Author Topic: Time to shop for electricity  (Read 3988 times)

MrSal

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Time to shop for electricity
« on: September 17, 2015, 01:57:24 PM »
Our electricity contract is going to expire at the end of this month so we need to start shopping again.

Currently we are paying 7.8 cents per kWh of generation. This price I shopped back in March and it was a contract of 6 months.

Now, I am seeing the new offers and am wondering if I should go for a shorter contract? There are 3 month ones available for 5.9 cents per kWh. My only doubt is...

would this be a good move where the contract would expire in end of December? Are rates in that month usually higher? What would you guys advise?

Since Ive only been in the US for 10 months so far, I have no recall of any patterns associated with electricity prices during that period in order to make a based decision hence me asking for your help.

I live in PA btw if that helps for anything at all

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2015, 06:27:22 PM »
Hmmmm.... not a lot of traction on your request.  I did some research, and put forth the following two (2x) tips based on what I found
(I searched for "shopping for PA electricity contracts december"  and "average monthly electricity costs PA graph")

1)  If you're going to change your electric contract, the end-of-year seems historically to be one of the cheapest times of the year to change based on the past 14 years of data

2) If you switch contracts, be sure to get a FIXED RATE - not a variable rate.  Rates can (AND DO) go up, and most of the complaints from contract buying electric customers in PA are based on the increases from variable rate contracts.    Good luck!

Rural

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2015, 06:29:19 PM »
 No advice, because I've never lived anywhere that there was a possibility of changing electric suppliers. So I'll just point out that there is no competition in much of the US. Something you might need to know if you move.

MrSal

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2015, 06:49:16 PM »
Hmmmm.... not a lot of traction on your request.  I did some research, and put forth the following two (2x) tips based on what I found
(I searched for "shopping for PA electricity contracts december"  and "average monthly electricity costs PA graph")

1)  If you're going to change your electric contract, the end-of-year seems historically to be one of the cheapest times of the year to change based on the past 14 years of data

2) If you switch contracts, be sure to get a FIXED RATE - not a variable rate.  Rates can (AND DO) go up, and most of the complaints from contract buying electric customers in PA are based on the increases from variable rate contracts.    Good luck!

My question is if historically December is a good month to shop for electricity or not... I dont want my contract to expire and then see myself in the middle of very high offers because that's the month that is usually higher prices - again I have no idea hence me asking.

According to EIA, it seems November/December is indeed the season of lowest prices in Electricity ... I guess its a good month then to have the contract expire! I will choose 3 month then :) thanks!!

I know regarding to choose the fix one hence the reason to shop... most people opt for fix but then forget to shop again and is when the contract expires that the companies put you in a variable rate.

johnny847

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2015, 07:48:25 PM »
Hmmmm.... not a lot of traction on your request.  I did some research, and put forth the following two (2x) tips based on what I found
(I searched for "shopping for PA electricity contracts december"  and "average monthly electricity costs PA graph")

1)  If you're going to change your electric contract, the end-of-year seems historically to be one of the cheapest times of the year to change based on the past 14 years of data

2) If you switch contracts, be sure to get a FIXED RATE - not a variable rate.  Rates can (AND DO) go up, and most of the complaints from contract buying electric customers in PA are based on the increases from variable rate contracts.    Good luck!

My question is if historically December is a good month to shop for electricity or not... I dont want my contract to expire and then see myself in the middle of very high offers because that's the month that is usually higher prices - again I have no idea hence me asking.

According to EIA, it seems November/December is indeed the season of lowest prices in Electricity ... I guess its a good month then to have the contract expire! I will choose 3 month then :) thanks!!

I know regarding to choose the fix one hence the reason to shop... most people opt for fix but then forget to shop again and is when the contract expires that the companies put you in a variable rate.

Even if somebody on this forum tells you their experiences with shopping for different electricity, it wouldn't matter unless they live in the same area as you.

The trend you can see from the first graph in the first link is that on average, across all electricity markets in the US, prices drop at the end of the year. But you don't care about the national average. You only care about your market.

The only data from which you can draw any meaningful conclusions is the average price of electricity from suppliers in your market.
I went to the source, the EIA website, to see if they at least break it down by state. They do not.

MrSal

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2015, 09:40:33 PM »
Hmmmm.... not a lot of traction on your request.  I did some research, and put forth the following two (2x) tips based on what I found
(I searched for "shopping for PA electricity contracts december"  and "average monthly electricity costs PA graph")

1)  If you're going to change your electric contract, the end-of-year seems historically to be one of the cheapest times of the year to change based on the past 14 years of data

2) If you switch contracts, be sure to get a FIXED RATE - not a variable rate.  Rates can (AND DO) go up, and most of the complaints from contract buying electric customers in PA are based on the increases from variable rate contracts.    Good luck!

My question is if historically December is a good month to shop for electricity or not... I dont want my contract to expire and then see myself in the middle of very high offers because that's the month that is usually higher prices - again I have no idea hence me asking.

According to EIA, it seems November/December is indeed the season of lowest prices in Electricity ... I guess its a good month then to have the contract expire! I will choose 3 month then :) thanks!!

I know regarding to choose the fix one hence the reason to shop... most people opt for fix but then forget to shop again and is when the contract expires that the companies put you in a variable rate.

