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Gah… Energy bills!

November 1st, 2006

Was in my bill paying mode this morning, and when I looked at what I owed for power, I about fainted.  You see, Angie and I signed up for a *new* Super Saver 24 whatchamacallit from TXU, and the dudes on the phone said we should see significant savings from the lower rate.  Only we are on an average monthly payment plan, so our actual payment changes … hardly at all even with the lower rate.  Wanna know why?

Well I did some number crunching, and I’m not at all sure that SuperSaver 24 is the best plan, but a little smoke and mirrors from the power company.  You see the rates for power went through the roof this last year, and if you all remember gas prices, you’ll understand the shell game that TXU is playing here.  We all remember the almost $3.00/gallon price for gas we paid through the summer.  Well the price of electricity about matches upto that on a per cost basis, lagging a bit since the price of power isn’t as volitile as the price of gas.

Last October for instance the price we paid for power was ~$0.10/kwh (when gas was ~$2/gal pre Katrina), last month we paid ~$0.15/kwh.  The new plan locks us into a price of $0.13/kwh.  A two cent drop, which sounds good, until you realize that if the price of energy drops to the equivalent of what the price of gas.  If gas stays at ~$2/gallon, then it seems we might have signed up for a plan that is 2 cents more expensive than the actual cost of power.

Check my math… or any other intangibles…  Should I call up and cancel the locked in 13 cent rate, and see how the market responds?  Because, since we pay an average monthly payment, the rate fluctuations don’t respond that significantly to the rate we pay.  But I don’t want to be locked into spring 2006 prices either.

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  1. Kristal
    November 2nd, 2006 at 10:55 | #1

    It’s no joke that electricity rates are insanely high, especially with the big companies like TXU. What doesn’t make sense to me is why consumers don’t switch providers when they’re sick of paying ridiculously high rates. In deregulated places, anyone can switch to a different provider. I’ve noticed that a number of lesser-known companies offer more competitive rates. Ever thought of switching?

  2. November 2nd, 2006 at 12:42 | #2

    I have.. but with average monthly payment, the game has you owing a residual when you cancel, so it is never feasible to cancel, unless you time it just right. With the rates rising over the last 9-12 months the bill never was near balance.

    I wish there was a more accessible way to check market energy prices, because even the competitors don’t really tell you the ‘real’ rate you pay. It will get better over time, as competition gets better…

  3. Kristal
    November 2nd, 2006 at 14:12 | #3

    Well, there is one web site that might be helpful to you. Have you ever checked out chooseenergy.com? If you enter your zip code and previous month’s bill, the site will list local providers and their rates. You can also see how much you would save annually by switching, and some of the providers offer incentives if you switch to them. It’s worth a try. I know a few people who have used it and they were happy with it.

    I wish I had the option to switch, but because of where I live, it’s not possible. So I’m stuck with the high bills…

  4. November 2nd, 2006 at 14:21 | #4

    awesome, thanks for the link! Hopefully, good competition will spread out to the burbs sooner rather than later…

    Either that or those portable nuclear reactors come down in a price a bit.

  5. Kristal
    November 3rd, 2006 at 10:58 | #5

    No problem, I hope the web site is helpful to you. It’s nice how you can switch providers right on the site, and they’ll even send you an email when rates drop if you don’t see a rate you want to lock in to right now.

    Consumers have to do their part to drive competition, and hopefully everyone will catch on soon.

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