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Electric Choice

bogey21

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We have Electric Choice here in Texas where if you understand the timing and mechanics of how it works, you can move between Electric companies to your advantage. The system has its plusses and minues but if you have the time and know what you are doing, you can really minimize your cost of electricity.

Example - my Son is selling his house and moving into a rental. I just got him a fixed 5 month rate of 2 cents per kWh. Normal fixed in the Zip Code where he lives is between 7 and 9 cents; variable is higher. Now that is a real savings.

George
 

northovr

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that is great! there got to be some other kind of stipulation with this offer?

Daniel
 

LUVourMarriotts

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We use a different delivery source for our electric as well. The electricity is still provided via the same grid, but we pay a 3rd party instead of the electric company for our kWH usage. Its all on the same bill, so it doesn't require any extra effort. If I paid my electric company, I would pay $0.1749 per kWH. But, paying Viridian, we pay $0.0949 per kWH. We are on a 2-year fixed rate, which will expire in a few months. I just called the other day to find out what the current rates are, to see where my bill will be then. Their current rate, for a 3-year fixed is $0.0819. So, my payments could go down in a few months. There is a $150 cancellation fee for the fixed rates.
 

dioxide45

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Our bill dropped on average about $40 a month when we switched electric providers. I wish I had done it sooner. The only issue is that I had to commit to a two year term. Break the term and I have to fork out a $200 fee.
 

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I always avoided switching because I was suspicious it was a gimmick and didn't seem worth the hassle.

I remember going on line once on my utility company website where you can compare how you could save and it always came up that I actually wouldn't save anything by switching to any of the other providers!
 

dioxide45

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I always avoided switching because I was suspicious it was a gimmick and didn't seem worth the hassle.

I remember going on line once on my utility company website where you can compare how you could save and it always came up that I actually wouldn't save anything by switching to any of the other providers!

I also thought it was a gimmick. Actually had a door to door sales person come to our door one time trying to sell it. I ended up switching based on a mailer. The only quirk is that we were signed up for balance billing previously and we signed up for balance billing on the new plan. However, while we have balance billing on the electricity charge, the generation and delivery charges by the main electric company are not balance billing. So our bill fluctuates every month. The only balanced part is the electricity cost paid to the choice provider.
 

LUVourMarriotts

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I always avoided switching because I was suspicious it was a gimmick and didn't seem worth the hassle.

I remember going on line once on my utility company website where you can compare how you could save and it always came up that I actually wouldn't save anything by switching to any of the other providers!

I'm sure there are other 3rd party electric providers for you, but you should at least check out Viridian, who is the company I use, not too far from you. I just did a check on their site and they have a $0.0919 fixed rate for 3 years, for your town.

As a side note, I just went to Central Hudson's site to try to find out if I could find where on their site that they show how much I pay for electric delivery (how much I use). I can't find anything that actually equals the price they actually charge. I am only finding all of the little costs of the supply (taxes and service fees), which you have to pay no matter what. I think the electric companies make it confusing so it 'looks' like there is no savings to go to someone else for the delivery. But, my $0.08/kWH savings is pretty substantial. That saved me $134 last bill alone.
 

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that is great! there got to be some other kind of stipulation with this offer?

Not really. There is a $150 fee if he cancels before the 5 month contract expires. The Electric Company hopes one of two things will happen. First, if he does nothing when the 5 months is up he will be automatically switched into a high cost variable rate plan. The second is that he will renew into one of their regular fixed rate plans at a higher cost.

The rules in Texas are that customers can switch providers without penalty anytime during the 15 days prior to the maturity of their contract. Thus it is up to the consumer to carefully track the contract expiration date and look for alternatives.

George
 

WinniWoman

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I'm sure there are other 3rd party electric providers for you, but you should at least check out Viridian, who is the company I use, not too far from you. I just did a check on their site and they have a $0.0919 fixed rate for 3 years, for your town.

