How Wind Power is Affecting Electricity Prices in Texas

Texas is the leading wind power state in the nation. It reached 15,764 MW of installed capacity in 2015 and doubled its wind capacity since 2009. One MW powers approximately 200 homes in Texas in the summer months but close to 800 homes in the winter months. To put that into perspective, that’s more than double the energy generated by the state with the second-highest wind generation, Iowa.

The growth in wind output has changed the way the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) dispatches gas-fired generation units and can impact off-peak pricing, hour ending 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.  In fact, at night, there have been periods with so much wind power, that one major hub was trading below $0.00/MWh for fifty hours in November of 2015!  This happened again in March, 2016.

Wind Generation by State

When electricity starts selling for nothing, this could result in supply problems if traditional generators cannot sell their power at a profit. With climate change, can anyone guarantee that the steady winds needed for wind generation can be counted on?

Why isn’t the per MWh cost of wind generation impacted in the same way conventional generation is? Prices can go negative because during off-peak hours, the amount of available generation can exceed the demand at that point in time (measured in 15 minute intervals). Unless wind speeds are high enough to require operators to lock the wind blades, output will not be curtailed and traditional generation can be asked to go to minimum generation levels or shut down.

BGE in Maryland Files New SOS Rates

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) has filed new Type I SOS rates for the period October 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017, and Type II SOS rates for the period June 1, 2016 to August 31, 2016.

For mass market customers, the new SOS rates are just slightly lower than both the current rates, and upcoming rates to be in effect from June 1, 2016 through September 30, 2016

BGE’s new SOS supply rates, in cents per kWh, are listed below. These rates reflect the SOS energy rate plus the new transmission rate but do not include transmission or reconciliation.

October 1, 2016 - May 31, 2017 (¢/kWh)

Scheds. G/GU - Type I      8.412

Sched. GS - Type I
 On Peak                  10.268
 Inter.-Peak               8.397
 Off-Peak                  7.662


June 1, 2016 - August 31, 2016

Schedule G - Type II
Generation:         8.049

Schedule GS - Type II
On Peak:           10.836
Intermediate:       7.253
Off Peak:           6.447

Schedules GL, P & T - Type II
On Peak:            9.892
Intermediate:       6.352
Off Peak:           5.527

NY regulators establish regulations to protect electricity customers

The NY Public Service Commission recently ruled that non-utility energy marketers must guarantee cost savings or provide electricity from renewable sources if they sell energy to residential or small commercial customers.

The commission said its new rules for energy service companies, or ESCOs, stem from a broad investigation that discovered what many consumers have complained about for years: Significant over-charging is rampant among some of the marketers.

“We have heard from too many consumers that they were unfairly lulled by aggressive and dishonest ESCO marketing into believing they were getting savings that they did not receive.”

In a recent review of the industry, the PSC determined that some customers are being grossly overcharged.

With this PSC decision, energy service companies that market to residential customers must provide written guarantees that they will charge less than the utility. The exception is for green energy. Energy marketers can charge higher prices for electricity that is at least 30 percent derived from renewable sources. The PSC will review whether exceptions should be made for other residential services sold by energy service companies, such as energy efficiency.

The commission said it will strengthen its process for revoking the eligibility of energy service companies to do business in New York if they are found in violation of state regulations. The PSC is also reviewing other options, such as imposing stiff financial penalties on companies that violate the rules.

United Illuminating Electricity rates to Rise on Jan 1

Solar Energy from Solar PanelsConnecticut regulators have approved new electric rates for the first half of 2016 for customers of The United Illuminating Co. who purchase their power through the utility rather than a competitive supplier.

The so-called standard offer rates approved by the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for the UI Company are more than a penny per kilowatt hour higher than what customers currently are paying. But the newly approved rates for 2016 represent a substantial savings over what standard-offer customers paid over the first six months of 2015.

Under the new rates, which take effect Jan. 1 and run through June 30, UI’s residential generation rate will change from 9.1241 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.7358 cents.

For commercial customers, the rates will be as follows:

  • Rate GS Standard Service rate:
    10.5472 cents/kWh
  • Rate GST Time-of-Use rate:
    12.1275 Peak and
    9.1275/kWh Off-Peak

Generation charges represent about 50 percent of a customer’s monthly electric bill for the typical standard offer customer. The generation charges for standard offer customers represent what it costs the utility companies to procure the electricity and do not include any profit.

About two-thirds of Southern Connecticut’s residential customers receive standard offer generation from UI.

UI customers can reduce their immediate costs and protect themselves from price volatility by obtaining a competitive electricity supply contract.  Contact Better Cost Control today by calling 617-332-7767 x150.

 

Eversource Basic Service Rates Starting Jan 2016

Variable Electric Rate

Eversource (Nstar Electric) has filed new Basic Service rates for the period beginning January 1, 2016. This is the rate that customers that do not have a competitive supply contract will be paying.

