• Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
In PA, we can choose our electricity supplier (and I think a few other states). I've been doing some research, and I've found a few things:

There's a lot of bull out there, as some are doing MLM which is causing people to make up stuff about the products to try and sell them. I've had only one door to door salesperson so far, but didn't answer and was left a pamphlet. http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-hancock-electric-ads-20110206,0,3395246.column the public service commission in MD is PO'ed that consumers are being lied to. I remember reading on consumerist about ConEd customers being scammed in NY by IDT and have no doubt that it will be widespread in PA before too long.

It's important to read all of the fees, rates, and gotchas. Now that the companies can do whatever they want, the prices will be variable instead of fixed, and they'll offer the best rates on their variable services, but that's just what the price is. Companies do offer fixed rate plans, but the price may be a little higher. There's too much competition to pay any sort of extra fees or huge ETF's IMO.

I whittled this article http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2010/12/30/north_penn_life/news/doc4d1a285b2a74a023277712.txt?viewmode=default down and found two suppliers that offered online signup as well as $50 bonuses:

Gateway Energy Services - offers a 4 month fixed price plan that's good until the end of June. $50 rebate card can be applied for after first month of service, must keep service for 90 days to not get billed for card. Card arrives 6-8 weeks after application therefore. Seems easy enough to sign up, get the rebate and at the end of the fixed 4 month plan stay with them or move to another supplier. ETF is $12.50/mo for each month not completed (for a 4 month term this isn't an issue to me).

lowcostpower - offers $50 Cash Back, which can be requested as a check after the first bill and delivered in 4-6 weeks after application. No ETF or contract. This is a monthly variable rate though, so it could go higher. However, I don't think they'd charge so much extra as to cancel out a $50 bonus.

These rates are lower than PECO's rate; PECO says its price to compare is $.0992/kWh and these places are charging on the order of $0.089/kWh.

My plan is to do Gateway first and hope lowcostpower is still doing the promo in July and switch to them. Then just keep watching for other companies offering signup bonuses.

Two other suppliers of note:

PA Energy Cooperative - offers 20% and 100% renewable products that are under PECO's price to compare. Annual membership fee of $15 but they'll waive it without questions if you claim a hardship. Also has connections to bio heating oil suppliers.

ConEdison - offers a fixed rate of $0.0889/kWh for the rest of the year, which is a pretty good deal if you don't want to chase bonuses.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Watched out here. In NY, Energy Plus was giving 3500 miles and promised rates identical or better than ConEd,
By the time... (more)

RussianInNYC (Jun. 14, 2011 @ 7:42p) |

Interesting to learn about negative energy prices, as well as how government subsidies can increase the frequency.

I don'... (more)

christoj879 (Jun. 15, 2011 @ 8:02a) |

This website has some interesting info on the subject:

billeater

IamN41 (Jun. 15, 2011 @ 7:07p) |

Quick Summary is created and edited by users like you... Add FAQ's, Links and other Relevant Information by clicking the edit button in the lower right hand corner of this message.
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

Good work finding some better companies. Every time I looked at this, they were always worse rates (but with good marketing!).

For my first year with PSE&G I was required to put down a $500 deposit which has since been refunded.

When you changed companies to get the signup bonuses, did any of them ask you to put up a deposit?

Deposits wouldn't necessarily take away from the bottom line but would limit liquidity during the process.

Thanks in advance.

I've been with Dominion for a year and they had rates that where 10% lower than my electric provider. That was a year promo though and the rates went up a bit. Looking for a new supplier now so that is good info, thanks OP.

Do they do a hard pull? That would be a deal breaker, probably.

OP green for you, good thread!

Question - since lowcostpower doesn't have ETF or contract, why don't you sign up with them first, cancel as soon as the card arrives (say in 6-8 weeks) and then jump to Gateway for their $50 promo.

Also, US Air and AA are offering 5K miles for sign up with some energy providers (and I think another 2-3 miles per dollar of monthly bill paid), I got emails several weeks ago, will post if I can find them.

ETA: AA 5000 Mile Offer for CT, MD, NJ, NY, PA, TX

Zaos said:   Do they do a hard pull? That would be a deal breaker, probably.

With my past experience and IMO no they typically don't do hard pulls. But yes a good point to take note of, maybe something that should be asked before making the switch.

I'm in PA and I looked into the options but realized that I'm considered Residential Heating Services (RH)
With PECO rates of:
1st 600 kWh : 9.74
over 600 kWh : 5.35

Based on my usage, the lowest competitive rate I found wasn't cheaper than PECO (for now at least).

breaux124 said:   I'm in PA and I looked into the options but realized that I'm considered Residential Heating Services (RH)
With PECO rates of:
1st 600 kWh : 9.74
over 600 kWh : 5.35

Based on my usage, the lowest competitive rate I found wasn't cheaper than PECO (for now at least).


