Eversource Files Fall Default Basic Service Rates

Variable Electric Rate

Eversource (previously Nstar) has filed new electric basic service rates for the period beginning October 1, 2015 through December 31.

New Nstar basic service rates, in ¢/kWh, are below:

Small Business (Rate B1, B2, G1, G2, 33) - NEMA
Fixed July 1 through December 31: 9.868
Monthly Variable Rates:
October:                           8.224
November:                         10.412
December:                         15.482
Large C&I (Rate G3, T2) - NEMA

Monthly Variable Rates:
October:                           7.205
November:                          8.810
December:                         11.979

Fixed Price Option (Oct.-Dec.):    9.430

Large C&I (G3, T2) - SEMA
October:                           7.110
November:                          8.703
December:                         11.982

Fixed Price Option (Oct.-Dec.):    9.307

For WMECO, Western Mass Electric, the new basic service rates for Medium and Large Commercial will be:

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

Monthly Variable Rates:
October:                           7.221
November:                          9.179
December:                         12.756


Fixed Price Option (Oct.-Dec.):    9.848

Visit Eversource to see rates.

Atlantic City Electric Basic Generation Service Rates Approved

Below are the rates for the period noted.

Atlantic City Electric: Price to Compare starting June 1, 2015:

MGS-S: Monthly General Service Secondary10.75
MGS-P: Monthly General Service Primary9.04
AGS-S: Annual General Service Secondary9.16
AGS-P: Annual General Service Primary9.17
DDC: Direct Distribution Control8.04
SPL/CSL: Street Lighting5.93

 

California Electricity Bill to Allow Competitive Supply to all Commercial Customers

wind farm

California electricity choice may finally be changing in 2016. A California bill (SB 286) has been introduced into the California Senate that would allow all non-residential customers to have electric choice of suppliers. The bill would require the PUC to eliminate the existing caps on non-residential direct access load over a phase-in period not to exceed three years.  All non-residential customers will be able to participate in electric choice at the end of the period. The phase-in period for California electricity choice shall commence by July 1, 2016, meaning that electric choice would be open to all non-residential customers by July 1, 2019 at the latest.

You  can read the bill here.

At present, there is a cap on what California businesses can obtain competitive electricity supply.  We will post new information when it becomes available.

Nstar rates in Massachusetts Remain High

Nstar has filed new electric basic service rates for the period beginning July 1, 2015, and the fixed rate for residential and small C&I customers remains above (or near) 10¢/kWh.

The current Nstar fixed residential and small C&I basic service rates are about 14¢/kWh.

The Nstar basic service rates below, in cents/kWh, include the Default Service Adder and Renewable Portfolio Standard and Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard adder.

Small C&I, Streetlighting
Fixed Price Option Jul. 1, 2015 – Dec. 31, 2015: 9.868

Monthly Variable Rates:
July:          9.313
August:        8.639
September:     7.855
October:       8.000
November:     10.224
December:     15.377

Large C&I-NEMA (rates are still out to bid, as of this posting)

Large C&I-SEMA
July:          8.514
August:        7.783
September:     7.050

Fixed Price Option: Jul. 1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2015: 7.804

Connecticut Electricity – State Outlaws Variable Price Contracts for Residential Electricity

Connecticut electricity supply for residential customers will finally be safer to contract. The Connecticut Senate passed a bill this week to ban variable electric contracts for residential customers.

SB 573 as amended provides that, “On and after October 1, 2015, no electric supplier shall (A) enter into a contract to charge a residential customer a variable rate for electric generation services; or (B) automatically renew or cause to be automatically renewed a contract with a residential customer and, pursuant to such contract, charge such customer a variable rate for electric generation services.”

As noted by the language further below, the bill does contemplate that Connecticut electric suppliers will be permitted to change a month-to-month rate to customers at the end of a fixed term contract, but subject to notice requirements and likely limits on the amount of rate increases during such month to month service, as to be determined by PURA.

