Peace Power Newsletter: Door Knocker Ban, RRO Cap, & Carbon Tax Updates

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Peace Power Newsletter: Door Knocker Ban, RRO Cap, & Carbon Tax Updates

https://youtu.be/PcZ7DB9sjZY

In this video we discuss:

The upcoming ban on unsolicited energy industry door knockers, effective 2017. (Luckily Peace Power has never believed in this type of business practice!)
RRO(Default Rate) capped for the first time ever at 6.8 cents/kWh.
The Carbon Tax is coming & how this will affect everyone’s gas bills.

Peace Power Hires its CIO!

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Peace Power Hires its CIO!

Peace Power is very excited to announce the hiring of Kirk Clavelle, our new Chief Information Officer.  Kirk’s primary roles will be to manage marketing and the company’s online strategy.

Kirk is very excited to start his new role as CIO, especially considering the company’s commitment to being a market educator and information source, and its commitment to giving back 10% of profits to the community.

Please help me in welcoming Kirk Clavelle to the Peace Power team and look for our online presence to significantly expand as Kirk gets settled into his new role!


20 Years Later…
More Generators, More Innovation, More Choice

Recently IPPSA (Independent Power Producers Society of Alberta) prepared a small PowerPoint presentation comparing the Alberta Department of Energy’s electricity market forecasts from 1994 with the market today, just over 20 years later, to see how the market has evolved.

I find it fascinating to look at forecasts from the past, especially when the comparisons with today produce very interesting results.  If you are interested in seeing the full IPPSA PowerPoint presentation and the original 1994 report, feel free to email me at chad.mielke@peacepower.ca and I’ll send them your way.  Some of the facts I found most interesting include:

– in 1994, net Alberta generation capacity was anticipated to reach 10,000 MWh in 2022, instead we hit this mark in 2009 – 13 years ahead of the forecast – and today have over 15,000 MWh of capacity, twice what we had in 1993.

– the average price of power since deregulation in 2001, a total of 14 years, is very close to what the 1994 paper forecasted at $66/MWh.  This is remarkable considering that demand growth has doubled.

– competition has shifted investment risk away from tax payers to the generation developers.  This drives efficiency which has the net effect of lowering the price for electricity and the retirement of inefficient power generation facilities.

– de-regulation of generation by the government and the entrance of many private participants.

– Alberta’s average residential price for power remains competitive with, and in fact below, that of the rest of the Canadian provinces and territories.

-today Albertans enjoy choice and can choose from fixed-price contracts, flow-through contracts, duel-fuel contracts (power & gas), green power, or on-site generation – not to mention their choice of retailer.

– emissions intensity (tonnes/MWh) is set to halve by 2050 from today’s levels.

– Alberta’s grid is getting greener with CO2 emissions (tonnes) set to fall from today through 2030 and possibly beyond.

Although some of the Department of Energy’s original 1994 goals have not been achieved, many have and the Alberta market model has become one that is highly regarded and studied by provinces, states, and countries worldwide.

As always, if you have any questions we look forward to hearing from you.  Please check out our lowest rates on record and help us spread the word about Peace Power by telling your friends and relatives about us.  There are even referral bonuses for doing so 🙂

Cheers,

Chad

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

As we step into December the Regulated Rate Option (RRO)  is back on the rise, climbing 18% from its November mark, with the trend continuing to move up.  Early pricing in January is showing that the RRO will return to the 8 cent/kWh range.  Note that the three year average for the RRO is 8.8 cents/kWh.

Meanwhile Peace Power’s floating rate is in the 5 cent/kWh range and our fixed rates, good until the end of 2017 (+3 year), are in the low 7 cent/kWh range.

Also of particular note: ENMAX, the City of Calgary owned utility, is currently running a full page ad in Edmonton offering customers “Free Electricity” for a year.  But, as you know nothing is ever for free, explained in detail in my May 12th newsletter.  The consumer must sign up for both gas and electricity for five years at not-so-great rates, and is stuck with high exit fees if they leave early.  There is also a rumor that EPCOR has responded with “Free Electricity” for 2 months on a pre-paid electricity plan.

