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After spending way longer than I wanted to calling/searching the website of every third party electric and Natural gas provider for my area, I figured I would share my results for anyone else interested. I know saving 0.03 /kwh really isn't that much money saved per month, but the costs add up and frankly I would rather give less business to my local utility company.

I live in NJ, PSE&G is my local utility company, and I was only looking at residential rates (for comparison, current rates are 0.60 /therm and 0.115 /kwh)

Cheapest Gas:

Ambit- 42 cents/therm
Nj gas and electric- 48 cents/ therm, no contract (variable month to month rate)
Plymouth Rock - 45 cents/therm (variable month to month rate)
Systrum Energy - 48.95 cents/therm (variable month to month rate)
Viridian Energy - 40 cents/therm (variable month to month rate) *UPDATE: DO NOT SWITCH TO Virdian, THEY WILL RAISE RATE AFTER SECOND MONTH*


Cheapest Electricity:

Starion Energy - 0.0899 per kwh (variable month to month rate)
Systrum Energy- 0.0878 per kwh (variable month to month rate)
almco/Columbia- 0.0849 per kwh (variable month to month rate) *UPDATE: DO NOT SWITCH TO PALMCO, THEY WILL RAISE RATE AFTER FIRST MONTH*

Verde Energy USA ($50 sign up bonus, variable month to month rate), Gateway ($75 visa gift card, 6 month fixed rate with no early termination fees), and Constellation Energy ($25 Visa Gift card, but requires 1 year contract) offer sign up bonuses.

No company I talked too had a fee for joining, with some having a fee for early termination. I should note these are not all the third party suppliers, just the ones worth mentioning.

Perhaps others can post rates for other geographical areas.

Update for PSE&G customers:

So, there is way too much variation in the variable rates. I have switched to systrum for electric and gas, who claim to always be cheaper than PSE&G rates; they set their rate based on PSE&G. http://www.systrumenergy.com/OurServices.aspx 

Update: for those who don't read through the thread, Viridian gives a good intro rate for a couple of months than the rate jumps up. Systrum energy seems to have consistently lower prices than PSE&G.

There are some sign up bonuses that you can collect if you switch to certain companies (i.e., North American Power, Constellation energy). They WILL RAISE YOUR RATE AFTER THE FIRST MONTH IF IT IS A VARIABLE RATE. You switch for the sign up bonus, and switch back ASAP; they offer the sign up bonus so they don't have to offer good rates.

UPDATE: Systrum has raised their rates for electricity by a significant amount during the winter months, and are not a good option to switch to right now.

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Folks FYI, similar to what happened last year, I found this Oct 23 announcement on PSEG's website: "Public Service Elect... (more)

janito (Oct. 26, 2014 @ 8:07p) |

I have the same question...anyone?

davidmcd (Oct. 27, 2014 @ 2:10p) |

What you pay in the future will partially depend on the weather, and whether your supplier has locked in supplies on a l... (more)

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wow...clearly cheaper than Invado

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I'm in NJ as well so thanks for doing the research for me. Just like to point out that PSEG is offering a one-time $50 credit if you install their thermostat which power-cycles during peak hours of use. You must use the thermostat for at least 2 years.

Also does anyone know if switching to a third-party provider will affect the equal payment plan or government subsidies?

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BMWLVR82 said:   wow...clearly cheaper than Invado

and OP did for free was Invado charges their employees to do.

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You have a CHOICE? No such choices in Southern California.

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For GA folks - 1 year fixed rate, rates in cents/therm
Georgia Natural Gas - 61.9 (signup get a $40 bill credit)
Infinite Energy - 53.5
Gas South - 59.0 (signup get a $75 bill credit)
Coweta Fayette EMC Natural Gas - 55.2
Fireside Natural Gas - 56.0
SCANA Energy - 59.9
Stream Energy - 59.9
Walton EMC Natural Gas - 58.6


Electricity -
Georgia Power - 4.6 cents/kWh

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tjguitar85 said:   You have a CHOICE? No such choices in Southern California.

Were you in Southern California in 1996-2001? Choice in providers did exist. It didn't go so well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis

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money2011 said:   I'm in NJ as well so thanks for doing the research for me. Just like to point out that PSEG is offering a one-time $50 credit if you install their thermostat which power-cycles during peak hours of use. You must use the thermostat for at least 2 years.

Also does anyone know if switching to a third-party provider will affect the equal payment plan or government subsidies?


