Author Topic: PA power switch challenging optimization problem  (Read 1361 times)

The King of Many Things

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PA power switch challenging optimization problem
« on: October 20, 2017, 06:50:08 PM »
Here's the background: in Pennsylvania you can choose you electric supplier from about 150 different companies.
The plans are similar to cellphone plans. Different incentives, cancellation fees, assorted bullshit.
The frustration is the deregulation of the electrical market was supposed to lower prices by spurring competition, but rather than a competition by engineers to see who can make electricity more efficiently it is a competition by sales people to see who can have the most confusing plan.

I'm posting this here and asking for help because I'm hoping that someone reading this has already solved this problem.   I'm also lazy and know that some people live for shit like this.
PA is roughly 4% of the population of the usa - so worth a shot.

As much as I'm interested in the cheapest supplier, I'm also interested in the methodology.  How are you filtering out the bullshit?
Assumptions: i'm average and I live in zip code 18370.

Also wondering, do other states have shit like this?
Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Link to website: 

http://www.papowerswitch.com/shop-for-electricity/shop-for-your-home

Cranky

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Re: PA power switch challenging optimization problem
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 07:31:25 PM »
Ohio doesnít have 150 plans, but I do have to choose a supplier, and really - I just choose whoever is cheapest at the moment and sign on for two years. My electric averages out to around $70/month, so Iím not going to get too worked up about it.


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: PA power switch challenging optimization problem
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 08:20:14 PM »
After looking into solar panels I decided to just pay a little extra for an all-renewable plan. I'm not sure there's a way to avoid paying the cancellation fee if you sign up for a plan with one. All the plan configurations are Rudy Ilona, but I do like that I can choose renewable power.

Does anybody else in Pennsylvania get four-to-door weirdos asking to look at their electric bill? They claim to not be selling anything and I haven't figured out the scam, but it sure is bizarre.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 08:22:13 PM by ShoulderThingThatGoesUp »

MrSal

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Re: PA power switch challenging optimization problem
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 10:45:31 AM »
Here's the background: in Pennsylvania you can choose you electric supplier from about 150 different companies.
The plans are similar to cellphone plans. Different incentives, cancellation fees, assorted bullshit.
The frustration is the deregulation of the electrical market was supposed to lower prices by spurring competition, but rather than a competition by engineers to see who can make electricity more efficiently it is a competition by sales people to see who can have the most confusing plan.

I'm posting this here and asking for help because I'm hoping that someone reading this has already solved this problem.   I'm also lazy and know that some people live for shit like this.
PA is roughly 4% of the population of the usa - so worth a shot.

As much as I'm interested in the cheapest supplier, I'm also interested in the methodology.  How are you filtering out the bullshit?
Assumptions: i'm average and I live in zip code 18370.

Also wondering, do other states have shit like this?
Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Link to website: 

http://www.papowerswitch.com/shop-for-electricity/shop-for-your-home

Confusing? How?

There is no complexity on the plans... I am a foreigner for the past 3 years and for the past 2.5 years I have been using pa power switch.

Simply go to website, input your zip code and order the plans from low to high on price. Make sure to filter only to FIXED pricing and just sign up whatever is the cheapest. Make sure there are no sign up fees and you are golden.

I usually switch/shop every 3-6 months whenever the promotion period is over... I hop from company to company, whichever is the lowest at the time. It takes not even 5 minutes and it saves me about 30-40% in electrical costs

In your case, the cheapest is the 3rd option most likely:



That;'s because the 1st option while super cheap per kwh ... it has a 145$ Enrollment Fee for a 3 month term. You'd have to use a lot of electricity for that to payoff.

The 2nd one, has a 1$ service fee per day, so you'd pay $30 per month in addition to the 13$ month towards PPL ... it might make sense if you use upwards of 1604 kwh.month then this would be better than 3rd option - (30 / ( 0.0582 - 0.0395) ) ...

3rd option is generally the best one... since its just a flat rate of 5,8 cents per kwh ... no sign up fees no cancellation fees... and its good for 9 months!
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 10:54:45 AM by MrSal »

pecunia

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Re: PA power switch challenging optimization problem
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 07:06:23 PM »
Having all those various power providers seems kind of inefficient.  There is a lot of duplication there.  In addition, I suspect that power from the dirtiest coal plants will come out the cheapest so maybe society as a whole loses.

As I recall, ENRON and the deregulated market didn't help the folks in California.  They used to call the utility a natural monopoly and regulated it to keep prices down.  My non-regulated internet bill is typically higher than my regulated power bill until Winter cold kicks in.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: PA power switch challenging optimization problem
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2017, 07:18:37 PM »
It's not that you're buying electricity directly from a company that owns a power plant; at least, not necessarily. Many of these companies are just resellers.

The King of Many Things

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Re: PA power switch challenging optimization problem
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2017, 07:48:08 PM »
Thanks for the responses.
MrSal thanks for going through all the trouble with the screenshots and everything. 
Your advice is spot on. If I wanted to get the cheapest electricity and continually monitor the price that's what I would do.  I'm not trying to save money to retire early so I can do bullshit like this.
The confusing part for me is the way reality works and the way I want it to work.  See, what I am really trying to do is give the company that produces electricity the most efficiently my money and be done with it. 
What I'm really doing is rewarding the company that is the trickiest.  And what they are doing (instead of trying to more efficiently produce electricity) is find the buyers that value time spent shopping for electricity the least.  I can understand that if the thing I was buying was food, cell phones, cable, internet speed. Some type of thing where there is a discernable difference in quality. But this is electricity.  It does not work like that.  If you look at websites of the suppliers, the sales tactics are ridiculous.  I don't know how electricity works but I know the supplier I choose has little to do with what's coming out of the holes.  Wind farm generated toast doesn't taste any different than nuclear toast.

My actual electric bill is like 50 bucks a month.  I just try to optimize these things.
Yeah, I get the weirdo sales people coming around asking to see my bill, telling lies about how this is a government program, I got one guy cold called me and was trying to get my account numbers.  To presumably switch me without my knowledge or with my lukewarm approval.
So, the real question here is, do I want to man up and add monitoring the cost of electric supplier to my list of adult duties?
Yeah, it looks like that's what I'll be doing.