Even if somebody on this forum tells you their experiences with shopping for different electricity, it wouldn't matter unless they live in the same area as you.

The trend you can see from the first graph in the first link is that on average, across all electricity markets in the US, prices drop at the end of the year. But you don't care about the national average. You only care about your market.

The only data from which you can draw any meaningful conclusions is the average price of electricity from suppliers in your market.
I went to the source, the EIA website, to see if they at least break it down by state. They do not.

yes they do. And as expected December is again the lowest season of the year in terms of prices.

johnny847

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2015, 09:45:08 PM »
Hmmmm.... not a lot of traction on your request.  I did some research, and put forth the following two (2x) tips based on what I found
(I searched for "shopping for PA electricity contracts december"  and "average monthly electricity costs PA graph")

1)  If you're going to change your electric contract, the end-of-year seems historically to be one of the cheapest times of the year to change based on the past 14 years of data

2) If you switch contracts, be sure to get a FIXED RATE - not a variable rate.  Rates can (AND DO) go up, and most of the complaints from contract buying electric customers in PA are based on the increases from variable rate contracts.    Good luck!

My question is if historically December is a good month to shop for electricity or not... I dont want my contract to expire and then see myself in the middle of very high offers because that's the month that is usually higher prices - again I have no idea hence me asking.

According to EIA, it seems November/December is indeed the season of lowest prices in Electricity ... I guess its a good month then to have the contract expire! I will choose 3 month then :) thanks!!

I know regarding to choose the fix one hence the reason to shop... most people opt for fix but then forget to shop again and is when the contract expires that the companies put you in a variable rate.

Even if somebody on this forum tells you their experiences with shopping for different electricity, it wouldn't matter unless they live in the same area as you.

The trend you can see from the first graph in the first link is that on average, across all electricity markets in the US, prices drop at the end of the year. But you don't care about the national average. You only care about your market.

The only data from which you can draw any meaningful conclusions is the average price of electricity from suppliers in your market.
I went to the source, the EIA website, to see if they at least break it down by state. They do not.

yes they do. And as expected December is again the lowest season of the year in terms of prices.

They break it down by states trends on the EIA website?

I wasn't able to find it. Can you show me?

EDIT: Found it. Just wasn't in graph form.

But also, even with the state data, that's going to be a state average. Which is going to be better than a national average, but it's still not your market.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 09:47:05 PM by johnny847 »

MrSal

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2015, 10:15:53 PM »
of course. although considering that all the averages in all states seem to coincide with december i would say there is a good change my market is the same. electricity is a commodity so variation in price fluctuations shouldnt be much otherwise they would get arbitraged away quickly.

Better EIA than nothing. At least with this a decision has some kind of foundation ...

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2015, 06:32:27 AM »
This is inspiring me to finally deal with changing electricity suppliers, since I'm in Pennsylvania too. Currently I just buy from my default supplier, PPL.

The customer charge is $14.13 a month - fixed - and the effective price per kWh is 13 cents. I used all of 222 kWh last month so electricity isn't that big of a deal for me. But I will pay more in the winter because we have electric heat in our finished attic which is where our daughter plays in the winter. We bought a portable a/c that also can use its heat pump to heat this summer, so I'll try to see if that's cheaper to run than the electric heat.

So, going with looking for a fixed rate around the New Year means that like MrSal I should hit a three-month contract. Picking the cheapest would save me 3.3 cents/kWh or, estimating high bills (300 kWh), $10/month. It's not negligible but it's not huge either.

I also looked into a power purchase agreement with SolarCity. Their offers are 15 cents/kWh for the next 20 years, or 12 cents/kWh increasing by 2.9%/year for the next 20 years. Either of those would mean never worrying about it, and rooftop solar is cool. But it wouldn't cover my whole electricity bill and it's not a ton of savings. One could try to Nostradamus it and say that mandated renewable percentages will increase electricity prices going forward, but that's a lot like market timing to me.

MrSal

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Re: Time to shop for electricity
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2015, 02:57:27 PM »
This is inspiring me to finally deal with changing electricity suppliers, since I'm in Pennsylvania too. Currently I just buy from my default supplier, PPL.

The customer charge is $14.13 a month - fixed - and the effective price per kWh is 13 cents. I used all of 222 kWh last month so electricity isn't that big of a deal for me. But I will pay more in the winter because we have electric heat in our finished attic which is where our daughter plays in the winter. We bought a portable a/c that also can use its heat pump to heat this summer, so I'll try to see if that's cheaper to run than the electric heat.

So, going with looking for a fixed rate around the New Year means that like MrSal I should hit a three-month contract. Picking the cheapest would save me 3.3 cents/kWh or, estimating high bills (300 kWh), $10/month. It's not negligible but it's not huge either.

I also looked into a power purchase agreement with SolarCity. Their offers are 15 cents/kWh for the next 20 years, or 12 cents/kWh increasing by 2.9%/year for the next 20 years. Either of those would mean never worrying about it, and rooftop solar is cool. But it wouldn't cover my whole electricity bill and it's not a ton of savings. One could try to Nostradamus it and say that mandated renewable percentages will increase electricity prices going forward, but that's a lot like market timing to me.

It totally pays off! I signed up with AEP in March and saved 3.6 cents off of the normal price.

Thats a savings of 20-25% which if someone has lets say 1000 dollars in electricity its a 250 savings.