Existing variable rate contracts would be permitted to continue through their existing term, but could not be automatically renewed beyond October 1.

The bill defines “residential customer” to mean a customer who contracts with a Connecticut electric supplier for generation services at residential premises for domestic purposes only.

The bill would require that before October 1, 2015, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall initiate a proceeding to develop recommendations and guidance regarding, “(1) what type of generation services rate structure is best suited for residential customers who allow a fixed contract with an electric supplier to expire and begin paying a month-to-month rate for generation services from such supplier; and (2) what rate increase is just and reasonable if a generation services rate increase is necessary after the expiration of a fixed contract and such customer begins paying a month-to-month rate.”

The authority shall report the findings of such proceeding to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to energy, on or before January 1, 2016.

Senate leadership described the bill as passed yesterday. Technically, the bill was placed on the consent calendar, where passage is assured. SB 573 will await action in the House

West Penn Power Price to Compare Increases

Business talk

West Penn Power has published new price to compare (PTC) default service electric rates for the period of June 1, 2015 through August 31 2015. The published commercial rate is $0.07311/kWh.

As of today a West Penn Power commercial customer can lock in a price as low as $0.0645/kWh for 36 months. This rate is not only 12% lower than the utility’s PTC default service electric rate but also is fixed and guaranteed for 12 times the period of time. A client wishing to obtain a contract to budget and have some price protection but is unsure of locking in for a 36 month period has the option to choose other term lengths. As another example, the fixed price for a 12 month term for a commercial customer may be as low as $0.06278/kWh, which is 14% lower than WPP default service electric rate and is fixed for four times the length of time the utility rate is guaranteed.

Do not play the waiting risk game. Take control of your West Penn Power costs, and provide your company with the peace of mind of price protection and budget certainty. Contact Better Cost Control to find out what rate your business is eligible to receive.

To obtain a commercial price quotation, click here. For a small business price quote, click here.

Here is a link to the filings: https://www.firstenergycorp.com/customer_choice/pennsylvania/pennsylvania_tariffs.html#WPPFilings

Penn Power Price to Compare Rises June 1, 2015

Electric Meter
Penn Power of Pennsylvania announced the new default service Price to Compare for the period from June 1, 2015 to August 31, 2015. You can read the entire rate filing here.

The price for all commercial Penn Power electricity customers will be $0.08638/kWH, which includes the GRT. This price is an increase over the previous 3-month period.

Customers who choose to obtain a fixed price contract, as of the date of this posting, can obtain fixed 24-month prices that are 12% lower than the new rate, to eliminate all risk of price increases. Without a contract, customer electricity rates adjust every three months.

To obtain a commercial price quotation, click here. For a small business price quote, click here.

MetEd New Price to Compare Starting June 1, 2015

wind farm

MetEd (Metropolitan Edison of Pennsylvania) announced the new default service Price to Compare for the period from June 1, 2015 to  to August 31, 2015.  You can read the entire rate filing MetEd Price to Compare Filing.

The price for all MetEd commercial electricity customers will be $0.08356/kWH, an increase from the last period.

Customers who choose to obtain a fixed price contract, as of the date of this posting, can obtain MetEd prices that are 13% lower than the new rate, to eliminate all risk of price increases for 24-months.

To obtain a commercial price quotation, click here.  For a small business price quote, click here.

Now is the time to contract Electricity and Gas

EMEX

Prices for electricity and natural gas are nearing record lows, making this a great time for customers to purchase their power ahead of time.

This is due to several factors, including a warmer-than-average weather outlook for spring, a surplus of natural gas supply and a pull-back in power prices.

Here’s what you need to know.

Warmer Weather Is Reducing Demand

For those living in the snow-covered regions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, it seems hard to believe this winter has been relatively mild compared to last year and warmer-than-average temperatures are on the way. It’s true that last November was the coldest since 2000 and the eighth coldest nationally since 1950. However, this was followed by a warmer pattern in late November and early December. While certain regions have clearly had cold snaps throughout the winter, they haven’t been as widespread and long-lasting as the cold we experienced during last year’s Polar Vortex.