Both ENMAX and EPCOR will start battling it out – which is good for us as it may cause consumers to be a little more inquisitive and hopefully look around for an alternate supplier.

In early November ENMAX was in court on the charge of unpaid taxes to the tune of $375 million.  For more on the story Click Here.  The court date will not be scheduled until April 2015.

Also in the news was a story on ENMAX outsourcing IT jobs to India which of course Direct Energy has been doing for years.  For more on that story Click Here.  While a government regulated company like ENMAX is moving jobs overseas, which all Albertans should fundamentally disagree with, we at Peace Power are proud of the fact that all of our IT jobs, customer care, call centre and billing services are located right here in Alberta.

As we approach the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, our team at Peace Power would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!  We hope the coming year brings you good health and many blessings!
As we count our blessings, we sincerely want to Thank You for your continued support, whether it be as a customer or newsletter subscriber.  As we head into 2015 our commitment to you remains as always.  We will continue to provide you with low power rates, exceptional customer service, and up to date market information.  Thanks again for supporting your local community!
Cheers / Chad

Electricity Rates Take a Breather

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Electricity Rates Take a Breather

The Alberta spot price for power for September ended up at $ 23.97 / MW and for October it ended at $ 27.03 / MW, down from $122.53 / MW in July.  All greek to you right?  What do these prices mean?  Peace Power’s floating rate is directly linked to the spot price and therefore it means customers on our floating rate saved big these past two months.  It also means our market is volatile with extremely large swings.  In September Peace Power’s floating rate, was 3.8 cents / kWh.  For October the floating rate will be approximately 4.1 cents / kWh.  This compared to the September RRO rate of 8.6 cents / kWh and the October RRO rate of 6.7 cents / kWh.  When analyzing the below charts, you’ll see that the spot market prices in September and October ranked 2nd and 4th lowest since February 2002.  Think of it – you have to go back 12 years to find energy rates that were lower!  In contrast, have a look at July 2014 on the right.  It was the 10th highest spot market price.

Year to date wholesale power rates in 2014 are running at $54.59 / MW which is the fourth lowest year in the history of Alberta’s deregulated market.  In 2014, the market has benefited by prices dropping.  With the addition of new wind generation, the new Sheppard plant about to come on line and the Montana Tie Line – all of these business initiatives, (financed by the private sector) will result in lower wholesale costs.

“Deregulation is working”: Prices have come down, consumers have choice and new generation is being built.  Sure there are blips in the supply side of the market – but what goes up comes down and prices today have not been this low for a dozen years.

Commercial consumers today can buy electricity for 7.15 cents / kWh and have been able to do so all year – even when wholesale pool prices spiked our retail offering remained constant.   A spike in wholesale prices does not necessarily mean that it will impact the price consumers pay for electricity.

Further, we are offering a “Special Guaranteed Rate” for our seniors in Alberta at 6.95 cents per kWh.  If you are over 65 why not sign up and save some money?

3 Year-Guaranteed stable rates are available for residential, farm and commercial customers – PLUS – NO EXIT fees; consumers can exit the contract with just 10 day-notice with zero penalties.

There is good news on the horizon especially with an increase in generation capacity – you will see retail prices come down over the near future.   Deregulation encouraged new generation facilities to be built and consumers will benefit.

If you are paying 8 or 9 cents for electricity – then you are paying too much.  If you are tired of the RRO going up and down – then get off of the old utility rates and switch over to one of our cheaper stable rates.

Deregulation Promised “Lower Rates” and it offered the option of “Customer Choice” for consumers and we delivered.  Check it out www.PeacePower.ca.  Stable rates guaranteed to the end of 2017.  You got what you asked for – “Lower Rates”,  “Guaranteed Prices” and “No Exit Fees”.

Soon To Be Offering Natural Gas

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Soon To Be Offering Natural Gas

Since Peace Power’s inception in 2012, we have had customers and the public alike ask us when and if we are going to get into retailing natural gas.  After all, Direct Energy and Enmax do it and there are certainly advantages to having two utilities on one bill.  The benefits to the customer include: less bill payments each month; less companies to have to deal with when you need help; less paper to have to deal with; and savings on administration fees to name a few.  We have even had people tell us straight up that unless we offer both electricity and gas on one bill, that they will not consider switching to Peace Power – regardless of the savings on electricity that we have consistently offered.