I wish i saw this post earlier. I usually average around 650-700 KWH. I went through the hassle of switching to Steam energy, (Lowest rate i found), but didn't realize the PECO tier pricing. (I know i'm an idiot, finally researched it today).

On top of that i see the rebates offers from other companies x.x from the OP.


One thing to note is that the switchover takes 1-2 months to be implemented.

newbietx said:   OP green for you, good thread!

Question - since lowcostpower doesn't have ETF or contract, why don't you sign up with them first, cancel as soon as the card arrives (say in 6-8 weeks) and then jump to Gateway for their $50 promo.

Also, US Air and AA are offering 5K miles for sign up with some energy providers (and I think another 2-3 miles per dollar of monthly bill paid), I got emails several weeks ago, will post if I can find them.

ETA: AA 5000 Mile Offer for CT, MD, NJ, NY, PA, TX


That may be a better idea. lowcostpower is a monthly variable rate, which I should probably do now while rates are cheaper, but I have a feeling they'll both come out to around $0.099-$0.10/kWh or somewhere close come summertime, and that Gateway might not have their 4 month promo come then.

I'll do some more checking on the rates and any planned increases and how they compare to PECO's planned increases and update once I've made a decision.

breaux124 said:   I'm in PA and I looked into the options but realized that I'm considered Residential Heating Services (RH)
With PECO rates of:
1st 600 kWh : 9.74
over 600 kWh : 5.35

Based on my usage, the lowest competitive rate I found wasn't cheaper than PECO (for now at least).


What does it say on your bill? I've seen those rates but I don't know what they mean. Mine says "Electric Residential Service" and then the charges.

ETA:

Is this two-tier rate plan something they do automatically based on another factor? I use over 600 kWh and don't see anything different:

Electric Residential Service - Current Period Detail Service 01/04/2011 to 02/03/2011 - 30 days
Customer charge $7.25
Generation Charges 687 kWh X $0.09070 62.31
Alt. Energy Portfolio Standard 687 kWh X 0.00120 0.82
Transmission Charges 687 kWh X 0.00730 5.02
Distribution Charges 687 kWh X 0.05960 40.95
State Tax Adjustment -0.03

http://www2.directenergy.com/friendsandfamily/default.aspx
code: Family - TX area only
code: Friends - Maryland, NJ, Penn, Ohio, CT

An employee does not receive any monetary benefit from this. Also, I don't think you have to put a referral name.

whatwasitodo said:   http://www2.directenergy.com/friendsandfamily/default.aspx
code: Family - TX area only
code: Friends - Maryland, NJ, Penn, Ohio, CT

An employee does not receive any monetary benefit from this. Also, I don't think you have to put a referral name.


$0.0922 for PA for 12 months. The ConEd deal is cheaper, though this one is for 12 months while ConEd is til the end of the year.

As stated before:

1st 600 kWh : 9.74
over 600 kWh : 5.35

Make sure that you pay attention to the breakdowns of price per kWh on a usage basis. I know that in TX, the companies get out of control with the variability based on usage.

I am in Westchester COunty, NY and currently a ConEd customer. ConEd does not have a reputation for low rates, but the few times I have looked at competitive services right after deragulation in NY, all I got was BS, no rates quoted, and the operators all looked shady (anybody who cannot tell me their rates and just answers "rates are variable" when I call them is shady!) The one or two alternate providers who actually uoted rates appeared to be about the same as ConEd, so not worth the trouble switching...

Does anybody know reputable electricity ( & natural gas?) sellers who have a better rate, no ETF, good service and any other reasons to switch in NYS?

Thanks

m2go said:   I am in Westchester COunty, NY and currently a ConEd customer. ConEd does not have a reputation for low rates, but the few times I have looked at competitive services right after deragulation in NY, all I got was BS, no rates quoted, and the operators all looked shady (anybody who cannot tell me their rates and just answers "rates are variable" when I call them is shady!) The one or two alternate providers who actually uoted rates appeared to be about the same as ConEd, so not worth the trouble switching...

Does anybody know reputable electricity ( & natural gas?) sellers who have a better rate, no ETF, good service and any other reasons to switch in NYS?
Same exact question (and location and services) for me. I actually had gas through Robison Oil for a few years, realized recently that they were charging MORE than Con Edison so I canceled that and I am back with Con Ed. I have recently received mailings from Gateway Energy for a $75 Visa gift card if I sign up with them for 7 months (for both services, $35 if Electric only, $40 if gas only). They had quoted me 69.42c/therm and 7.3c/kWh back in December but I did not sign up (the gas price seemed ok but the electric seemed high). The biggest problem I've found is that Con Ed does not have a history of rates on THEIR site. so you do not have good historical data to compare the quotes to.

