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Old 12-27-2010, 04:39 PM   #1
Wagon Of Fury
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Default Who's gone to an "alternate provider" for electricity/nat gas? (spec: PECO/Exelon)

Seeing how well deregulation worked in the telecomm industry (sarcasm) who's done it and was it easy ? worthwhile ? Pitfalls to avoid ?

What I fail to understand is how if Company B is using all of Company A's product, infrastructure and overhead, how they they legitimately claim to offer the service for less. Something something sounds too good to be something something.

There is no free lunch, and I'm curious to hear peoples experiences.
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Last edited by Wagon Of Fury; 01-27-2011 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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Two hour pity bump, now with moar clarity in thread title
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:02 AM   #3
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one month pity bump, I can't believe nobody has tried this. Seems like the savings aren't HUGE but maybe $10-$15/month
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagon Of Fury View Post
one month pity bump, I can't believe nobody has tried this. Seems like the savings aren't HUGE but maybe $10-$15/month
I keep getting letters about an alternative energy company. PECO still handles pretty much every aspect of my service and bill, but I pay less? Seems like there's a catch that I don't know about.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:10 AM   #5
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i switched to con edison. it won't go into effect until my 2/21/11 bill. you are still billed through peco, you still call peco if you have a power outage, etc. basically, the only thing that is changing is the source of the electricity. it was pretty simple. i signed up online, got a confirmation letter from con edison and one from peco as well.

i am also going to start looking into a new gas supplier/provider as well. same concept as the electricity.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:19 AM   #6
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They have cheaper prices because they can buy the gas cheaper from another supplier. They have to pay the orginal provider a fee for delivery, but it's not that much.

I tried it a few years ago. The process is simple, just sign up for another provider and they bill you like normal. Nothing changes on your end except the price.

I got a bit screwed though. I signed up for a fixed price for like a year. It was cheaper at the time and it was summer so it was expected that prices would increase significantly come winter. But the ecomony collapsed and prices went down a lot. I was still stuck at the same price which was now higher than what the original provider now charged.

I called the new provider and they were willing to change my price to the current one, so it wasn't a big deal in the end. You can definitely save money if you compare what's available. Only other advise is check the prices again in a few months, especially if you got a fixed price. Depending what you agree to you can switch again or negotiate with the one you have.

Overall, there is no good reason not to shop around and save a few bucks.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I keep getting letters about an alternative energy company. PECO still handles pretty much every aspect of my service and bill, but I pay less? Seems like there's a catch that I don't know about.
Since PECO is your utility, they will still be responsible for the transmission and line maintenance. Your provider, let's use ConEd as an example, is entered into long and short term contracts to actually serve the demand for their retail and commercial customers in these newly deregulated zones. Instead of PECO sourcing the MW's, ConEd is. But they're still flowing that electricity over PECO's lines because they're the regional transmission operator.

The price at which power is sold is heavily dependant on the price of natural gas. Right now there is a large available supply and recent drops in demand (people are using less energy) has resulted in power prices that are very low by historical standards. Low prices = competitive markets = happy consumers.

<- Works in the deregulated energy industry and has spent plenty of time at PECO and Exelon.

Last edited by Thaddy; 01-27-2011 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:05 AM   #8
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We have several electricity providers available to many of us in Texas.

it hasn't worked as well as promoted but, I have used 3 different providers.

www.powertochoose.org
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:28 AM   #9
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PECO is the effective monopoly on the area, I have no idea how switching to an other provider will do anything for me when it's the ludicrous amounts of fees PECO charges me which drive the bill up. They probably even have a fee for avoiding fees.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:09 PM   #10
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PECO is the effective monopoly on the area, I have no idea how switching to an other provider will do anything for me when it's the ludicrous amounts of fees PECO charges me which drive the bill up. They probably even have a fee for avoiding fees.
"Sir, I'm afraid we're going to have to charge you the acknowledgement-of-the-existence-of-the-fee-avoidance-fee fee"

So I've dug into this a little moar, for our residential usage of ~700kWH, savings with the one alternate provider will allegedly be maybe $7/month. Some providers offer a fixed lower rate , but hit you with a cancellation fee, others have no cancellation fee, but the rate could theoretically float up and beyond the PECO rate. So yet another thing to monitor...grrr. Also learned this interesting tidbit: PECO has higher rates June-August (peak AC time) ....
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:20 PM   #11
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I have yet to pull the trigger on this either. I keep hearing the media say I am an idiot if I don't switch to a cheaper supplier, but as mentioned, a lot of these other suppliers have their own fees and charges and variable rates that I imagine will quickly remove the "savings" from my pocket.

My thinking for now is, eat the supposed ~$10 I could be saving each month, and wait until things shake out a bit more as to who is the good alternative supplier and who sucks.
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:25 PM   #12
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Im with ^.

I get bombarded by "friends" on fb or where ever asking me to switch to so and so company and ill save all this money. Just seems to good to be true. My house is all electric and perhaps I could save a good chunk of money but ill wait and see how things shake out.
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:27 PM   #13
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I know from personal experience in the industry that the alternative providers are significantly cheaper. Most of the people I talked to in Houston (in 2009 when I still worked at an energy brokerage) that were still with Reliant were paying $0.14-$0.16 per kWh, and it was a variable rate that Reliant set every month however they felt. Reliant was the monopoly in Houston prior to deregulation. Meanwhile, most of the other REPs offered fixed rate 6mo or 12mo contracts for $0.07-$0.08 per kWh.

