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.