Pepco Marylandand other Maryland utilities have announced and published commercial rates for the winter quarter effective December 2012 through February 2013. From just a quick glance at the rates if you have a type 2 meter you will see a jump of 19% in your supply rate. The type 1 rate now published through the end of September 2013 jumped over 10% pushing over 9 cents a kilo Watt hour. Seems that the downward trend in electricity pricing may have reversed itself with the trend definitely pushing rates higher.
As I wrote yesterday about the lack of residential energy choice participation by rate payers in DC I alluded to the reasons why the market has not yet taken off as it has in Maryland. Particularly when a resident or a business owner can actually buy 100% wind power at a lower cost per kwh than Pepco is currently offering. Part of the challenge is education for the consumers. Trying to get someone on the phone at Pepco to explain energy choice to you in not an easy task, perhaps not even Pepco’s job. The DC Public Service Commission has great information on their web site, but the commission is overwhelmed with work and despite the great people working at the commission, there is only so much you can get done in a day.
The other advantage Maryland has over DC is something called Purchase of Receivables or POR. POR is simply the utility (Pepco DC) taking over the financial responsibility of collecting and owning the accounts that go bad. Part of the reasoning behind this POR program is the fact that third party suppliers can not shut down your electricity if you don’t pay your bill, but the regulated utility can. This POR process does eliminate the majority of the risk from the supplier stand point, not all of the risk. On the consumer side, POR allows rate payers who have has credit issues for what ever reason beefit from lower rates and perhaps help the consumer on his or her way back to financial solvency.
Since POR was introduced in Maryland the number of residential third party suppliers has more than tripled and the benefactors of this are the rate payers who are enjoying the benefits of energy choice. Perhaps it is time for DC to roll out POR, Pepco Maryland is doing it! Meanwhile if you are a DC resident with a Pepco bill, grab your staement and click here to get lower rates for your electricity supply! My Lower Rate
Next up for discussion is how the business community in DC can benefit from energy choice.
Just in case you wanted to know the best place for your solar or wind project, or you are looking to make sure your tax dollars back the right project. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has published an awesome interactive tool to help focus renewable investment assets for maximum efficiency and return on investment. http://ow.ly/8olwN
According to a survey done by Accenture, two-thirds of consumers said they would probably or certainly consider buying an electric vehicle or plug in hybrid. More than 7,000 people from 13 countries took part in the survey. The survey also showed that in China, 96% of respondents said the would probably or certainly consider buying an electric vehicle in the next three years. And you? Let us know what you think.
Bureaucrats in Annapolis have slammed the brakes on a proposal that would have seen the widespread implementation of smart-grid technology in the Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) service area. The proposal had a price tag of as much as $835 million.
BGE wanted to install more than 1.3 million smart electricity meters and 730,000 smart gas meters for its customer base. It had planned on using a $136 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help shore up the start-up costs for the ambitious project.
Through the use of these smart meters, BGE wanted to have those meters communicate with its back office, in an effort to vary electricity rates during the months of June through September based on the time of day and day of the week during which the electricity is used.
BGE said that its customers would have saved money by reducing the amount of energy they used during peak periods.
But regulators in Annapolis said BGE’s specific proposal was “untenable,” even though they said they believe in the overall concept of smart-grid technology.
You can download their decision, all 54 mind-numbing pages of it. While there is some good stuff in there, here’s the main highlight of the decision:
The Proposal asks BGE’s ratepayers to take significant financial and technological risks and adapt to categorical changes in rate design, all in exchange for savings that are largely indirect, highly contingent and a long way off. We are not persuaded that this bargain is cost-effective or serves the public interest, at least not in its current form.
While the Commission said it would entertain future submissions from BGE, its harsh wording in the decision indicates that BGE will have to think long and hard before coming back to Annapolis with a new plan.
There’s much more about this at BrighterEnergy.org. Their piece makes for interesting reading. And it demonstrates that smart-grid technology may be farther off than those in the utilities industry want to admit.
By Bob Woods, VP of Business Development; Electric Advisors, Inc.