This means demand has fallen compared to last year, contributing to lower prices.

Now that the worst appears to be over and spring is just a few weeks away, the National Weather Service is forecasting a warm spring for the West, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions and a warmer-than-average summer along both coasts.

Natural Gas Surplus Keeps Prices Low

Withdrawals from natural gas storage continue to be well below what we experienced last year. In 11 of the last 13 weeks, natural gas withdrawals were smaller than last year. We saw a brief uptick in January, but recovering production and inconsistent demand for heating kept more natural gas in storage. Unless temperatures remain cold through March, we’re on pace to end the season with a surplus.

By contrast, last year’s heating season ended with a deficit in natural gas supply. The elimination of that deficit cut natural gas prices on the NYMEX almost in half. This historical correlation between the gas storage surplus and deficit and the NYMEX 12-month strip, as well as estimates of end-of-season storage, suggest prices could fall even lower this spring.

Gas Consumption Will Reach An All-Time High

With natural gas prices this low, we can expect power companies to use more natural gas and reduce their reliance on coal. We’ve seen an upward trend in natural gas consumption by power companies for the past decade, but now it’s on track to reach record levels, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Gas demand in the power sector is 6 percent higher than in 2014 and 16 percent above the five-year average level. More power companies are retiring aging coal plants and replacing them with natural gas units.

We can also expect to see a greater reliance on natural gas in the West, as less available water creates a decreased reliance on hydropower. In late January, snowpack levels were only about 25-40 percent of what they are normally are, and a weakening El Nino looks to be bringing less rain, which could create a drought in early spring.  During a good water year, hydropower can contribute to up to 30 percent of the power generation mix in the summer, which isn’t likely to happen this year.

As power companies consume more gas and production tapers off in 2015, we should expect to see natural gas prices eventually bottom out.

Now Is the Time To Buy

As natural gas prices continue to fall, long-term power prices, too, are within 1-2 percent of all-time lows. Since the start of the winter, prices have been down an average of $5.49 per mWh.

Taking advantage of these low prices now by purchasing a portion of your energy in advance can help offset the rising costs of capacity and transmission, which are occurring as power companies retire aging plants and build new infrastructure.

BCC offers a variety of energy pricing options, including the ability to lock in prices over the term of your contract, make smaller purchases over time based on market fluctuations or use a combination of these strategies.

Our energy management experts can help you identify the right solution to meet your needs. We also offer a variety of energy management tools that allow you to monitor prices and make smarter purchases based on the market.

Learn more about how you can be a proactive energy consumer with our pricing options and energy management tools—contact us today.

New PA Price to Compare (PTC) for First Energy PA

First Energy has filed its new PA price to compare changes for March 1 to May 31, 2015. While Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed) and Pennelec will see increases in their PTC, customers located in the West Penn Power (WPP) and PennPower territories will experience a slight decrease in rates.

The new commercial rates for each utility filed are as follows:

Met-Ed: $0.08004/kWh

WPP: $0.06713/kWh

Pennelec: $0.08005/kWh

PennPower: $0.07113/kWh

 

The new prompt month, March 2015 natural gas contract, began yesterday by declining 12.5 cents and settling at $2.719/MMBtu, a prompt month level not seen since September 7, 2012.  Ten cents of the total decline came just after the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its weekly storage report for the week to Jan. 23, reporting a 94 Bcf withdrawal from storage stockpiles.  The market was anticipating a number closer to –111 Bcf.  The withdrawal was 44% lower than the five-year average for that week.  Total gas in storage now stands at 2,534 Bcf, 15% more than a year ago (324 Bcf) and 3% below the five-year average (79 Bcf).  Storage inventory levels are expected to exceed the five-year average by Feb. 6, and end-of season levels are currently estimated to be 1.6-1.8 Tcf.  Robust production and healthy end-of-season storage projections continue to dominate fundamentals, as the market ignores icy temperature forecasts for the eastern half of the U.S. through the first week of February.

