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Utility Flat Rate
Old 08-14-2009, 07:14 PM   #1
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Utility Flat Rate

A few year ago I enrolled in a program with my electric/gas utility provider and agreed to be charged a flat rate all year long and be protected from fluctuations in the fuel adjustment factor. I can appreciate the lack of flux in my bills and may rates have actually gone down from last year.

In 2008 my flat rate for electricity was $0.106 per kWh while I was charged $2.11 per ccf for gas.

My new 2009 rates are $0.099 kWh and $1.33 ccf. Always nice to see a reduction.

Does anyone else take advantage of this program with the local utility?
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
A few year ago I enrolled in a program with my electric/gas utility provider and agreed to be charged a flat rate all year long and be protected from fluctuations in the fuel adjustment factor. I can appreciate the lack of flux in my bills and may rates have actually gone down from last year.

In 2008 my flat rate for electricity was $0.106 per kWh while I was charged $2.11 per ccf for gas.

My new 2009 rates are $0.099 kWh and $1.33 ccf. Always nice to see a reduction.

Does anyone else take advantage of this program with the local utility?
does that mean you pay 1.33 per hundred cubic feet? we are charged by the mcf which i think is thousand cubic feet...i just locked in at 7.99 /mcf. at the peak a few yrs ago we het 13-ish per mcf
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:37 PM   #3
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I've been on a similar program for the past four years for our electricity rates, not gas (we're all electric). It is a wind energy program and we paid $0.079 kWh the first three years, increasing to $0.081 kWh last year. The program expires in December and we don't know yet what our options will be going forward.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:47 PM   #4
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I am not sure if we have the flat yearly rate per kWh, but even if we did I doubt I would take advantage of it. I like the idea of allowing my usage to respond to variable rates. This is an example of a free market - - if the rates are high, I use less.

Likewise, I do not participate in the "smoothed" electrical bill where you pay the same amount each month. I like to try lowering my bill by being thrifty about my energy usage.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:35 PM   #5
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We do the "budget plan" for our natural gas, but it's simply the gas company's averaging of what your usage is anticipated to be and dividing it into 12 payments--the price of the gas will still fluctuate. They are not very good at it--this spring we had almost $1,000 credit built up (but as I told the gas people, had we invested that $ elsewhere we might have lost 40 percent of it!). We do it because we'd otherwise have $200 gas bills in the winter and $20 in the summer and they do pay a little interest on credit balances.

Our electric company also offers a budget plan (same principle as the gas co.) but we find our electric use has been pretty consistent throughout the year, around $45/mo, so we don't use it.

There are natural gas packages too that would guarantee the pricing but you are likely to lose money on them vs. the gas utility: Citizens Utility Board | Gas Market Monitor
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:31 AM   #6
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I use the budget plan for my electric. I'd rather pay the same amount every month then have it be skyhigh in July and almost nothing in Dec..
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:10 AM   #7
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Several years ago the electricity industry was deregulated in Texas. So we have the option of picking from many companies for our electricity. This gives us the option of shopping for the best rate offered. Many companies offer plans that lock in the rate for periods of 3 months up to 2 years (or 3 years??). I've switched companies 3 times in the last 4 years and currently have my rate of $0.098 per kwh locked in for the next 12 months. You also have the option of just going month to month and paying whatever the rate is each month. Texas has some of the highest electricity rates in the country and I don't think this has actually benefited us at all. Yes, we can shop around but we still have very high rates compared to the rest of the country. But given the high rates, it is nice that we can switch to a different company if they jack up the rate on us.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:10 AM   #8
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I used 1523 kWh from June 20th to July 19th.

The cost was $125.65, so that comes to 0.0825/kWh.

That includes Fuel Adjustment, and Hurricane Charge, and any other fees.

Overall, I think that is a pretty good deal and I agree, Dallasguy, it looks like we are getting cheaper rates than you are.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:25 AM   #9
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I locked in a year at $0.095 starting two months ago after my provider jacked up the rates. The cheapest rate is over 10 cents now, which is strange because last time I looked natgas was down even more.*

The savings for this past June, compared to last year have been fantastic, and given the high temperatures we've had this summer it was a great deal.

