Chicago Case Study: Go Green and Save Green

Case Study: Go Green and Save Green

Abbie works for an environmental non-profit in the Chicago-area.  She cares deeply about the environment and wants to use renewable energy for her small apartment.  BUT, Abbie also works for a non-profit so she was worried that green energy would be too expensive.   girl_environmental_activist_H

Abbie saw our cost comparison for green energy and decided that for about 0% – 15% premium, she could afford to choose 100% renewable energy.  Abbie had been on the default plan for her area and by signing-up for Energy Simply she actually was able to get a lower price on 100% renewable energy than she had been paying.

Sign up for Energy Simply’s service and you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the cheapest or cheapest green energy at all times.

If you live in one of these Illinois cities, you’d better watch your energy bills

Many Illinoisans live in cities that have negotiated competitive electricity rates for their citizens. This is referred to as money to burnmunicipal aggregation. In most cases, the negotiated rates are lower than the default Comed Utility rate. However, Comed’s rates have come down to 7.006 cents/kwh which means many city rates are now too high. Depending on electricity use, consumers who live in these higher rate cities could be paying an extra $10, $20, $30 or more for electricity every month.

The cities and their rates are listed here:

Aurora – 8.086/kwh

Dwight – 7.88/kwh

Justice – 7.89/kwh

Lanark – 7.852/kwh

Morton Grove – 7.84/kwh

Mount Prospect – 7.935/kwh

Owen Township – 7.845/kwh

Riverside – 7.81/kwh

Warrenville – 7.89/kwh

Consumers living in those cities should consider opting out of their municipal plan. There are no penalties to do so under Illinois law. While they can now switch back to Comed whenever they want, consumers in those cities could also shop for much cheaper rates or let a service such as Energy Simply manage that shopping and switching for them. Rates in Illinois are as low as 6 cents/kwh meaning that significant savings can be realized. And – when consumers let Energy Simply do the shopping and switching, they can rest easy knowing that they’re in the cheapest electricity plan at all times.

Texans Energy creates a new low in market manipulation

Texans Energy, a new power company, has come onto the scene with a seemingly appealing offering that shows up on the first page of Power To Choose offerings.  With Texans Energy, if you use over 999 kWh you get a $65 bill credit.  Seems great right?  There is one big catch though, you don’t get the credit if you use more than 1200 kWh.  You might be scratching your head right now thinking, “what are the chances I’ll be within a 200 kWh range of usage?”  Seems unhelpful right…

Why would they do this?  One reason, to manipulate their ranking on Power To Choose.  As I’ve written about before, Power To Choose ranks plans based on their average kWh cost for 1000 kWh of usage.  That means that even though it’s unlikely that a customer will hit Texans Energy’s narrow range, it’s 100% likely that they will succeed in artificially inflating their ranking on Power To Choose.

What’s next, a $100 credit if you hit exactly 1000 kWh?  That way a company can be assured to be at the top of the rankings while still screwing over it’s customers. Hey Power to Choose! It’s time to change the “rules” so they work for customers and not market manipulators.MiLkAzLgT

FAQ: Can I switch my electric power company?

You don’t have to keep overpaying for electricity,  or keep polluting the world with dirty electricity.  If you live in Texas or Illinois, you can switch and start getting cheaper and/or greener power now.

changesameIn Texas, if you are currently not under contract (on a month-to-month or pay as you go plan)  you can switch right now.  You can also switch right now, with no termination fee, if your plan expires in the next 14 days (you are within the state mandated grace period).  If you are not in either of those 2 groups, you can still switch right now, but you are likely under contract and subject to a termination fee ranging from $100-$200 if you switch.

If you fall into one of the first 2 groups you  should always switch right now.  You are definitely paying more than you need to if you have a month-to-month plan or a pay as you go plan, and if your plan expires in the next 14 days you want to switch now so the company can’t hit you with month-to-month variable rates upon contract expiration.  If you have a cancellation charge, it may still be worthwhile to switch.  Our average customers save ~$50/month and some of our customers have saved $100s/month.  If you haven’t changed providers in more than a year, you have more than a few months left on your contract, and you live in a 2000+ square-foot house, chances are you can save money by switching.  You can go to www.powertochoose.org and pick a plan.

Things to remember when picking a Texas plan:

1) Always choose a fixed price plan

2) You can often save money with 3-6 month plans

3) Make sure you note your contract end date, so you can sign yourself up for your next plan before the one you choose expires

4) Your use varies so take a look at www.smartmetertexas.com to help you figure out what your expected usage will actually be

5) Always look at the fact label and make sure the company isn’t playing games with pricing using large credits or other tricks to make their plan look cheaper

In Illinois, the vast majority of people will have no cost to switch (basically if you’ve never switched before there will be no cost to switch).  So you can go to www.pluginillinois.org,  choose a cheaper (current price to compare from ComEd is ~7¢/kWh ) or greener plan and in 3 to 7 weeks you will be receiving power from your new provider.

Two things to remember when choosing an Illinois plan:

1) Always choose a fixed price plan!

2) Make sure you know when your plan will end and remember to switch again to a new plan ~5 weeks before the end of your plan to avoid getting hit with variable rates at the end of your contract (to figure this out you also need to know when it starts).