Im not sure about the equal pay plan, you can contact PSE&G, but I doubt they will be able to do so. Many third party guys do allow an equal payment type plan, so you can always ask them as well.

Thanks for the green from people, probably my first green post on FW, lol.

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Stubtify said:   tjguitar85 said:   You have a CHOICE? No such choices in Southern California.

Were you in Southern California in 1996-2001? Choice in providers did exist. It didn't go so well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis


Only in CA where deregulation =

Energy deregulation put the three companies that distribute electricity into a tough situation. Energy deregulation policy froze or capped the existing price of energy that the three energy distributors could charge. ... When the electricity demand in California rose, utilities had no financial incentive to expand production, as long term prices were capped.

produce for about three cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, they were paying eleven cents, twenty cents, fifty cents or more; and, yet, they were capped at 6.7 cents per kilowatt hours in terms of what they could charge their retail customers.

Emphasis mine.

The obstacles for new generation must be ridiculous in CA.

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For MD

http://www.opc.state.md.us/opc/ConsumerCorner/RetailSuppliers/El...


FYI, I signed up for ConEd electric in the spring of the last two years for a 6 month terms, since I don't use much electricity in the winter/spring. And WGES variable rate for gas, though am considering going on a longer term contract this winter since I can't imagine nat gas rate will go much lower.

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Verde Energy USA ($50 sign up bonus), Gateway ($75 visa gift card), and Constellation Energy ($25 Visa Gift card, but requires 1 year contract) offer sign up bonuses.

Be wary of Gateway. In the gas price, I selected variable rate option which suppose to change with Market price. Guess what, they are NOT required to change with market rate and decided not to change it when market rate went down (like last year.)

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NYKnicksFan said:   Verde Energy USA ($50 sign up bonus), Gateway ($75 visa gift card), and Constellation Energy ($25 Visa Gift card, but requires 1 year contract) offer sign up bonuses.

Be wary of Gateway. In the gas price, I selected variable rate option which suppose to change with Market price. Guess what, they are NOT required to change with market rate and decided not to change it when market rate went down (like last year.)


Same expereince here with Gateway. Stay away with this company and the enticing Bonus. Gateway Gas prices were actually increasing while PSEG (and Market prices) prices have gone down significanlty. I decided to go back to PSEG. I calcualted I was losing out about $12/mo with Gateway. It took almost 3 months for them to switch back to PSEG.

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When I read the title, I thought for sure it was a post by a new user (shill) re: Invado.

Glad to see you're a real person, OP! Green for not being a shill

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This would be a great thread to sticky with a list for each state.

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You have to watch out for differences in contracts, like whether the price can fluctuate month to month, termination fees, notice when to switch suppliers, etc.

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Argyll said:   You have to watch out for differences in contracts, like whether the price can fluctuate month to month, termination fees, notice when to switch suppliers, etc.

Should have included that information in my first post; it has been updated now.

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Chargum85 said:   This would be a great thread to sticky with a list for each state.
If enough folks wanna participate. Problem is prices change monthly. It would require a ton of maintenance. There are some websites tha track for some states already.

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money2011 said:   I'm in NJ as well so thanks for doing the research for me. Just like to point out that PSEG is offering a one-time $50 credit if you install their thermostat which power-cycles during peak hours of use. You must use the thermostat for at least 2 years.

Also does anyone know if switching to a third-party provider will affect the equal payment plan or government subsidies?


I am in NJ and use Constellation. No equal payment plan. It would have to come from the new provider not the Elec Co. Signed up with them about 18 months ago for 2yrs electric from a deal here and got a $150 Target gift card. As of now I am only saving about 4%. When I started it was 11%. You have to realize though that about 30% of your bill is still PSE&G fees.

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I don't understand my friend swears Invado and Referida is the future. "Imagine... this could be the next Groupon or Facebook" he says.

rated:
imbatman said:   Chargum85 said:   This would be a great thread to sticky with a list for each state.
If enough folks wanna participate. Problem is prices change monthly. It would require a ton of maintenance. There are some websites tha track for some states already.


Public Utilities Commision of Ohio provides an "Apples to Apples" comparison for both electricity and natural gas.

http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/index.cfm/apples-to-apples/

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Does anyone know if us Hawaiians have a choice? All I know of is hawaiian electric company.

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well in texas, the variable rate plans are often 'teaser rates'- they will massively raise your rates after 1 month- sometimes almost doubling it. Not sure if this is the case in NJ, but might wanna check it out.