The fact is that rates typically ARE variable. What I'd like to see is someone who says that they will guarantee that their price is not higher than Con Ed. That way, you save the sales tax on the supply portion (which most of the suppliers advertise as the main advantage to using them) and cannot lose anything by paying more than I would otherwise for the supply.

Texas has had retail competition for years. It used to take about 4-6 weeks to switch in Texas, now it takes about 9 days if you have a new digital meter. I am currently paying 8.9 cents/kwh with NO monthly base fee which is nice for the months I use less power. I'd suggest if you post a deal here, post which state or even which region it is for as those rates can vary within a state.

The biggest problem I've found is that Con Ed does not have a history of rates on THEIR site. so you do not have good historical data to compare the quotes to.

The fact is that rates typically ARE variable. What I'd like to see is someone who says that they will guarantee that their price is not higher than Con Ed.


Yes, I agree -- rates are variable. But leaving it at that, and letting the energy supplier decide the rates unilaterally opens the door for abuse. Would you sign up for an ARM mortgage with the mere statements "we are cheaper, sign here, rates are variable"?> NO! - a competent mortgage customer is looking for rules, e.g., an index + a marging, a cap on change over a year, total cap, or some other framework that suggests I can predect and check whether they are being abused, etc etc.

Until then, better the monopoly I know, then risks with rates I can't predict, contracts I can't get out of and savings that won't materialize. The savings just aren't there, and even if they are, the downside are higher than the savings. And I don't plan on checking rates every month to go from supplier to supplier.

Now, if we had a robust energy supplier market with transparent rules, how would I love the free arket... But your rules on the web site, write them in the contrcat, and ideally, list them all with the PSC so I can pick out the one with the best rates. Long live capitalism! Until then, I'll stay away from the robber barons I don't care to know, for the monopoly devil I already know.

Texas has a list of all the offers at www.powertochoose.org with all disclosures/contracts on one site run by the PUC. Other states should do the same too.

lonestarguy said:   Texas has a list of all the offers at www.powertochoose.org with all disclosures/contracts on one site run by the PUC. Other states should do the same too.Nice -- I especially like the Complaint Scorecard.

christoj879 said:   
What does it say on your bill? I've seen those rates but I don't know what they mean. Mine says "Electric Residential Service" and then the charges.


I'm considered "Residential Heating Service", I'm assuming because I have an electric heatpump.

The sites I used to compare:
http://www.oca.state.pa.us/Industry/Electric/elecomp/ElectricGui...
and
http://www.papowerswitch.com/shop-for-electricity/

I've read lots of negative things about Con-Ed in New York and because of that I would never consider switching to them.

breaux124 said:   christoj879 said:   
What does it say on your bill? I've seen those rates but I don't know what they mean. Mine says "Electric Residential Service" and then the charges.


I'm considered "Residential Heating Service", I'm assuming because I have an electric heatpump.

The sites I used to compare:
http://www.oca.state.pa.us/Industry/Electric/elecomp/ElectricGui...
and
http://www.papowerswitch.com/shop-for-electricity/

I've read lots of negative things about Con-Ed in New York and because of that I would never consider switching to them.


I wish they would show comparisons of the default monthly service charge (ie. the 'connection' fee).

Energy Plus is now serving IL. I just got an offer for 5000 AA Miles.

Be very careful with Energy Plus. I did analysis last year comparing their variable rates against utility rates - they were 20-30% higher during the summer (thus way offsetting any mileage benefit). And it took almost 60 days to leave them to go back to the utility.
On my $300/mo summer electricity bill, I have probably lost $500 with Energy plus.

Anything for gas and electric for Virginia?

i'm with Dominion Power and Wshington Gas, default company/monopolies when i moved into my house 10yrs ago

Just moved to TX and was excited to have a choice. Plugged my zip in and had no available offers.

From the material energy+ sends me, I think they do a hard pull.

ENERGY COOPERATIVE OF AMERICA seems to have consistently better rates (factoring in tax) than my utility. Was 0.04673 (supply only) for feb.

Update: I kind of drug my feet with all of this, but did end up signing up for Verde/lowcostpower. I sent in the rebate and got the $50 check in about two weeks. The check said they pay $25 for referrals, so if the referral can also get the $50 then it may be worth having friends go through the same process.

I've only gotten two bills from them but they're 10-20% lower than last year's, and we've been running the AC quite a bit. I was surprised. I'm going to continue to look for more sign up bonuses and keep switching.

