variable rate with their provider. The variable rates have been quite low over the past few years that many customers have come to believe that low variable prices are normal; they are not and can jump up quickly and aggressively.

It is crucially important for all commercial electricity customers in the Houston area to lock in a low fixed electricity rate contract. Luckily in Texas, as opposed to other states who have electricity choice markets, the time it takes to switch providers and rate structures can be as early as the next business day. In some states in can take up to two months, which would leave customers on a variable rate in a bad situation if wholesale prices spiked.

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Boston HarbourElectricity choice in the Boston area has swelled in popularity in recent years as more consumers have become aware of the savings that competitive suppliers are offering. The deregulation of power markets in Massachusetts has resulted in the opportunity for Boston citizens to reduce their electricity bills by comparing offers presented by multiple energy companies. While multiple offers is a good thing for the overall consumer base, taking the time to properly compare Boston electricity prices can be overwhelming for some people who are still learning about the concepts behind electricity choice.

Boston homes and buildings receive their power from Eversource Energy. Eversource Energy services as the city’s local utility company. Though consumers are able to compare electricity prices for their power supply, they do not have the ability to shop for which company delivers them the power through the grid. Prior to rebranding itself as Eversource Energy, the company operated under the name NSTAR in the Boston region. Many customers still call the utility company by the name NSTAR. Boston residents who have lived in the city prior to 1999 might remember their local power company being called the Boston Edison Company. Before Massachusetts deregulated the power market, the Boston Edison Company provided regulated power supply to the city of Boston.

Eversource Energy provides a default electricity supply rate for customers who have not taken the opportunity to compare Boston electricity prices from multiple companies. The difference between the default rate and competitive prices has at times been significant. Customers who have not switched and compared energy suppliers can lower their Eversource electricity bills by over ten percent. At the end of 2017 roughly 38% of residential customers in the Boston area had selected a competitive supplier.


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Savings CashJCP&L commercial customers shopping for competitive electric rates in New Jersey can expect to save 15-25% off of their electric bills. According to New Jersey electric switching Stats, over 70% of the commercial load has already been switched over to a competitive supplier. Natural gas prices are near a 10-year low, which is currently putting downward pressure on electricity wholesale rates. By locking in a long term rate a business will be protected against any spikes in the energy market for over the next few years. With energy prices near record lows the number of JCP&L commercial customers participating in energy choice will continue to increase.

Participating in energy choice will have no negative impact on the quality of power a business receives from the local distribution company (JCP&L). JCP&L will still be in charge of maintaining the lines and wires that deliver the electricity from the delivery point to your place of business. They will continue to charge the distribution cost, which is a regulated charge. Whether you decide to keep JCP&L for your basic generation service or switch to a competitive supplier, the distribution charges will remain the same.

Shopping for competitive electric rates has never been easier. JCP&L provides the official price to compare rate on the electric bill. This is the rate a business will use while comparing prices with a competitive supplier. The price to compare rate will include all components of the supply charge including New Jersey’s usage and sales tax (SUT). When comparing rates it is important to review the contract carefully to make sure your business is comparing apples-to-apples to JCP&L’S price to compare rate. A number of services are becoming available that can help find the lowest price, based on term and rate classification. ElectricRate.com offers a platform that provides a side-by-side comparison to JCP&L’s basic generation rate and a supplier’s competitive offering. If you want a hassle free experience and unbiased advice they are worth checking out.

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For over a decade energy choice in Maryland has allowed consumers to shop for competitive priced energy contracts for their homes and businesses. While electricity choice participation and familiarity has increased drastically over the last few years, gas choice awareness in Maryland has lagged behind. Due to recent rising default prices in the state’s largest gas utility, BGE, gas choice awareness is poised to finally grow.

BGE, who is both Maryland’s largest electric and gas utility, delivers gas to over 626,000 residential customers and another 43,500 commercial and industrial. As of September 2017, data obtained from the Maryland Public Service Commission website reveals that only 136,000 BGE gas residential customers were active gas choice customers purchasing gas supply from an alternative supplier. Customers who have not elected to shop for competitive gas rates have the ability and option to do so at any time, unlike in other states where there is a limited shopping period each year.

The more than 78% of BGE gas customers who have not switched gas suppliers are paying the BGE gas price to compare. Price to compare prices are a variable rate that change each month and can be volatile leaving customers unable to properly manage their monthly energy expenses. For example, BGE reported that their gas price to compare in February of 2018 was $0.5068 per therm, a 22.44% increase in the February 2017 price to compare. In 2017 BGE gas customers saw a low of $0.3877 in March compared to a high of $0.5503 in May on the price to compare rate. The 42% price difference occurred in just a two month period.

Gas choice provides customers with the ability to lock in their price with a fixed gas rate contract. Competitive gas suppliers offering service to BGE customers will state the rate in therms and length of the fixed rate in their contract. While the rate offered can easily be compared to the BGE gas price to compare, it is important to remember that the gas price to compare changes each month. This is immensely different than the BGE electric price to compare which sometimes is fixed for up to eight months allowing customers to easily compare the savings that the competitive rate will yield. Gas choice is as much, if not more, about providing price security as it is about instant savings.

When choosing a competitive gas plan, BGE customers should confirm that the rate is in fact a fixed gas price. Otherwise, if it is not fixed, the customer is just swiping out one variable rate for another. Below are a number of fixed gas rate offers from gas suppliers who have been licensed to sell gas supply to BGE customers through the Maryland Public Service Commission.


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Find Meted Electricity Savings and Avoid 2018 Price Hike

January 9, 2018

On December 1, 2017 Met-Ed enacted a price hike on their residential electricity customers who are on the utilities default supply service price. The former default price of $0.05995 went up to $0.06816 representing a 13.7% increase that will effect an estimated 335,769 customers who receive their power supply from Met-Ed. Fortunately for these customers […]

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Penelec Rate Increase in 2018 set to Spur Electricity Shopping

January 5, 2018

First Energy Corps’ electric utility Penelec announced a large price increase in late 2018 for their customers who are the price to compare residential rate structure. The price increase went into effect on December 1, 2017 and will first become apparent to thousands of customers in January 2018 as the Penelec electric bill with the […]

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National Grid Massachusetts Rate Increase 2017 Update

October 27, 2017

National Grid electric bills in Massachusetts are going to be substantially higher this winter for customers who have not selected a competitive supplier. According to the most recent data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, the higher National Grid electric bills will effect just over 600,000 residential customers. The cause of the the […]

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BGE Commercial Customers Selecting a Competitive Supplier Can Expect Immediate Savings

September 27, 2017

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) Commercial Customers looking to shop around for competitive electric rates can expect a lower electric bill upon choosing a competitive supplier. The deregulation of the electricity market in Maryland is opening the doors for competitive suppliers to offer lower rates than a BGE commercial customer can expect to receive from […]

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PP&L Comparison Shopping Allows Customers to Avoid Summer 2017 Rate Jump

July 21, 2017

Consumer energy price comparison site Electricrate.com is urging more than 700,000 residential customers living in central Pennsylvania to take five minutes to shop and compare competitive electricity rates. These customers are facing an electricity generation rate increase of 14.17% by PP&L, the Pennsylvania electric utility who delivers power to the central part of the state […]

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Basic Generation Service Rates Rise for PSEG Electricity Customers

June 5, 2017

Residential PSEG electricity customers who are on the basic generation service rate are getting hit with a summer rate increase. The basic generation service rate is the price for electricity power supply that customers pay who have not chosen to buy their power from a competitive supplier. As an energy choice state New Jersey residents […]

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