As a side note, I just went to Central Hudson's site to try to find out if I could find where on their site that they show how much I pay for electric delivery (how much I use). I can't find anything that actually equals the price they actually charge. I am only finding all of the little costs of the supply (taxes and service fees), which you have to pay no matter what. I think the electric companies make it confusing so it 'looks' like there is no savings to go to someone else for the delivery. But, my $0.08/kWH savings is pretty substantial. That saved me $134 last bill alone.

Oh, hi! Another neighbor! Thanks for the info. I will have to check into this.

My electric bill averages about $126 per month now for a 2600 square foot house. We work all day so we are out. 2 people. We have Orange and Rockland. I just went on the website and requested bids from alternate suppliers.
 
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WinniWoman

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I also thought it was a gimmick. Actually had a door to door sales person come to our door one time trying to sell it. I ended up switching based on a mailer. The only quirk is that we were signed up for balance billing previously and we signed up for balance billing on the new plan. However, while we have balance billing on the electricity charge, the generation and delivery charges by the main electric company are not balance billing. So our bill fluctuates every month. The only balanced part is the electricity cost paid to the choice provider.

We do not have balanced billing. We just pay the bill in full every month whatever t is- mostly all actual readings.
 
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WinniWoman

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I got a rate of .083 from constellation energy. I get my power delivered from pepco which is owned by constellation energy but if I get my energy from pepco it would be about .09 something? This was the cheapest I got find in the area.
A few years ago I was locked into a rate of .9 something because at the time energy was .12 and then the rates went down so I had to pay more than the lowest rate. at one time I got my energy from Washington Gas. What I really don't understand is this green friendly energy. I always ask when they try to sell me it are you going to run different wires? How do you make sure their electricity delivered to my house is from windmills only? Plus why is it alot more expensive?

Ranting
Daniel Northover
 
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vacationhopeful

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I got a rate of .083 from constellation energy. I get my power delivered from pepco which is owned by constellation energy but if I get my energy from pepco it would be about .09 something? This was the cheapest I got find in the area.
A few years ago I was locked into a rate of .9 something because at the time energy was .12 and then the rates went down so I had to pay more than the lowest rate. at one time I got my energy from Washington Gas. What I really don't understand is this green friendly energy. I always ask when they try to sell me it are you going to run different wires? How do you make sure their electricity delivered to my house is from windmills only? Plus why is it alot more expensive?

Ranting
Daniel Northover


I have solar panels on my home ... have NOT paid an electric bill here for 8+ years. NOT a penny even for distribution charges. The state gave me a 50% grant for the purchase AND SRECs payments from the EVIL energy polluters pays me cash when I sell my SRECs (solar renewal energy credits) via the NYC Commodities Market.
 

WinniWoman

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That is very nice!

I thought of getting solar, but I don't like the idea of them on my roof, although that is the sunniest area- perfect really. I worry that if there was a roof issue then they would have to be removed for roof repairs and so on.

Also thought of putting panels on my land, but then wires have to be put through our leech fields all the way to the house.

Plus- the expense of them since we hope to move in 5 years or so to New Hampshire.
 

LUVourMarriotts

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I have solar panels on my home ... have NOT paid an electric bill here for 8+ years. NOT a penny even for distribution charges. The state gave me a 50% grant for the purchase AND SRECs payments from the EVIL energy polluters pays me cash when I sell my SRECs (solar renewal energy credits) via the NYC Commodities Market.

I'm guessing you may live in MA. My buddy put a ton of panels on his huge house in MA and because of the state/federal incentives and the SREC's that he got, he paid off the entire purchase in 3 years. Now bill free and making money off the deal. I could only wish that NY had a similar system, but there is no ongoing incentive to going solar. I'd mostly be in it for the savings, which would take 10 years in my case. My recommendation is to stay away from Solar City.
 