Why contract energy now?

Recent energy market trends may make buying decisions obvious.  Both power and natural gas prices for many regions have plummeted over the last 2 months.  Yes – there has been some cold and a bit of a bounce, but the trend since November is down.  Why?  A milder than expected start to winter, very strong ongoing growth in shale gas production and a resulting dramatic reversal in the natural gas storage situation (from huge deficit to a surplus) have pushed down NYMEX natural gas futures.  Beyond that, we have seen weakness in regional power prices and natural gas basis.

 

For energy buyers, the movement of prices for this winter is not the issue.  If they purchased earlier, then they may regret that transaction.  If they rolled the dice, then they are happy.  But there is no real additional action for most.  The decision is the long-term and these prices have also declined significantly while there is still uncertainty.

 

Current prices in all market for 2016 and 2017 and 2018 are near their all-time lows.  This is significant, especially after the high prices from a year ago during the polar vortex.

 

So what is the outlook and what should a customer do?

There are numerous risks (weather, impact of low prices on production economics, EPA regs, LNG exports) and well as reasons for more downside (weather, potential storage glut, prolific shale production).  Again, DEB has numerous internal sources that provide detail.  But from a customer side, the low prices beg for consideration of action at minimum.

 

Look at all-terms.  For customers that only look out 12 months, maybe they should go beyond 2015 or 2016 based on low prices far out on the curve.

 

Maybe go fixed?  Year-over-year savings may be available for many customers and prices are at or near all-time lows.  It would not be difficult to explain a decision to buy at an all-time low.

 

Maybe go “managed” and execute a layer?  The managed approach works in all types of markets because it provides for immediate action to take advantage of opportunity while not requiring full commitment if there is uncertainty.  And usually this is the case.  A customer could execute larger layers for the near-term where prices are lower and smaller hedges to take advantage of long-term prices that are low, but have a premium.  Suppliers offer a variety of products some of which can work for customers as small as 1,000 MWh/year.

 

Maybe do nothing?  But even if a customer does nothing, now is a time to (1) have a discussion and (2) make sure that they have a strategy and targets where they will act and (3) provide some insight so that they come to us for help when they are ready to act.

 

Sourced from DEB.

Energy Market Update and Forecast

As 2014 came to a close traders and ESCos (Energy Supply Companies) forecast an energy market with a winter similar to the winter of 2013-2014. The polar vortex came and wreaked havoc on pricing across the board. Some utilities and ESCos are still trying to recover from the unexpected costs. Perhaps meteorologists were overly aggressive regarding their predictions for this winter since they did not predict the polar vortex or its impact almost at all last winter. Getting walloped by Mother Nature last year certainly created a bit of a nervous feeling environment in the energy space to ensure that the same problem would not happen again.

 

So far, other than a few cold weeks (some in November and early January) we have not experience a winter as expected. In Boston, it was close to 50 degrees on Christmas Day, practically unheard of. The supply of natural gas has exceeded the demand so far, which in turn put pressure on pricing, driving it down.  However, the latest weather forecasts indicated that the next 5 days will have mild or warm temperatures, but then a quicker than previously though transition back to cold for most of the country with a possible arctic outbreak in the next two weeks. The forecast can give clues as to what the market may do, but unfortunately Mother Nature and the stock market do not always follow patterns that we wish. Exports to Mexico are at an all-time high and current gas prices are near production cost.

 

Keep in mind your company’s risk tolerance when signing a contract. If you think the market is going to go up a fixed rate is best; if you think the energy market is going to go down a variable rate (with components fixed for a given period of time) is best; but if you are a large consumer who wants to have both a block and index price (part of your load is fixed while the rest floats) is how to be in the “market game” but not have too much skin in it. Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball but BCC can help you navigate through the nuances of this process to ensure your company is as protected as possible.