Well GOOD news has arrived!

In July, with all the legal and licensing issues behind us, we started a pilot program to test natural gas retailing and are currently in the midst of working out the kinks.  Our goal is to unroll natural gas retailing as a duel fuel offering with electricity by the close of 2014.

This is an extremely exciting milestone for Peace Power and we anticipate very positive customer and public support when this comes available.  Retailing gas opens up doors to a whole other commodity market for us and creates a new retail arm for the company.  We are positive that it will only serve to strengthen our business going forward.

Our goal, as always, is to become the company the public wants us to be.  A company that is competitive with the other major players in Alberta, providing you another viable option for electricity and natural gas, with a focus on service and with the local community in mind.  This brings us one big step closer.  More on natural gas in the coming months, stay tuned!

Regarding the electricity market, RRO prices are again expected to increase in September over August.  Considering the average RRO rates across the province are already in the mid 8 cent/kWh range, with next month’s up-tick we will be approaching the three year average and therefore a return to more typical pricing.  This is a sign that the low rates of early 2014 may be a thing of the past as we prepare for fall.  The good news is that the rates Peace Power currently has on offer provide significant savings compared to the RRO, generally in the 10 – 20% range.

If you haven’t already made the switch, now is as good a time as any to become a Peace Power customer.  Sign up online or check out our current prices at www.peacepower.ca and spread the news.

Cheers,

Chad

Prices Remain Steady

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Prices Remain Steady

Since the start of 2014 we’ve seen a fairly steady spot market for electricity prices with only minor blips over the past 6 months.  From January through June regulated rate prices have averaged above 7.5 cents/kWh.  This has been good news for consumers in general.  Those still on the regulated rate got a nice reprieve from what is otherwise a rate that has averaged around 9 cents/kWh over the past three years.  Albertans who have already moved off the regulated rate to a fixed rate with Peace Power faired slightly better as our fixed rates have been in the low to mid 7 cents/kWh range throughout this same period.

The regulated rate prices are anticipated to rise by almost 50% in July compared to June and will likely stay or rise even further as we head into August.  The nice low RRO rates of 2014 might be a thing of the past as we head into the heart of summer.

Peace Power has been fortunate enough to offer consistent low prices to its customers throughout 2014 to date and will continue to do so.  Our prices have been lower than the RRO average through the first half of 2014 and early signs point to us lowering our prices even further as we negotiate our next rates to be offered August 1.  Our prices will fall as the RRO trends up, widening the current disparity.

Recently we’ve also seen new products being created by Enmax and Epcor in order to stay competitive in the Alberta market: Enmax’s new ‘free power for a year offer’ and Epcor’s new ‘Encor’ competitive rate offering.  Rest assured your best bet after crunching all the numbers is still with Peace Power.

If you haven’t already made the switch, now is as good a time as any.  Check out our current prices on our website at www.peacepower.ca and spread the news.

To good summer weather and cheap power!

Cheers,

Chad

Don’t Be Fooled By Enmax!

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Don’t Be Fooled By Enmax!

ENMAX EasyMax is offering one year free power to new customers signing up on a five year contract.

That is right, zero – zip – 0 cents per kWh for 1 full year.  Free Power?  Really?!  Nothing in life is ever free…..

Or better stated in the Calgary urban dictionary sense: “ENMAX giveth and ENMAX taketh away”

Here is the skinny on the EasyMax Free Power giveaway:

A.     Conditions:

1.      You must sign up for both Electricity (at 8.45 ₵ per kWh for the following four years) and Gas ($5.99 per GJ for all five years).

2.      Administration Fees are $7.10 per month for Electricity and $7.10 per month for Gas = $14.20.

3.      The customer will receive electricity at 0 ₵ per kWh up to a maximum of $1000 in their first year: this is only applied to the electricity portion of the bill.  (The $1000 is not what the customer would receive, but rather is a cap on what the offer is valued at.  This is equivalent to a customer using about 986 kWh per month – to achieve the maximum benefit).