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alohastephen said:   Does anyone know if us Hawaiians have a choice? All I know of is hawaiian electric company.

you have great weather, what are you complaining about?

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In Maryland Washington Gas customers can obtain gas for $0.299/therm from Maryland Energy. I just switched.
Link -> http://www.marylandenergy.com/products/washington_residential.as...

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Here is the landing page for a summary of alternative energy providers and issues presented by the Illinois Citizens' Utility Board, which is kind of a public utilities watchdog group:

http://www.citizensutilityboard.org/electricgaschoice.html .

I just switched my electricity provider but have elected not to switch my gas provider, as it's not clear to me if or how much cheaper it would be.

rated:
Based on experience last year and projections going forward in ERCOT be careful what you ask for. Our largest deregulated provider lost $300million 1Q and is rated CC. Our second largest provider lost $200million 1Q and is rated either B+ or B.

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Zaos said:   Stubtify said:   tjguitar85 said:   You have a CHOICE? No such choices in Southern California.

Were you in Southern California in 1996-2001? Choice in providers did exist. It didn't go so well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis


Only in CA where deregulation =

Energy deregulation put the three companies that distribute electricity into a tough situation. Energy deregulation policy froze or capped the existing price of energy that the three energy distributors could charge. ... When the electricity demand in California rose, utilities had no financial incentive to expand production, as long term prices were capped.

produce for about three cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, they were paying eleven cents, twenty cents, fifty cents or more; and, yet, they were capped at 6.7 cents per kilowatt hours in terms of what they could charge their retail customers.

Emphasis mine.

The obstacles for new generation must be ridiculous in CA.
You could have just copied the Wikipedia summary which does a much better job of explaining what happened.The California electricity crisis, also known as the Western U.S. Energy Crisis of 2000 and 2001 was a situation in which California had a shortage of electricity caused by market manipulations and illegal shutdowns of pipelines by Texas energy consortiums. The state suffered from multiple large-scale blackouts, one of the state's largest energy companies collapsed, and the economic fall-out greatly harmed Governor Gray Davis's standing.

Drought, delays in approval of new power plants,[4] and market manipulation decreased supply. This caused 800% increase in wholesale prices from April 2000 to December 2000.[5] In addition, rolling blackouts adversely affected many businesses dependent upon a reliable supply of electricity, and inconvenienced a large number of retail consumers.

California had an installed generating capacity of 45GW. At the time of the blackouts, demand was 28GW. A demand supply gap was created by energy companies, mainly Enron, to create an artificial shortage. Energy traders took power plants offline for maintenance in days of peak demand to increase the price.[6][7] Traders were thus able to sell power at premium prices, sometimes up to a factor of 20 times its normal value. Because the state government had a cap on retail electricity charges, this market manipulation squeezed the industry's revenue margins, causing the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and near bankruptcy of Southern California Edison in early 2001.[8]

The financial crisis was possible because of partial deregulation legislation instituted in 1996 by Governor Pete Wilson. Enron took advantage of this deregulation and was involved in economic withholding and inflated price bidding in California's spot markets.[9] The crisis cost $40 to $45 billion.[10]
Emphasis mine. Have we already forgotten about Enron? It sounds a bit like the deregulation of banks through the repeal of Glass-Steagall by Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

rated:
I work for a retail energy company (one of the biggest) and I would recommend everyone to be very cautious with signing up for a variable rate product. It provides the marketer with basically free reign to charge whatever "market" price is per month. It is one of our most profitable products with virtually no risk taken by the marketer.

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OK stupid question... I'm in NJ as well using PSE&G. I use their "worry-free" maintenance contract to cover my frig (it's paid for itself many times over). If I switch suppliers, does my bill still come from PSE&G (& can I keep my service contract with them) or do you totally switch to the new company?

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larryc said:   OK stupid question... I'm in NJ as well using PSE&G. I use their "worry-free" maintenance contract to cover my frig (it's paid for itself many times over). If I switch suppliers, does my bill still come from PSE&G (& can I keep my service contract with them) or do you totally switch to the new company?

Yes, PSE&G still generates the bill, and they still take your money (so your "worry-free" should be fine).

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imbatman said:   Chargum85 said:   This would be a great thread to sticky with a list for each state.
If enough folks wanna participate. Problem is prices change monthly. It would require a ton of maintenance. There are some websites tha track for some states already.


