Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Buying Electricity

I was visited by a salesperson from Universal Power yesterday looking to have me sign a long-term (5-year) agreement for fixed price electricity. I'm not terribly impressed by the scare-tactic approach, widely used in selling electricity and natural gas (ok, so it worked on me when I bought my gas plan ...). I realize our electricity rates are artificially regulated in Ontario, but I'm really reluctant to jump into a contract. As Canadian Capitalist pointed out in a previous post, if natural gas rates, fall, for example, in April, my fixed price natural gas contract will put me above market. Ouch.

As a relatively new homeowner, the options for buying electricity aren't something I'm familiar with. I pulled the following from the Ontario Energy Board website:
While electricity will always be delivered to you by the utility, you have the option of buying the electricity you use in one of three ways.
  • One way is through the Regulated Price Plan, in which you are charged a regulated price per kWh by your utility for the electricity that you consume. The price is set by the OEB, the independent regulator of Ontario’s energy sector, and remains stable for a certain period of time. As of May 1, 2006, the price may change up to every six months since the price is estimated by the OEB based on a forecast and it may not reflect what has been paid to generators. The difference is incorporated into future Regulated Price Plan prices set by the OEB.

  • Another way is through an electricity retailer, in which you pay the price per kWh as agreed upon by you and the retailer in the contract you sign. The price you pay is usually guaranteed for a number of years.

  • A third way – only available for a limited number of consumers who have an interval meter – is through spot market pricing, in which you pay actual wholesale market prices for electricity. These prices are volatile, fluctuating up and down by hour, day and season.
Has anyone had any experience working with an electricity retailer? If so, please let me know your thoughts.


Blogger Greg said...

Take a look at for some interesting reading. I haven't been there for a while for gas or electricity pricing but found the analysis good when i was last there. I did use them to find my current Long distance supplier and couldn't be happier.

2/23/2006 1:04 AM  

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Disclaimer: These articles are for information only, and are not to be construed as financial advice, legal advice, or a solicitation to buy or sell securities.