4.      If the customer cancels the contract, the penalty is $95 per year per Electricity Site and $95 per year per Gas Site calculated for the remaining term of the 5 year contract.   (A double dip penalty – will be expensive!)

B.      Analysis:

1.      One year free electricity effectively pushes the cost of electricity over the 5 year term down from 8.45 to 6.76 ₵ per kWh (8.45 less 20%).  However take note: only if you stay for the full 5 year term will the average cost go down to this level.

The average Alberta household uses 600 kWh per month or 7200 kWh per year.  Comparing Peace Power’s current residential fixed price of 7.50 ₵ per kWh to ENMAX’s 6.76 ₵ per kWh, the customer would be saving 0.74 ₵ per kWh on electricity for five years.  This equates to a savings of $266.40 over five years.  Not too shabby.  However……

2.      Also, remember that you must buy gas to get one year free power and you must pay $5.99 per GJ for all five years.   Over the last couple of years (including the spike in price during February of 2014) the average Regulated Rate for Gas was $3.08 per GJ.   Using history for comparative purposes, then consumers signing up for gas at $5.99 would be paying almost double for Gas compared to what they would have paid if they were on the Regulated Rate.  Further, if we look at the forward market price for Gas over the next five years, the average price is expected to be $4.24 per GJ (as at May 11th, 2014).  This is a full 30% cheaper than the fixed rate ENMAX is asking you to sign up at.

The average Alberta household uses 10 GJ per month or 120 GJ per year.  At $5.99 per GJ they would be paying $210 more for Gas each year than if they stayed on the Regulated Rate.  This equates to $1,050 over the 5 year term.

3.      Take Note: Hidden in the “Fine Print”, ENMAX has now implemented a cancellation fee which it never had before.  If you need to get out of this contract it will be expensive.   If you cancel at the end of the first year of free power, the penalty cost would be $760.  On an annual basis the exit fee is not $95 but rather $95 X 2 (for both commodities, electricity and gas) = $190 per year remaining on your contract.

4.  ENMAX’s combined administration fees for electricity and gas are $14.20 compared to Peace Power’s monthly admin fee of $5.95 and the Regulated Rate for gas fee of $6.78 = $12.73

So there you have it.  The profit for ENMAX is in the gas formula, with consumers expected to be overpaying by about 30% for their gas (based on posted future numbers) compared to the Regulated Gas rate over the next five years.   With the glut of gas on the market right now – regulated prices are expected to stay low and consumers that sign up with ENMAX will pay a premium for no reason.  As I said – “ENMAX Taketh Away”.

When you crunch the numbers it makes far more sense to get on Peace Power’s fixed rate for electricity at 7.50 ₵ per kWh and ride the Regulated Rate for gas.  Over the next five years this will save you $1050 – $266.40 + $88.20 (admin fee savings) = $871.80.  Further, neither rate has cancellation penalties so you are free to leave whenever should you choose to do so.

The numbers don’t lie, stay away from ENMAX and switch to Peace!

Cheers,

Chad

Time to Get Off the RRO

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

Time to Get Off the RRO

As we step into spring I wanted to share with you what has been happening in the Alberta power market of late.

Power prices have been steady and low throughout the early part of 2014, however that is about to change.  The May RRO (regulated rate option) price posted by Direct Energy Regulated Services (DERS), EPCOR and ENMAX is about to climb over the 10 cents/kWh plateau.  This is almost a 50% increase over the previous month.  Further, the average RRO price in these territories over the past 3 years has been:

DERS (ATCO Electric) – 9.229 cents/kWh
EPCOR (Fortis) – 8.908 cents/kWh
EPCOR (Edmonton) – 9.130 cents/kWh
ENMAX (Calgary) – 9.111 cents/kWh

Compare these rates with Peace Power’s current fixed rate of 7.50 cents/kWh for residential and 7.25 cents/kWh for commercial and the savings are significant – approximately 18%!

Why pay more for electricity when it’s the same electrons travelling along the same power lines regardless of which retailer you choose?  The averages above speak for themselves, switch and save.

