In today’s AUSenergy News Update: State of Maine warns electric and phone customers of variable rates, electricity bills in Machesney Park Illinois will rise, and Duke Energy refund angers customers further.
Summary: According to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, about 200,000 electricity and phone service customers have contracts with various private electric suppliers. Some of those contracts automatically change from a fixed-rate price to a variable rate after several months. Some customers have witnessed their monthly electric bills double or even triple as a result.
AUS Comment: Beware of alluring introductory rates when shopping for energy. Behind those appealing prices could be hidden fees or even penalties for terminating an agreement early. An energy consultant understands which service options and contract terms would be best for your needs to provide a true apples-to-apples comparison.
Summary: Machesney Park’s contract with their electric supply company began in 2012 and expired on June 30, 2014. Village leaders are now seeking bids for a better rate than the current ComEd offer.
AUS Comment: ComEd’s rate was 7.50 cents per kWh and will drop to 7.42 cents per kWh in October, making it difficult for retail suppliers to be able to offer a competitive rate. But locking into a long term contract with a retail electric provider offers a degree of stability, consistency and predictability that isn’t always present with the utility.
Summary: Several Duke Energy customers in Florida were billed for an extra 12 days due to the company’s reorganization of routes; reducing travel for meter readers. The extra days have pushed some customers into a higher rate for their electricity. Duke charges $11.34 per kWh up to 1,000 hours. After that, the rate increases to $13.70 for every 100 kWh above that.
AUS Comment: Duke Energy has promised to refund the overage. Duke is refunding for the difference as a result of being pushed into the higher rate category due to the 12 day extension. This amounts to a credited rebate of an average of $5.62. However, customers still need to pay for the power they consumed, and with more days being billed for, the bills may still seem higher.
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