Eversource Fixed Rate Small Commercial Customers, for the six month period beginning Jan 1, 2016, will pay a rate  of $0.10570/kWh.

For Eversource Fixed Rate C&I Customers, for the three month period beginning Jan 1, 2016, the rates will be NEMA Zone: $0.10801 and SEMA Zone: $0.10318.

Variable Small Commercial Customers will have monthly rates as follows:

Jan: $0.14106
Feb: $0.14053
March: $0.10089
April: $0.08329
May: $0.07289
June: $0.08462

Large C&I Customers (NEMA)

Jan: $0.11350
Feb: $0.11530
March: $0.09429

Large C&I Customers (SEMA)

Jan: $0.11307
Feb: $0.10593
March: $0.08997

As a comparison, as of the date of this posting, you can obtain a fixed price supply contract at a price of $0.091 to start in January and eliminate all that price volatility.  Contact us at 617-332-7767 x150 to learn more.

Gas Prices are Near Ten Year Lows

The combination of many things, such as warm temperatures, high gas production, large storage and short positions by speculators—has reduced natural gas prices to near 10-year lows this week as we approach winter. The NYMEX November 2015 natural gas futures contract recently dropped to a low of $1.948/MMBtu, the lowest price on a  prompt month since April 2012.

This is only 4 cents above the 10-year low price of $1.902/MMBtu set on April 20, 2012 and illustrates a 22 percent decrease in gas prices in less than a week. Continued warm weather in the first half of November, combined with additional storage injections, could continue to push down NYMEX prices in the short term until colder weather increases heating demand.

Gas Price LowIf this has  you thinking about how to manage your energy costs for the next few years, you are on the right track.

Gas Storage at Record Highs

NYMEX fundamentals have been pushing prices lower.  Gas storage is at a record level due to warmer than normal temperatures in the Eastern half of the nation.  It is 12% above last year’s levels and 4% above the 5-year average.  NOAA is forecasting a continued warm winter.

Natural Gas Production is High

Production has remained high, despite dropping prices.

Wall Street Speculation

Bearish bets by banks and hedge funds have also had their impact on prices.  These bets could change at any time, though.  If weather becomes colder than expected, market prices could spike quickly.

How to Benefit from Present Prices

Understand that prices likely will not stay this way.  Consider taking advantage of the current market to reduce your price volatility for the coming years, for both electricity and natural gas.

  • Lock in prices for longer terms
  • For larger users, use hedge portions of your volume each month, similar to dollar cost averaging

Contact Better Cost Control to control your company’s energy costs.

Western Massachusetts Electric Eversource Basic Service Rates for Jan 2016

Electricity Prices

WMECO (Eversource is Western Massachusetts) filed rates for the period beginning January 1, 2016. All rates are in $/kWh, and include the Default/Basic Service Adders and Renewable Portfolio Standard and Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard Adders

Small C&I (23, 24, G-0, T-0)
Fixed Price Jan. 1, 2016 – Jun. 30, 2016: $0.10609

Monthly Variable Rates:
Jan: $0.14330
Feb: $0.14360
Mar: $0.10289
Apr: $0.08506
May: $0.07291
Jun: $0 07837


Medium/Large C&I (G-2, T-4, T-2, T-5)

Monthly Variable Rates:
Jan: $0.12709
Feb: $0.12806
Mar: $0.10226

Fixed Price: Jan. 1, 2016 – March. 31, 2016: $0.11950

As a comparison, a G2 customer contracting a 12-month fixed price
contract thru Better Cost Control today (11/2/2015) would pay 
$0.086 and eliminate all price volatility. A G1 customer would pay
a slight bit more.

How is the PA Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) Calculated?

Utility Bill Audit

Typically, taxes that are collected on your electric bill are kept separate and apart from the revenue on which those taxes are applied. However, in Pennsylvania, the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) is passed through to the consumer and considered to be part of the revenue base against which the GRT is calculated.

The new total GRT calculation is 5.90%.

It is common practice in Pennsylvania for electricity suppliers to use an adjusted rate to ensure they are billing the appropriate revenue to cover business costs. This practice is called “grossing up.”

The calculation formula is:

Cost = (Taxable Amount)/(1 – GRT)

or  6.27%

Below is an example to demonstrate how the adjusted rate works.

Transaction                                          $1,000.00
PA GRT Adjusted Rate                       6.27%
PA GRT charged to consumer         $62.70
Reportable Gross Receipts              $1,062.70
PA GRT Rate                                        5.90%
PA GRT due to State                           $62.6993
Resulting Revenue                             $1,000.00

Utilities and electricity generation suppliers use varying methods to invoice the Pennsylvania GRT.

Some competitive suppliers presents the GRT as a separate line item, which allows our customers to identify its exact amount.  Other suppliers may embed the tax in their price, making it more difficult to confirm their calculation method (i.e. whether or not they are ‘grossing up’).