Has deregulation been good to the consumer?  The answer is yes if you are one of the 40% of Albertans who have gotten off the regulated rate.  You would have saved almost 20% on the cost of power over the past three years.

For an interesting article written in the Calgary Herald encouraging Albertans to get off the RRO, click on the attached: Albertans warned of power ‘price spike’

I get asked all the time how it is that Peace Power can undercut the big retailers in the province.  How can a little guy outperform the big guys?  The answer is simple: we have less operating expenses and are content with a smaller profit margin.  Even though we don’t have the same purchasing power, these two factors allow us to routinely beat the big guys and offer significant savings on average.  Since starting up, the months where our prices have been beat are few and far between.

In other news Peace Power just launched in Calgary and we are hoping for a big following right out of the gate!  This means we are active throughout all of rural Alberta, Edmonton and now Calgary!  As such, be sure to tell your family and friends in Cowtown about the great savings to be had by switching to Peace Power.

To good weather and cheap power!
Cheers,

Chad

What You Should Do With Your Gas Bill

peace power utilities alberta - natural gas, electricity, and internet provider in Edmonton, Calgary & grande prairie

What You Should Do With Your Gas Bill

I was recently approached by a friend the other day to help him analyze a few different gas options that his business had been provided with.  While Peace Power does not retail gas at the present time, I have educated myself on the market given the number of times I have been asked for my opinion.
This particular friend has numerous business locations, most of which are signed up with a particular competitive rate gas retailer.  You could say that they have an existing relationship and would hope that my friend would be able to rely on this retailer for a fair market rate.  However, upon analyzing the fixed rate offering this retailer provided my friend for his latest location, I was shocked.  The rate quoted was $5.88/GJ fixed for 4 years.  When questioned why the rate was so high, the retailer’s sales representative responded with, “The regulated gas rate is at $9.388/GJ this month in Calgary.  It used to be $3/GJ but it has been consistently rising.”
Below are three graphs of the forward market for gas taken from the AECO website (Alberta’s natural gas spot-trading index) which shows that although prices are high at present, over the coming years they should remain soft.
As can be seen, a rate offering of $5.88/GJ is ridiculous and factors in a very healthy profit margin for the retailer.  Alternatively, my friend can choose to go on the regulated rate for gas which averaged $3.152/GJ in 2013.  Further, if you average the forward market regulated rate over the same four years that the $5.88/GJ rate was offered to my friend, it averages at $4.10/GJ – that’s a 30% difference!
It never ceases to amaze me how retailers come out of the woodwork when there is volatility in the market and prey on the uninformed.  They use doom and gloom tactics to scare people into signing ridiculous contracts that only benefit themselves, the retailer.
However, armed with this information you can prevent yourself from getting trapped into a garbage contract by the next company that comes knocking on your door.  Further, if you are currently on a fixed rate for gas, I would look at what you are paying and seriously consider canceling the contract (subject to a possible cancelation fee) and switching back to the regulated rate.
Note that the regulated electricity and gas markets are structured differently in Alberta.  The regulated rate for gas is flow-through, meaning the consumer pays the actual cost of gas with no retailer mark-up for profit.  The regulated rate for electricity is different and mark-up for profit is allowed by the regulated provider.  This is the reason why Peace Power’s current rates are 22% cheaper for commercial and 20% cheaper for residential when compared to the average respective regulated electricity rates over the past three years.  We operate more efficiently and are content with a smaller profit margin.
Note that our current rates on offer have been extended through to May 31, 2014, all rates are good until the end of 2016:
  • Senior’s Residential Rate – 7.00 cents/kWh (deposit required)
  • Residential Value Rate – 7.50 cents/kWh (deposit required)
  • Residential Base Rate – 7.70 cents/kWh
  • Business Value Rate – 7.25 cents/kWh
  • Business Base Rate – 7.50 cents/kWh
  • Non-Profit Rate – 7.10 cents/kWh
Switch to Peace Power today and save on electricity!  If you are one of our existing customers and like the service you are receiving, tell your friends and family about us and have them sign up today.
Have a great spring!
Cheers / Chad