WinniWoman

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I'm guessing you may live in MA. My buddy put a ton of panels on his huge house in MA and because of the state/federal incentives and the SREC's that he got, he paid off the entire purchase in 3 years. Now bill free and making money off the deal. I could only wish that NY had a similar system, but there is no ongoing incentive to going solar. I'd mostly be in it for the savings, which would take 10 years in my case. My recommendation is to stay away from Solar City.

A coworker of mine in Middletown, NY said she had panels installed and didn't lay out any money. She says they don't pay anything for electricity now. I don't get it.

Also, isn't this the last year for the Federal $6000 tax deduction for solar installation?
 

LUVourMarriotts

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A coworker of mine in Middletown, NY said she had panels installed and didn't lay out any money. She says they don't pay anything for electricity now. I don't get it.

Also, isn't this the last year for the Federal $6000 tax deduction for solar installation?

Correct, in many cases, there is no out of pocket cost to get things going. One of the reasons for that, is everyone that pays for energy from the electric company in NY is paying into a NYSERTA fund. When going to solar, NYSERTA gives you money towards the installation, which goes directly to the company that you make your deal with. In my case, I've dealt with 2 companies so far. Sunpower by Infinity Solar and Solar City. I'm only interested in purchase, not a 20 year lease that leaves you with a purchase/renew lease decision at the end of 20 years. For purchase, based on my energy needs, if I went $0 out of pocket, I would pay about $60/month more than I currently pay, for 10 years. This would be a fixed payment, while electricity from the grid will increase, so thats a positive. That price was with Sunpower. It was even higher with Solar City, but their panels are very bad compared to most others. Also note, you still pay the electric company every month, as you still need to pay the connection charge, you just don't pay for any kWH's.

As for the rebates, from what I have seen, the NY and Federal tax incentives have been extended. There is a decreasing value from the NY incentives because they pay per kWH that you are producing, and the value per kWH is decreasing over time. It differs depending where you live in the state of NY.
 

WinniWoman

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Correct, in many cases, there is no out of pocket cost to get things going. One of the reasons for that, is everyone that pays for energy from the electric company in NY is paying into a NYSERTA fund. When going to solar, NYSERTA gives you money towards the installation, which goes directly to the company that you make your deal with. In my case, I've dealt with 2 companies so far. Sunpower by Infinity Solar and Solar City. I'm only interested in purchase, not a 20 year lease that leaves you with a purchase/renew lease decision at the end of 20 years. For purchase, based on my energy needs, if I went $0 out of pocket, I would pay about $60/month more than I currently pay, for 10 years. This would be a fixed payment, while electricity from the grid will increase, so thats a positive. That price was with Sunpower. It was even higher with Solar City, but their panels are very bad compared to most others. Also note, you still pay the electric company every month, as you still need to pay the connection charge, you just don't pay for any kWH's.

As for the rebates, from what I have seen, the NY and Federal tax incentives have been extended. There is a decreasing value from the NY incentives because they pay per kWH that you are producing, and the value per kWH is decreasing over time. It differs depending where you live in the state of NY.

Well, this all sounds very complicated. I'll pass. As for the electric bids I just got 2- one is 1 cent less than O &R and the other 2 cents less. But then there is the taxes and such to consider, which I am not sure how to figure/compare that. I wonder if it is even worth it. My bills average about $126 per month.
 

LUVourMarriotts

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You should be able to figure it out pretty easily by referencing your bill. All of the taxes/fees/surcharges (except for 2 on my bill) are charged based on your kW usage. I just figured all this wonderful stuff out as I was determining whether I truly want to go solar or not.

My bill goes like this, and your is probably similar.

Delivery Portion (paid to the electric company)
Basic Service Charge ---------------- $48.00
A bunch of taxes/fee/adj ------------ my kWh X $0.06159
Surcharge ---------------------------- $2.72

Supply Portion (paid to electric company or a 3rd party you choose)
Electric Supply Charge -------------- my kWh X $0.0949

All of this is paid as one payment to Central Hudson for me, and they pay Viridian.