So, I am not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but in NJ with PSE&G for the supplier, I can tell you that Palmco/Columbia has had the lowest electricity rates for all of 2012. I was on the energyplus 10000 skymiles bonus when I learned about how much cheaper Palmco is, and was eagerly waiting to shop around and see who the cheapest was. I haven't shopped around enough for natural gas to say who the cheapest is always, but I think that might depend.

That being said, I can almost guarantee, at any given time, one of the companies in the list I posted will be the cheapest for electric and natural gas in my area. The ones that are more expensive are generally always more expensive; the ones that are cheaper are generally always cheaper (most of them are family owned which I like). Obviously, the only caveat is that new electric companies keep popping up trying to capture the huge tri-state market, so you would have to keep checking those.

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Daddio1949 said:   In Maryland Washington Gas customers can obtain gas for $0.299/therm from Maryland Energy. I just switched.
Link -> http://www.marylandenergy.com/products/washington_residential.as...


This is only good for the first 50 customers who sign up. After that, the rate goes more than 50 cents.

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brandon032586 said:   imbatman said:   Chargum85 said:   This would be a great thread to sticky with a list for each state.
If enough folks wanna participate. Problem is prices change monthly. It would require a ton of maintenance. There are some websites tha track for some states already.


So, I am not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but in NJ with PSE&G for the supplier, I can tell you that Palmco/Columbia has had the lowest electricity rates for all of 2012. I was on the energyplus 10000 skymiles bonus when I learned about how much cheaper Palmco is, and was eagerly waiting to shop around and see who the cheapest was. I haven't shopped around enough for natural gas to say who the cheapest is always, but I think that might depend.

That being said, I can almost guarantee, at any given time, one of the companies in the list I posted will be the cheapest for electric and natural gas in my area. The ones that are more expensive are generally always more expensive; the ones that are cheaper are generally always cheaper (most of them are family owned which I like). Obviously, the only caveat is that new electric companies keep popping up trying to capture the huge tri-state market, so you would have to keep checking those.


The cheaper ones are less solvent. Check the credit ratings before you jump. It is not unusual for large producers and aggregators to require the less solvent to pay in advance. Did that to Palm Beach Utilities some 20 years ago. If their credit is junk bond status I would tend to worry. One large commercial or industrial customer delaying payment or not paying could pull them under.

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nsdp said:   brandon032586 said:   imbatman said:   Chargum85 said:   This would be a great thread to sticky with a list for each state.
If enough folks wanna participate. Problem is prices change monthly. It would require a ton of maintenance. There are some websites tha track for some states already.


So, I am not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but in NJ with PSE&G for the supplier, I can tell you that Palmco/Columbia has had the lowest electricity rates for all of 2012. I was on the energyplus 10000 skymiles bonus when I learned about how much cheaper Palmco is, and was eagerly waiting to shop around and see who the cheapest was. I haven't shopped around enough for natural gas to say who the cheapest is always, but I think that might depend.

That being said, I can almost guarantee, at any given time, one of the companies in the list I posted will be the cheapest for electric and natural gas in my area. The ones that are more expensive are generally always more expensive; the ones that are cheaper are generally always cheaper (most of them are family owned which I like). Obviously, the only caveat is that new electric companies keep popping up trying to capture the huge tri-state market, so you would have to keep checking those.


The cheaper ones are less solvent. Check the credit ratings before you jump. It is not unusual for large producers and aggregators to require the less solvent to pay in advance. Did that to Palm Beach Utilities some 20 years ago. If their credit is junk bond status I would tend to worry. One large commercial or industrial customer delaying payment or not paying could pull them under.


Can you explain the risk to consumer in that case? If you don't sign a contract or put a deposit down, you can leave whenever you want, what risk is there to the (residential) consumer? That being said, some of the smaller companies have been around for a while, but just haven't grown in the a huge company. They keep prices low by having only a few sales people and with no marketing departments.

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Op - did you see this? Huge list.

http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/commercial/shopping.html#nbr5

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brandon032586 said:   nsdp said:   brandon032586 said:   imbatman said:   Chargum85 said:   This would be a great thread to sticky with a list for each state.
If enough folks wanna participate. Problem is prices change monthly. It would require a ton of maintenance. There are some websites tha track for some states already.


So, I am not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but in NJ with PSE&G for the supplier, I can tell you that Palmco/Columbia has had the lowest electricity rates for all of 2012. I was on the energyplus 10000 skymiles bonus when I learned about how much cheaper Palmco is, and was eagerly waiting to shop around and see who the cheapest was. I haven't shopped around enough for natural gas to say who the cheapest is always, but I think that might depend.