I'm in Westchester County, NY and switched to SJ Energy Services for gas several years ago. At the time, their rate seemed good, but I have have no idea how it compares now. I'm going to post my rates for the past 9 months. I'd appreciate it if somebody could compare with the rates they got from Con Ed for those months. The price listed is only the supply charge.
BEGIN			END			RATE ($ per therm)
05/04/11	06/03/11	0.615
04/05/11	05/04/11	0.618
03/07/11	04/05/11	0.628
02/03/11	03/07/11	0.721
01/04/11	02/03/11	0.645
12/03/10	01/04/11	0.625
11/01/10	12/03/10	0.602
10/01/10	11/01/10	0.675
09/01/10	10/01/10	0.689

yurgreat said:   Anything for gas and electric for Virginia?

i'm with Dominion Power and Wshington Gas, default company/monopolies when i moved into my house 10yrs ago


For the MD/DC/VA region, the gas offers have ranged around 72 cents per therm (1 year contract) and under 9 cents per KwH for electricity (1 year contract).

Watch out for "promo" rates.

In 2008 ConEd offered the best rate with the calendar year lock in for new customers. As soon as the year rolls over, their default rate kicks in, which is - of course - much higher. To add to your aggrevation - the timing issue (you dont get to know the new rates till the end of the year and it takes a month and a half to make a switch) means you end up paying 15% extra generation cost on everything for a couple of months even if you are not slacking on your part at all.

I'm with Dominion now (since they are the lowest). As soon as they try pulling any tricks with their rates - I'm bailing.

Moral of the story : keep looking at your electricity bill with a hawk eye, specially the Gen portion. The transmission part is typically going to the legally mandated, regulated ISOs and there isn't much you can do about it.

Off Topic Rant:
I wish they would further de-regulate electricity prices. I was surprised when I first learned that it is not uncommon to have power prices go negative at night (basically it's cheaper for plant owners to pay to you take electricity than it is for them to shut down their plant and start it up again). As soon as you pass on this fluctuation to the consumer - you will see a barrage of smart appliances that can be programmed to use power only when the cost is low. It should also smooth out the demand curve - leading to less prices overall. The fault tolerance and the quick draw capacity required to handle the irregular demand curve is pretty high and this cost is passed on to all consumers. The smoother is the demand curve - the better it is for everybody.

fedguy said:   yurgreat said:   Anything for gas and electric for Virginia?

i'm with Dominion Power and Wshington Gas, default company/monopolies when i moved into my house 10yrs ago


For the MD/DC/VA region, the gas offers have ranged around 72 cents per therm (1 year contract) and under 9 cents per KwH for electricity (1 year contract).


Who? link??

yurgreat said:   fedguy said:   yurgreat said:   Anything for gas and electric for Virginia?

i'm with Dominion Power and Wshington Gas, default company/monopolies when i moved into my house 10yrs ago


For the MD/DC/VA region, the gas offers have ranged around 72 cents per therm (1 year contract) and under 9 cents per KwH for electricity (1 year contract).


Who? link??


Washington Gas Energy Services and NOVEC (Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative) were offering 72 cents per therm for gas and Constellation Energy and Dominion Power were offering electricity for just under 9 cents per KwH for MD residents. I don't know if VA is offering the same deals. Check with the State Utility Commission for the list of providers for your specific area. They should have an eligible list of utility providers either on the State Utility website or your current utility company's website. It varies from state to state and even county to county.

P.S. The gas rate averaged just over 30 cents and electricity over 5 cents over 10 years ago. So much for deregulation.

Watched out here. In NY, Energy Plus was giving 3500 miles and promised rates identical or better than ConEd,
By the time I realized that it was not the case (took a year - yet another no price transparency case loved by many on FW) , I over-payed more than 1000 dollars.

puddonhead said:   
Off Topic Rant:
I wish they would further de-regulate electricity prices. I was surprised when I first learned that it is not uncommon to have power prices go negative at night (basically it's cheaper for plant owners to pay to you take electricity than it is for them to shut down their plant and start it up again). As soon as you pass on this fluctuation to the consumer - you will see a barrage of smart appliances that can be programmed to use power only when the cost is low. It should also smooth out the demand curve - leading to less prices overall. The fault tolerance and the quick draw capacity required to handle the irregular demand curve is pretty high and this cost is passed on to all consumers. The smoother is the demand curve - the better it is for everybody.


Interesting to learn about negative energy prices, as well as how government subsidies can increase the frequency.

I don't think PECO has it yet but they are coming out with meters that turn down or disable appliances when demand is high. My water heater has an ethernet port on it that gets plugged into a cell-signaled box that PECO will signal to it when to use it more and less. Not available yet AFAIK.

This website has some interesting info on the subject:

billeater

Billeater said: At the time this article was written, the following states had programs that allowed consumer choice: New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Washington D.C., Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan, Virginia, and New Hampshire.



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014