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hey there, im buying my first house and was wondering what is the general consensus on the best plan term and provider of electricity/gas in ontario?

thanks.

scotty
 

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hey there, im buying my first house and was wondering what is the general consensus on the best plan term and provider of electricity/gas in ontario?

thanks.

scotty
If you can bear the risk, I think it is cheaper in the long run to go floating. If cost certainty is what you are looking for, a fixed rate might be suitable. But these fixed rates are likely to be more expensive over the long run.

I don't have personal experience with them but I've read good things about RiteRate.ca.
 

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My experience/opinion is the same as CC.
Over a period of 5 years or more, you win by going market rate with your local hydro and natural gas company, instead of a re-seller/gas marketer.
Gas & hydro resellers use scare tactics to get you into a signed contract.
I fell into this trap many years ago when we bought our first house during summer.
A few days later, this door-to-door salesman comes up and shows us charts and graphs on how gas is going to go through the roof over the next few years and how we can benefit by locking into a 5 year fixed rate contract.
I fell for it and signed up.
However, next day, I did some research and realized that you can spin the stats different ways depending on what you use as your starting point for price comparison.
I called and canceled the next day.
I guess that's why they call it the "cooling period" lol.

Looking back, this was one of the best decisions.
In the 5 years since then, gas touched their fixed rate maybe one year for a couple of months during winter.
It has consistently stayed below the fixed rate they offered me.

A few things are very important to keep in mind when evaluating such contracts:

1. The fixed rate applies only to the actual commodity i.e. electricity or gas, not the entire bill.
However, actual commodity consumption (gas or electricity) is only a small part of your total bill.
Delivery charges, regulatory charges and other "junk" fees are almost always more than your consumption.
And in the case of ONT, debt retirement charges are tagged on as a % of total bill.
So fixing your commodity rate is not the same as fixing your total bill.
Often folks forget that when talking to the salesperson (I did).

2. The gas marketer has much more insight and analysis into the direction of future commodity prices.
A regular Joe does not have the same insight.
Remember that they are in the business of making money and they will never offer a rate that saves you money and costs them money over the long run.
Think about it - you can't both win.
For one to win over the long run, the other must lose.
And they have the odds in their favor way more than you do.

3. The sales people themselves are very convincing and will throw a bunch of research, charts and numbers at you to convince you.
Often, it is a nice, pretty woman doing the selling - who can slam the door on her?
So next time, just ignore all the charts and numbers and just ask her for a date.
You are better off doing that rather than signing a fixed rate energy contract ;)
 

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I don't have much else to add except to say we don't have much of a choice in terms of provider in this province.

For Ottawa, you are pretty much stuck with Ottawa Hydro and for gas, you can count the number of providers on your fingers: Enbridge, Direct Energy and Summit Energy come to mind. I don't have any experience dealing with Direct Energy (except for the hot water tank rental) and Summit so I have no comments about those 2 but Enbridge has been pretty good so far.
 

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a telling sign

I have had a bunch of salespeople knock on my door and try to lock me in to a fixed rate plan and my answer has always been: "leave your information with me and I'll read through it and get back in touch with you." Not once have they left me the info. Only excuses why I cannot have the info. to review That's enough for me.
 

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I have had a bunch of salespeople knock on my door and try to lock me in to a fixed rate plan and my answer has always been: "leave your information with me and I'll read through it and get back in touch with you." Not once have they left me the info. Only excuses why I cannot have the info. to review That's enough for me.
My elderly mother got suckered into one of these types of plans for electricity. Now she's paying an extra $40 or so a month and from the research I've done, there's nothing that can be done (after a short grace period - I believe 10 days) to get her out of it except for paying an extremely large penalty. From what I've heard these salesmen get between $50 and $100 for every poor sucker they sign up. They use extremely deceptive methods and make out as if they are sanctioned by your regular power supplier. Just stick with your regular suppliers and avoid the door to door salesmen like the plague.
 

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If you can bear the risk, I think it is cheaper in the long run to go floating. If cost certainty is what you are looking for, a fixed rate might be suitable. But these fixed rates are likely to be more expensive over the long run.

