Alternative utility providers

Does anyone have experience with changing their utility providers (Gas and Electric) to save money? Other than the charge (per ccf for gas, or per kwh for electric), are there any other considerations (fees) to be aware of when you change?
It appears that if I change electric, I can reduce my bill by $.05/kwh, but I would still need to pay for transport charges to my original provider. That small reduction is enough to be attractive to me, but I don't fully understand how changing the supplier for the same current can be so much less expensive (40% in this case).
For gas, I'm looking at variable rates vs. fixed rate contracts, with ceilings, fees, etc.
Thank you, Dave
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tom snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The way it works in my area is that the local monopoly still owns the power lines, and you pay them a fixed monthly fee plus delivery charges. You pay the alternative energy provider for the energy that you use. In my case, that is a small part of the total bill. So even if you are saving 40% on the energy cost, that is 40% of maybe 40% of the total electric bill, for a savings of 16% (in this example).
I don't know much about it, but in some cases, electric companies can buy electricity on the open market for less than what it costs them to generate their own power with their own power plants. The local utility here used to own a nuclear plant that provided electricity at a higher than market rates. Somehow it worked out that they sold the plant and are more competitive now, although I don't understand how someone else can run the plant profitably.
Ken
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With out knowing your areas rules and laws there is no way to answer you.
Arizona toyed with this for couple of years. The utility commission said that they had to allow customers to change. The utilities sued the commission cause every proposal that they provided was denied. When the dust had settled the law became mute. NOT one utility wanted a single customer less than 100kw of load. So that meant a person could not change but an area could. Several tried and there was always a hold out and they could not force the change on the hold outs (state law).
Call the utility commission/regulators in your area.
Me thinks it will COST you to change.
Remember when the deregulation of the phones happened? My phone bill has doubled since the deregulation.
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IMO, the whole thing is a scam. Check that .05 figure again. Is that the reduction? In my case the saving is about $2 a month because the savings is ..005 kW when you factor in all the real costs and add the distribution charges.
\\We also have hte option of using "green" power from hydro plants and wind farms, but that increases the rate if you want to be green.
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The $.05 is the cost per KWh. So, if I use 1000KWh/mo., then it saves me $20 (all other things being equal).
I guess that is part of my question...are all the other distribution costs, etc., really equal or would we have added fees, etc. for the difference supply/dist.
As for the green power, it surprises me in the sense that you would think that they would want you to move to green power rather than make you pay more for it. If the equipment or conversion is so expensive that it would cost your customers more to move to it...why put it in place as an option in the first place?
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Follow up -
Ed, I relooked at the numbers and saw what you meant. The actual "supply" savings would have been on the order of $.01/kwh, not $.05. So, it comes to about $10/mo or so, if there are no service fees or other charges.
It's wonderful when regulation steps in and makes things as difficult as possible for the consumer to figure out. Since my last post, I've read countless articles on how confusing this process is and how you have to dig into the details to see whether or not it makes sense. (sic)
Thanks, Dave
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tom snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

correct for the previous quarter.
Several years ago, I changed my electricity supplier. For two months, the minimum period before I could switch back ;-) After the added meter reading, delivery and higher mrc charges, I was paying $9 more than the original provider, I did save $1 on energy cost though. But I use less than 1,000 KWH /mo. This is the frugal group, right? The retail providers, "competitors" are just understaffed billing companies.
It's just another government game, making you think they gave you something. (Well, our PUC commision did get dragged to DC with our former gov, he got paid)
Unless you use megaWH, your benefit will be the $25 DIY card they give you for switching. good luck,
-larry / dallas
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sorry, didn't catch the poster posted across several groups, hate that.
larry wrote:

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Because maybe the customer would like to put their money towards renewable, and clean power. Also, it's a US product, not from the mid east.
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tom snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You didn't mention where you live. That makes a huge difference in the answer to your question. If you are in USA, what state do you live in?
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John Smith wrote:

Sorry about leaving that out, we're in Western New York (Buffalo area)
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The answer no doubt varies from state to state.
I've switched a few times, without cost, but I have been careful to switch only after completing the terms of my contract, as most have a premature switching penalty. In fact, I just switched my natural gas, as my old supplier advised they were upping their rate from about $8.90 to about $14.50, and I found an alternative source offering a fixed rate of about $12.50. Its true that this only applies to the provider portion of your bill, but still it is some savings. It would be nice to have some alternative sources for electricity, but most of them are largely theoretical, and I need something today, not twenty years hence.
Even if you only save a few dollars a month, you still save something. The confusion in evaluating suppliers in my area is trying to compare variable rate deals with fixed rate deals. I avoid the variable rate deals, as it seems to me the provider has no incentive to hold costs down when they can simply pass them through.
tom snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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