One word of caution, I just read a story yesterday about a small business owner who got ripped off when she changed providers. The new company promised one rate, but then when the bill arrived it was much higher. She changed back, but the change was undone in some unexplained manner and she found herself back with the ripoff company again when she got the next bill. Plus, and this is the real charmer, they charged a $30,000 cancellation fee!

When I switched I used the Texas Electric Choice website to compare plans and prices, but I also looked at their stats on consumer complaints to weed out the crooks.

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*I was right about natgas prices. They went up right after I locked in my rate, but have gone down since. However, and this may be a bigger contributor, coal prices went up right after I locked in and they have not retraced all the way back down.
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:08 PM   #10
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I don't think we have level billing in Hawaii. At least I can't find it on the website, and PUC lets HECO change the rates (within reason) every few months according to their fuel costs.

HECO offers a load-shedding program for those with electric water heaters. The company puts a pager box in the heater's electrical supply and rebates $3/month on the customer's bill. In exchange the customer agrees that if HECO wants to shed some load, they can send a pager signal to the box and interrupt the heater's power for up to an hour.

The utility feature that I'm eagerly anticipating is time-of-day metering.
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:17 PM   #11
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HECO offers a load-shedding program for those with electric water heaters. The company puts a pager box in the heater's electrical supply and rebates $3/month on the customer's bill. In exchange the customer agrees that if HECO wants to shed some load, they can send a pager signal to the box and interrupt the heater's power for up to an hour.
That is so COOL!! I would sign up for it in a heartbeat. It would be like somebody handing me 3 crisp $1 bills every month for essentially nothing.
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:31 PM   #12
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HECO offers a load-shedding program for those with electric water heaters. The company puts a pager box in the heater's electrical supply and rebates $3/month on the customer's bill. In exchange the customer agrees that if HECO wants to shed some load, they can send a pager signal to the box and interrupt the heater's power for up to an hour.
We've saved a lot of money in the last couple of months on our electric water heater. The cold water is coming out hot these days, you see, so we've taken warm showers without using a drop of hot water...
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:58 PM   #13
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We've saved a lot of money in the last couple of months on our electric water heater. The cold water is coming out hot these days, you see, so we've taken warm showers without using a drop of hot water...
I remember taking showers like that in Texas.

The summer "frying-eggs-on-the-sidewalk" heat in Texas wouldn't be so bad, if the fire ants would go somewhere else during the worst of it. Seems like they get angry and bite more furiously and persistently when it's hot. They even swim in the water, if you try to cool off in a lake or pond.

I really did like Texas when I lived there, but mostly because of the people. The summers are not something I'd want to repeat. I can't possibly even imagine how tough Texas pioneers must have been, to endure all that with no A/C.

And northerners think I'm nuts to want to move a couple of states north to retire, instead of south? I'm going to find a happy medium.
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:07 PM   #14
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And northerners think I'm nuts to want to move a couple of states north to retire, instead of south? I'm going to find a happy medium.
You sound like one of those northeasterner "halfbacks" who decide to live year-round in the Carolinas instead of buying a second winter home in Florida...
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:12 PM   #15
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You sound like one of those northeasterner "halfbacks" who decide to live year-round in the Carolinas instead of buying a second winter home in Florida...
Nothing wrong with that. But I thought they moved to Florida, then turned around and moved halfway back to NY. Whatever - - I hope I only have to move once, though.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:44 PM   #16
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Here in the Tampa area we have the option of levelized billing and I participate in that program. Our bills are always higher in the summer with the A/C going 24/7. Those high usage months are offset by months like Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov and part of Dec when hardly anything runs from a heating/cooling standpoint. We actually run the heat sometimes around Christmas and throughout Jan but normally just at night. Our house is totally electric. I don't pay attention to the rates/KWH, etc. I have a TECO installed house surge protector that cost $7/Month and that's included in my utility bill which runs levelized $198/month. At my previous house I had a pool that utilized a heat pump when water temp demanded. TECO installed one of those load shedding meters for which I got $8/mo credit. I chose to include my water heater, pool pump and pool heat pump but not the house A/C. When it's hot you need A/C more than the the extra $2 you could save on your utility bill. My water and sewer is a separate bill that averages $40/mo.
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