When shopping for electricity, understand what you are paying for.  It is common for the price quoted to not include GRT.  Simply add the GRT to this number to compare your price to what you are paying today.

PECO Medium Commercial Price to Compare Rises 15%

Electric Meter

PECO has filed electric Prices to Compare for the period beginning December 1, 2015 thru February 29, 2016.

Prices to Compare for commercial customers will be (¢/kWh):

Class            Current PTC     12/1/15 PTC
GS ≤100 kW          9.07           8.77
GS 100-500 kW       7.62           8.83
PD ≤100 kW          8.56           8.26
PD 100-500 kW       7.13           8.32
HT ≤100 kW          8.24           7.94
HT 100-500 kW       6.86           7.99

For comparison, a business contracting a fixed-price competitive supply contract, 
with between 150K and 250K kWH annual usage, will find supply prices today (10/20/2015) \
with a 11/2015 start date  and 12-month term, as follows: 
PN-GSLF (Large General Services): $0.06932
PN-GSMF (Medium General Services): $0.07242
PN-GSSF (Small General Services) : $0.07320

Read the entire PECO PTC filing.

Duquesne Light New Default Service Rates Up 17%

Variable Electric Rate

Duquesne Light filed with the Pennsylvania PUC new default service supply rates for the period beginning December 1, 2015.

The default service supply rate reflects generation supply only; unlike the official Prices to Compare which also reflect transmission and the state GRT adjustment. 

The Small C&I <25 kW (Rate Schedules GS/GM and GMH and Rate Schedule UMS) supply charge will be 6.0133¢/kWh for the period December 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016, versus the current 6.2355¢/kWh.

The Medium C&I 25-300 kW (Rate Schedules GS/GM and GMH and Rate Schedule UMS) supply charge will be 6.6641¢/kWh for the period December 1, 2015 to February 29, 2016, versus the current 5.6764¢/kWh.

Energy Broker Management System

Screen-1Finally, an easy way to manage commissions, renewals & documents!

An affordable energy broker management system to help you earn more money and save time, built by energy brokers for energy brokers.

Assures that you’ve been paid by suppliers for every meter reading, without any gaps or missed months.

Automatically:

  • Allocates every commission payment to the correct sales person or multiple sales person.
  • Tells you when an account hasn’t started paying on time.
  • Saves time during monthly commission reconciliation and payment.
  • Complete audit trail
  • Online reporting to all sales people, no need for printed reports
  • Provides payment reports based on actual receipts

Most energy brokers simply don’t have the management tools to assure they get paid exactly as they should every month, since they depend on Microsoft Excel.

In daily use and enhanced over four years, this online system can now be yours.

Increases trust and motivation with easy access for sales people to view the details of all their accounts, including every meter reading and commission payment.  Automatic alarms and discrepancy emails are sent to the supplier when a meter read interval is skipped on a commission report.

As an added bonus, includes utility databases for the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to assist in confirming usage data and prospecting for business. Fully searchable by company name, street, zip-code and more. Great for prospecting by street or finding multi-location prospects.

What else does the Energy Broker Management System do?

  • Renewal reminders
  • Document management
  • Training
  • RFP functions with automated supplier search by LDC or EDC
  • Alerts for deals not started, commissions missed & renewals approaching
  • Handles commission overrides for referral business or co-brokered deals
  • Reports payments by state to simplify tax filings
  • Reports sales by supplier & sales rep by any time period
  • Commission advances to sales reps with no further payment until advance is repaid by cash flow
  • Optional outsourced commission reporting: receive your commission payment report each month

Affordable monthly pricing based on your business size, so you can afford it!

Learn more by calling Steve Garson at 617-332-7767 x150.

Learn about Energy Broker Management System

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National Grid Basic Service Rate Approved for Massachusetts

Electricity Transformer

National Grid has announced the new Basic Service electricity supply prices for customers in Massachusetts for the period November 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016.

Fixed Medium and Large General Service (G-2, G-3)

SEMA: 12.448¢/kWh

WCMA: 12.167¢/kWh

NEMA: 12.410¢/kWh

Fixed Small General Service (G-1) : 12.709¢/Kwh

For National Grid customers on a variable rate, prices will rise to a peak of 14.841¢/kWH by January 2016.

G2/G3 rates for variable rates:

November 2015:

NEMA: 9.864

SEMA: 9.774

WCMA: 9.309

December:

NEMA: 12.404

SEMA: 12.407

WCMA: 12.062

January:

NEMA: 14.656

SEMA: 14.841

WCMA: 14.782

You can protect yourself from these rising prices today with a fixed price electricity contract. As a comparison, today (9/24/15) a fixed contract starting in November, 2015 would have the following fixed prices for the life of the contract:

One Year Fixed:

G1: 8.94¢

G2: 8.695¢

G3: 8.625¢

This will protect you from the increased costs while saving you money for the entire length of this rate cycle.

Contact us for a quotation.