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.

 

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

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.

United Illuminating New Last Resort Electricity Rates

Electricity Prices

United Illuminating (UI Company), which services parts of Southern Connecticut, has announced its new Last Resort Service Rates for default service customers for the period April through June 2014.

United Illuminating’s  Last Resort Service Generation Services Charge (GSC) rates for the three-month period beginning April 2014 are as follows, in cents per kWh:
Rates GST & LPT, Above 500kW
April: 8.7031
May:  7.5931
June: 9.0761

For Last Resort Service rate classes with peak/off peak periods, the UI electricity supply rates are identical for each period, both Shoulder and Off-Peak.

To learn about competitive electricity and gas supply contracts, contact Better Cost Control.

Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) New Last Resort Service Rates

Electricity Prices

Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) has announced its new Last Resort Service Rates for default service customers for the period April through June 2014.

CL&P’s  Last Resort Service Generation Services Charge (GSC) rates for the three-month period beginning April 2014 are as follows, in cents per kWh:
Rates 39, 41, 55, 56, 57, and 58
April: 7.262
May:  6.542
June: 7.699

For Last Resort Service rate classes with peak/off peak periods, the CL&P electricity supply rates are identical for each period

All rates listed above reflect the Generation Service Charge plus the bypassable Federally Mandated Congestion Charge of 0.070 cents per kWh.  Customers who obtain a fixed price competitive electricity supply contract are not subject to the fluctuations in market prices that Last Resort Customers have.

To learn about competitive electricity and gas supply contracts, contact Better Cost Control.

Energy Auction Debate Leads to Customer Losses

State lawmakers are in the process of deciding whether or not the retail electricity accounts of Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating will be auctioned off to private marketing companies. This is an attempt to raise cash for the state, even though it will cost the 665,000 CL&P customers. Starting on July 1st, these 665,000 customers were expecting reduced rates of about 5-8%. Now, this price cut is not going to happen. This is because the power companies could not guarantee energy traders that they would still have their large customer base for the remaining half of the year. Without this guarantee, they were unable to lock in lower rates. Now these rates will remain unchanged and nobody will be able to take advantage of the lower market prices. The states power procurement manager Jeff Gaudiosi said “even with the specter of this auction being there, we lost all of our buying power for 2013 and into 2014.”

From the perspective of the government, this auction could raise around $80-$100 million, a nice boost to the state budget which is why Governor Dannel P. Malloy is pushing for it. If the auction could bring lower rates to customers, it should be done, if not, it would be a very unsuccessful attempt. If the state were to take this money from the auction, it would basically be a large tax. Private marketing firms are willing to pay significantly more per account, and it is only logical that the paying customers should see some of this money on their end. To put it in perspective, in the year 2000 the market was moved from the power companies to private marketing firms. These marketers have been trying to sell at rates they claim are better than average. 47% of customers have taken that route.

Those individuals who don’t switch will stay with CL&P or UI and will be paying based on a state approved buying strategy. Now the standard offer is 7.615 cents per kilowatt hour at CL&P. Regardless, customers will be paying a monthly bill to either company at the same regulated distribution rate.

According to Malloy, customers would be segmented into blocks of 100,000 and auctioned off as groups. The proposal states that anyone could opt out of the auction and continue paying standard rates. Marketers would not be allowed to charge for switching, and they would have to offer a 5% discount below the standard rate for the first 12 months. As good as this sounds, that 5% is based on the current price, where customers would have seen that as a minimum of savings because of market conditions. This is just an estimate as we cannot know for sure.

 

United Illuminating new Default Last Resort Service Pricing

United Illuminating has filed Last Resort Service Rates for default service customers for the period July through September 2013.

The Last Resort Service Generation Services Charge (GSC) rates for the three-month period beginning July 1, 2013 are as follows, in cents per kWh:

Rates GST & LPT*, Above 500 kW
July (all hours):  8.1150
August (all hours):    7.6940
September (all hours):   6.9270

United Illuminating Announced new GST Time of Day Rate for 2013

United Illuminating (UI), which services Southern Connecticut, published its General Service Time of Day Rate for 2013.

January – December On-Peak Off-Peak

Standard Service Generation 9.6389¢/kWhr 6.6389¢/kWhr

Connecticut Light & Power Announces New Standard Service and Last Resort Rates

Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) announced new electricity supply pricing for the six month period Jan 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013. Note that when comparing these prices to fixed price contract supply prices, you will find that longer term contracts will have a slightly higher price, which accounts for the fact that prices are forecast to rise after June 30.

CL&P Standard Service Rates, January 2013 – June 2013 (¢/kWh)

Rate 1: 7.615
Rate 5: 7.615
Rate 7: On-Peak 10.236 and Off-Peak 6.736
Rate 18: 7.808
Rate 27: On-Peak 9.858 and Off-Peak 6.858
Rate 29: 7.808
Rate 30: 7.808
Rate 35: 7.808
Rate 37: On-Peak 9.858 and Off-Peak 6.858
Rate 40: 7.808
Rate 41: (less than 500 kW) On-Peak 9.790 and Off-Peak 6.790
Rate 55: (less than 500 kW) On-Peak 9.790 and Off-Peak 6.790

Rate 56: (less than 500 kW) On-Peak 9.790 and Off-Peak 6.790

Rate 115 7.808
Rate 116 7.155
Rate 117 7.155
Rate 119 7.647

CL&P Last Resort Service Rates, Jan. 2013 – March 2013
(¢/kWh)

Rates 39, 41, 55, 56, 57, & 58 (at or over 500 kW):
January: 8.707
February: 7.955
March: 6.364

For Last Resort Service rate classes with peak/off peak periods, the Last Resort Service rates are identical for each period.
All rates listed above rates reflect the Generation Service Charge plus the bypassable Federally Mandated Congestion Charge of 0.150 cents per kWh.