My average monthly kWh usage is 821, so using that as reference, that 2 cents is going to save you $16.42 per month. In my case, I'm saving 8 cents per kWh, so I'm saving $65.68 per month with Viridian.
 

WinniWoman

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You should be able to figure it out pretty easily by referencing your bill. All of the taxes/fees/surcharges (except for 2 on my bill) are charged based on your kW usage. I just figured all this wonderful stuff out as I was determining whether I truly want to go solar or not.

My bill goes like this, and your is probably similar.

Delivery Portion (paid to the electric company)
Basic Service Charge ---------------- $48.00
A bunch of taxes/fee/adj ------------ my kWh X $0.06159
Surcharge ---------------------------- $2.72

Supply Portion (paid to electric company or a 3rd party you choose)
Electric Supply Charge -------------- my kWh X $0.0949

All of this is paid as one payment to Central Hudson for me, and they pay Viridian.

My average monthly kWh usage is 821, so using that as reference, that 2 cents is going to save you $16.42 per month. In my case, I'm saving 8 cents per kWh, so I'm saving $65.68 per month with Viridian.

Thanks! This will be a big help. I did not get a bid yet from Viridian. But will check all this out. I suspected it wasn;t going to be a huge savings for our usage- but- hey- every little bit helps. Do they guarantee these rates for the whole term of the contract?
 
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WinniWoman

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My total usage averages about 590 per month. My basic service charge is $20.
Then there is all this other crap and the surcharge of $1.32. All in all added up to $66.17 on my last bill. Then another $2.84 for a merchant function chg. Then a Forecast Mkt sup chg of $42.90- whatever that is.

So crazy. Anyway, 2 cents will save me about $12 per month supposedly. Still find this very confusing- like something is off. I only received 2 bids. No other suppliers have responded so far. No Viridian bid.
 
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LUVourMarriotts

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You'll want to check the offer they are providing to see if they are fixed rates or variable. I've just gone with fixed.
 

MichaelColey

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The problem with switching like that is that if you forget, you end up in a considerably more expensive plan after your contract expires.

Almost a year ago, I signed up for a company called Energy Ogre that monitors the rates, keeps track of your contract expiration, and moves you to the cheapest provider every time your contract expires. Many times, they have access to promotional rates that aren't publicly available (or at least not that I've found). If you're set up on automatic billing, they get it set up for the new provider. You don't have to do anything. And they do all this for $10/month.

They've switched me a couple times. The first time, I got 6.5 cents/kWh. This time, it's even less. Last month, I used 2536 kWh and my total bill was $139.14.
 

WinniWoman

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The problem with switching like that is that if you forget, you end up in a considerably more expensive plan after your contract expires.

Almost a year ago, I signed up for a company called Energy Ogre that monitors the rates, keeps track of your contract expiration, and moves you to the cheapest provider every time your contract expires. Many times, they have access to promotional rates that aren't publicly available (or at least not that I've found). If you're set up on automatic billing, they get it set up for the new provider. You don't have to do anything. And they do all this for $10/month.my

They've switched me a couple times. The first time, I got 6.5 cents/kWh. This time, it's even less. Last month, I used 2536 kWh and my total bill was $139.14.

That sounds pretty good. I assume these lower kWh rates don't have any additional taxes and fees added on other than what is normally on your bill?

Will they switch you back to your utility company if it turns out their rates are better?
 

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Almost a year ago, I signed up for a company called Energy Ogre that monitors the rates, keeps track of your contract expiration, and moves you to the cheapest provider every time your contract expires. Many times, they have access to promotional rates that aren't publicly available (or at least not that I've found). If you're set up on automatic billing, they get it set up for the new provider. You don't have to do anything. And they do all this for $10/month.

Thanks for the "Heads Up". I think I will sign up with Energy Ogre as I approach the end of my current contract. Their $10 per month fee looks reasonable for all they do.

George
 
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