And lastly,  remember there is an alternative to spending your precious tine staying on top of this stuff.  You can let Energy Simply manage it all for you.  We are electricity market experts and we are always thinking of ways to keep you in the best cheapest (and potentially greenest) plans.  We sign you up for the best available plan, track prices in case it ever makes sense to switch mid-contract, and switch you before your contract expires so you never get stuck paying variable rates.  And it will only cost you $5/month.  Sign up today!

Case Study: Accountants Use Energy Simply, Shouldn’t You?

accountant

Herschel is an accountant who decided to research to find his best energy plan. After researching, he decided to become an Energy Simply customer.  Here are some of his reasons:

  • Time – It took multiple hours to research offers, read the fine print, and build a simple model.  Doing this every time his contract comes-up (3 to 6 mos) is not the best use of Herschel’s time; but Energy Simply does this for him.
  • Expertise – While Herschel may be able to amortize a fixed cost like a professional, he’s not an expert in the electricity industry.  Energy Simply understands the tricks companies play to make their prices seem better than they actually are and has a sophisticated proprietary model for finding the best plan for each household’s electricity usage.
  • Monitoring – Energy Simply monitors the electricity market frequently and looks for price changes.  Herschel doesn’t check as often and may be missing-out on opportunities to switch providers if a better deal becomes available.

Illinois Residents: As municipal rate plans expire, rates may go up

If you buy electricity in Illinois there is a good chance you’ve saved a little money due to municipal aggregation. A few years ago when Illinois opened up its retail electricity market the law allowed for companies to negotiate deals with local municipal governments (villages, cities, counties, townships) which typically resulted in cheaper electricity for residents. Okay, hopefully I haven’t already lost you…this is important!tearing contract

Most of those rates were pretty good – unless you’re in Aurora, IL – your rates are very high and you should call us immediately! But, many of those agreements are set to expire in coming months. One very big example is the City of Chicago who’s municipal aggregation agreement expires in May of 2015. However, there are many other agreements that are set to expire soon.

What that means is there will be uncertainty in the market and potential rate increases. Here are a couple of tips to protect yourself from rate increases:

  • Check here to see if your municipal aggregation plan is set to expire soon.
  • If it is, check with your town about the new rates.
  • Keep a close eye on your electricity bill.

With preparation and research you can benefit from the market uncertainty by getting lower rates from competitors. If you don’t have the time to research and manage the switching – we can do it for you.

Many people (Chicago included) will automatically switch to being Comed customers. If you’d prefer cheaper or greener electricity than Comed offers, sign up with Energy Simply and we’ll keep you locked into the cheapest or cheapest green electricity available at all times.

Make Every Day Earth Day

Have you ever wondered, “What is Earth Day really all about?” According to Wikipedia, Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and is now recognized in 192 countries across the globe. The purpose is to recognize and demonstrate support for environmental protection.

wind farm

Think about how our world has changed since 1970. Threats to our environment may seem greater than ever, but there has also been a proliferation of life options and products we can select that will lessen our impact on the environment. One of the reasons we started Energy Simply was to make it simpler and less costly for residential customers to select green energy for their homes. By choosing electricity produced from 100% renewable sources you can make a significant impact on the health of the planet – every day! And, as we pointed out in an earlier blog post, in many cases it costs only slightly more (if not the same or less) as traditionally sourced electricity.

So make every day Earth Day! Choose a 100% renewable electricity plan and you’ll know that every time you turn on a light, plug in your laptop or charge your phone you are having a mini Earth Day celebration. Better yet, let Energy Simply select the best 100% renewable plan for you and manage your plan switching so you won’t have to worry about hidden fees or rising costs when your plan expires.

Energy Simply’s new web tools help Texans save on electric company bills

“On average we can save Texans $50 every month, but we’ve saved some of our customers much more.” -Jordan Hobfoll, Energy Simply President and CEO

Energy Simply, an energy services company dedicated to helping Texas consumers choose the right electricity plan, debuted dynamic new tools for its web-based services. The enhancements include a Savings Calculator, Explainer Video and How it Works Page, as well as a streamlined sign-up process.

Choosing the right electricity plan is confusing and time-consuming. Retail electric companies make it even more difficult by offering teaser rates and expensive fees. Energy Simply takes the pain and frustration out of choosing the right plan by doing the work for their customers. Energy Simply employees use proprietary modeling to constantly sort through thousands of electricity plans, choosing the perfect plan for each of their customers – either the cheapest or cheapest 100% renewable based on customer preference.

“Our new explainer video and web tools make our services even easier to understand and access,” said Hobfoll. Consumers can go to http://www.EnergySimp.ly to view the minute and a half, animated video, use the savings calculator and sign up.

Texas Tribune: Companies charge you more when you use less…What’s up with that?

“Toni Harrelson tries to limit her electricity use, she says, because every dollar counts for fixed-income folks like her…The fruits of those efforts? A $9.95 surcharge on most of her electric bills. Dallas-based StarTex Power adds the fee whenever she uses fewer than 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a month.”

What's up with that

Read the whole article here.

There is a law being proposed that would ban this practice. The Texas Power Companies have the gall to be actively lobbying against this! If you’re getting burned by your electricity company we want to hear your story. Get in touch with us through our contact page. And, consider becoming a customer so you’ll know you’re getting the best deal on the market..and no longer have to say…

What's up with that 2