I don't have personal experience with them but I've read good things about RiteRate.ca.
Not sure about nat gas. I've locked in 5yrs and broken even over the 5 years,
so even though my gas consumption is minimal, you really don't save anything
in the long run due to fluctating market supply and pricing.

As far as electricity..I was co-orced into signing up with a marketer about 3 yrs
ago when the TOU rate meters were being installed in Ottawa. They came
to my door with newpaper clipping etc trying to justify their pitch as to why
you would want to sign up. I bit and the long and short of it was, my price
per kwh went from about 5.5c to 13cents..because of the hidden charge
that (Ontario energy marketer charges as soon as you go off the RPP)
(Regulated Price Plan)...that extra charge on your bill is called "PROVINCIAL
BENEFIT" and is supposed to be a credit to you in times where the wholesale
cost of power goes down and and charged back to you when the wholesale
power goes up..THIS IS YET ANOTHER SCAM, because on consumption of
500kwh per billing, I was paying anywhere from $2.82 (2008) to $19.95 (2009)
and no signs of it slacking off. It seems that you are subsidizing Ontario
Power generation and the mcGinty gov't with this scam.

There really isn't any savings going to a independent marketer and if you
sign a contract for 3-5 years it will cost you hundreds to get out of it, if
you want to break the contract earlier.

I was lucky to convince them that I needed to get out and they complied
because of my specific case, but had I stayed with them I would be paying
HST on the Provincial Benefit charge...as Ross Perot once said.."do you hear
that giant sucking sound?..your hard earned money going down the drain faster"
 

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My experience/opinion is the same as CC.
Over a period of 5 years or more, you win by going market rate with your local hydro and natural gas company, instead of a re-seller/gas marketer.
Gas & hydro resellers use scare tactics to get you into a signed contract.
I fell into this trap many years ago when we bought our first house during summer.
..... more insight and analysis into the direction of future commodity prices.
A regular Joe does not have the same insight.
Remember that they are in the business of making money and they will never offer a rate that saves you money and costs them money over the long run.
Think about it - you can't both win.
For one to win over the long run, the other must lose.
And they have the odds in their favor way more than you do.

The marketers are in business to make money for themselves. Locking into
a fixed price can bring peace of mind..but in the end after 5 years, even if
you break even, you are doing well.

With the demand for natural gas increasing year by year, you just don't know
in year 1, where the floating costs (Enbridge) of natural gas will be in 5 years,
just like property taxes going up. I think I have broken even on the last
contract I signed on natural gas, and the only way I was going to resign was
if I got a better deal than the last one..and I did.

As far as electricity, with green windmill farms going in, reactors needing
repairs, and TOU meters, it's only going to go up. The days of cheap power
are over and the current provincial administration intends to stick it to the
consumer along with the HST.

The hidden costs that the marketers don't tell you is the "provincial benefit"
..a extra charge and benefit to the power generators and marketers...
that can be significant, never mind the lock in price.
 

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I would wonder at what point does this company that says it's going to save you a ton of money just go bankrupt when it starts losing money...
 

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I would wonder at what point does this company that says it's going to save you a ton of money just go bankrupt when it starts losing money...
I don't know about them going bankrupt, but the energy marketer that I
(unfortunately signed up for electricity (Universal Power) got assimulated
by another marketer and I was able to get out of the remaining contract
before the HST kicked in. My power bill went up about 30% due to the
locked in price and the "provincial benefit" surcharge. It was not a good
experience and in the end cost me about a couple hundred over the RPP rates,
rather than any savings.

Like a lot of uninitiated consumers, I fell for the scare tactics and the TOU
meters was the decision that convinced me to sign up. Because the TOU rates have not
been implemented, and the meters have been in place for about 2 years now in
Ottawa, the scare tactics they used were underhanded.

Yes electricity rates are going up, but so are the taxes on everything which drive up the
cost of any open market commodities.

In my opinion, we as a consumers are not going to win with any of these
schemes. The provincial gov't has set things up so that there is a lot of confusion
and more areas to rip off consumers.. by unbundling the electricity
charges and allowing marketers to come in, "the total pie" (charges for energy)
is just split up into tinier pieces, and everyone has to charge more to make money.

All we can do is minimize our losses, the best we can.
 
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