That being said, I can almost guarantee, at any given time, one of the companies in the list I posted will be the cheapest for electric and natural gas in my area. The ones that are more expensive are generally always more expensive; the ones that are cheaper are generally always cheaper (most of them are family owned which I like). Obviously, the only caveat is that new electric companies keep popping up trying to capture the huge tri-state market, so you would have to keep checking those.


The cheaper ones are less solvent. Check the credit ratings before you jump. It is not unusual for large producers and aggregators to require the less solvent to pay in advance. Did that to Palm Beach Utilities some 20 years ago. If their credit is junk bond status I would tend to worry. One large commercial or industrial customer delaying payment or not paying could pull them under.


Can you explain the risk to consumer in that case? If you don't sign a contract or put a deposit down, you can leave whenever you want, what risk is there to the (residential) consumer? That being said, some of the smaller companies have been around for a while, but just haven't grown in the a huge company. They keep prices low by having only a few sales people and with no marketing departments.


The risk is if the provider can't prepay the producer/aggregator your gas is turned off. The producer/aggregator-provider contract is under FERC jurisdiction and your state PUC can't help. Valero waited until after the severe freeze Christmas 89 was over to turn off the gas but others don't have to be so charitable.

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dmk112 said:   Op - did you see this? Huge list.

http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/commercial/shopping.html#nbr5



Those are the companies I contacted. I didn't list them all because that would take too long is unnecessary many were much more expensive.

Again, I am not seeing much of the risk, as I don't think you are personally liable for that stuff and you just switch back. Sure it is an inconvenience, but also unlikely, I am willing to take the risk for the 0.03 /kwh and 0.20/therm savings.

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thanks to this thread, I switched my gas from Gateway (I was on variable at .59 to Ambit at .42. I switched over from PSE&G (in NJ) a while back and didn't realize that my variable rate was not as competitive. This thread will remind me that I have to keep an eye on it. I will now look at my electric choices (currently with JCP&L).

Skipping 258 Messages...
rated:
What you pay in the future will partially depend on the weather, and whether your supplier has locked in supplies on a long term contract (and whether you have a fixed rate contract).

Weather Bell, a research firm with a good history has put out their winter forecast, which can be seen at Icecap.com (a climate skeptic site). Look on left hand side and scroll down till you see the map labeled WeatherBell Forecast with a lot of bright blue. The blue is forecast anomaly (difference from average) that is negative.  The unusually cold winter forecast covers most of the US (parts of the West are forecast slightly above average). The Midwest and Northeast are forecast to be much colder than normal, which means more fuel usage and higher natural gas prices. They provide the actual for last winter (which is what the complaints seem to be about). Be warned. (note the color coding on the two maps differs).

The Middle Column deals with possible shortages, with the major information being in the quote below. Of course IceCap's purpose is to present the evidence that the main stream media is unaware of, and chooses to ignore. However, the combination of low pipeline capacity for New England and a cold winter suggests some very high spot prices, and problems for anyone exposed to them. Having a dishonest or incompetent supplier could make it worse.

While I hope some here will benefit from seeing the evidence on the other side, there is real information on this site which could save some in the Northeast and Midwest money.

"Residents of the northeast spent as much last winter as they did in all of 2012. Most residents of Massachusetts and much of New Hampshire can expect to pay 30-50 percent more for electricity this winter.Dan Dolan of the New England Power Generators Association said the rising winter prices are a side effect of New England wanting more electricity from gas, and less from other sources, without moving ahead to build more pipeline capacity into the region.“We had a nuclear plant in Vermont, Vermont Yankee, that’s retiring, a coal plant in Massachusetts, Salem Harbor, that’s retiring, and with that, it’s basic economics: Fewer plants, less supply to meet demand, and there’s a price response” in the form of higher rates, Dolan said.National Grid, Massachusetts’s biggest utility, said it needs to seek a 37 percent rate hike for the six months beginning November 1. In New Hampshire, the Public Utilities Commission already has granted an average 47-percent rate increase to Liberty Utilities."
. . . .
"We were told by the Director of Pennsylvania Power and Light that their reliability study forecasts even gas producer Pennsylvania will have rolling blackouts this winter if it is cold. NY and New England will be much worse off.We forecast in July 2013 an historic winter last year even as NOAA predicted widespread warmth. NOAA forecasts warmth again this year, but there is strong evidence an even colder winter will follow in the east and south. The US winters have cooled for 25 years at an accelerating rate according to NOAA’s own data."

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