While we are on the subject though, today SUCKS. Because winters here are generally mild, demand usually falls significantly below production capacity so we sell a **** ton of power to all of you people in other states. Well, this bitch of a cold front that blew through spiked demand, but we already sold off the output in the futures market a long time ago. As a result, Gov. Perry and ERCOT have imposed rolling blackouts all across Texas.

Texas imposes rolling blackouts as mercury drops
Quote:
(Reuters) - The Texas power grid operator on Wednesday imposed rare rolling blackouts as frigid weather swept across the state, leaving nearly 1 million homes temporarily without electricity.

After the cold snap caused 50 generation units with the capacity of 7,000 megawatts to shut down, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for the second most populous state behind California, declared an energy emergency.

ERCOT called on state energy suppliers to cut about 4,000 megawatts worth of power demand in the early hours of the day -- equal to 800,000 homes, using ERCOT's estimate of 1 megawatt per 200 houses in extreme temperatures.

The grid operator reduced that call to about 2,000 MW by noon local time as some generation returned to service.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Texas grid officials are working closely with ERCOT and utility providers to restore power.

"Until that happens, I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event," Perry said in a statement.

The blackouts left homes dark and without heat for up to an hour, caused some schools and businesses to shut and spurred traffic snarls as some traffic lights stopped working.

"Rolling blackouts in Houston: you would have never thought you would see the day in the energy capital of the world," Jack Moore, chief executive of oilfield services equipment maker Cameron said on a conference call conducted from a division office because its Houston headquarters had no power.

There was no sign of significant outages at Houston's massive "refinery row" complex, which comprises about 13 percent of U.S. refining capacity.

Shell Oil Co said severe winter weather triggered a malfunction in fuel production units at its 329,800 barrel-per-day (bpd) joint-venture refinery in Deer Park, Texas.

Freezing weather shut at least 600 million cubic feet per day of natural gas production in three Texas basins, according to data from Bentek Energy [ID:nN02231787].

"Houston faces rolling blackouts, which should be disruptive to residential users. This is not likely to have any major effect on the oil industry," Mark Routt, oil engineer and consultant at KBC in Houston told Reuters.

Refineries and other critical infrastructure have separate power supply agreements with utilities and are less susceptible to interruptions than residential or commercial customers.

In Houston, the state's most populous city, power supplier CenterPoint Energy, started 45-minute "controlled rolling outages" at about 5:45 a.m. local time, affecting about 330,000 customers on a rotating basis.

"These controlled rolling outages are planned emergency measures designed to avoid potentially longer, and more widespread power outages," CenterPoint official Scott Prochazka said in a statement.

Texas supplier Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings Corp., said an undisclosed amount of its 15,400-megawatt Texas generation fleet shut overnight, and is acting to quickly restore units.

American Electric Power Co and PNM Resources also imposed rolling blackouts on their Texas customers.

Weather-related unit outages caused hourly wholesale power prices in Texas to soar 60-fold to $3,000 per megawatt-hour, up from about $50 where they usually trade. That's comparable to about $3 per kilowatt-hour for residential users, though most Texas home-owners have long-term power deals with suppliers that protect them from short-term price spikes.

Wholesale power for Thursday delivery traded in the $325 range, up from about $70 for Wednesday, as cold weather was expected to persist until Friday.

ERCOT forecast peak demand would top 55,000 megawatts on Wednesday and 57,000 MW on Thursday before dropping to about 47,000 MW on Friday.

That is still well below the grid's 2010 summer peak of 65,715 megawatts.

Power emergencies in Texas are rare -- in February 2008 cold weather coupled with dwindling wind supplies triggered a power emergency that caused ERCOT to cut deliveries to some large industrial customers.

Texas saw rolling blackouts in April 2006 due to soaring heat and high demand for air conditioning.

ERCOT serves about 22 million customers in the Lone Star State, representing 85 percent of its electric load and 75 percent of its land.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7116ZH20110202

yyaaaayyyy.
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:39 PM   #14
Thaddy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masskillingspree View Post
I know from personal experience in the industry that the alternative providers are significantly cheaper. Most of the people I talked to in Houston (in 2009 when I still worked at an energy brokerage) that were still with Reliant were paying $0.14-$0.16 per kWh, and it was a variable rate that Reliant set every month however they felt. Reliant was the monopoly in Houston prior to deregulation. Meanwhile, most of the other REPs offered fixed rate 6mo or 12mo contracts for $0.07-$0.08 per kWh.

While we are on the subject though, today SUCKS. Because winters here are generally mild, demand usually falls significantly below production capacity so we sell a **** ton of power to all of you people in other states. Well, this bitch of a cold front that blew through spiked demand, but we already sold off the output in the futures market a long time ago. As a result, Gov. Perry and ERCOT have imposed rolling blackouts all across Texas.

Texas imposes rolling blackouts as mercury drops

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7116ZH20110202

yyaaaayyyy.
I'm working at a company that has generation in DFW and Houston. You should have heard the trade floor this morning when prices were spiking and ERCOT was scrambling to call on every unit possible

By the way, I'm not sure how Texas can sell power to other states when the ERCOT border is a DC-tie, essentially an electric island. Plus, no matter what longer term contracts say, in the real time market the ERCOT operators can always call up any unit to run for reliability purposes. It'll cost a lot, but they have that option in areas of high congestion.

It's only possible for dual-grid generation plants that sit on that physical border of ERCOT and SPP/Entergy/SERC and have the ability to flip a switch to choose where to direct their output.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:43 PM   #15
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evidently we had some coal and gas fired units experience problems with the extreme cold. pipelines or regulators messed up by ice w'ever.

That and extremely high demand had them buying power at 40X the average rate.
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