With increases on energy bills this August, here is some advice for Alberta consumers
This summer, energy costs have risen exponentially compared to recent months.
Matt Coad, director of strategy at ATCOenergy and Rümi says some Albertans are unknowingly paying more for energy than their neighbours. // Submitted
It’s no secret that utility bills have been skyrocketing and some Albertans are unknowingly paying more for energy than their neighbours. This summer, energy costs have risen exponentially compared to recent months. In July, Calgarians on the Regulated Rate Option paid 27.5 cents per kilowatt hour. As of August, rates hit 32.267 cents per kilowatt hour, a new record. Matt Coad, director of strategy at ATCOenergy and Rümi is advising Albertans to take control of their bills, with many people still on a default regulated rate plan. Coad recommends that Albertans make the switch to a guaranteed rate to take control of their bill. Coad shares some advice for consumers.
What is the Regulated Rate Option and how does it fluctuate from month to month?
The Regulated Rate Option (RRO) is the default energy provider if you have not chosen a competitive retailer. The RRO is set and approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and regulated by the government. It varies considerably month-to-month based on the current market price, global market conditions, and supply and demand - these factors in today’s economy can lead the RRO to be shockingly high, and if there’s anything we’ve all learned recently, it’s that volatility isn’t fun. Market prices have shifted dramatically in recent months, meaning major events could drastically impact rates without warning. This summer, the RRO is currently at an average of 27 cents per kilowatt hour, which is the highest billed electricity rate RRO customers have ever seen on their bills.
What is a fixed rate or guaranteed rate and what control does it give Albertans?
In Alberta, you can choose a competitive retailer with offerings that make sense for you and your household. Guaranteed rates give you more control over your energy choices and more control over your monthly billing. With a provider like ATCOenergy, the guaranteed rate plans let you pay a fixed rate for every kilowatt hour or gigajoule you use. Your rate will stay the same, and you’ll see smaller fluctuations in your monthly energy bill based on your consumption. Guaranteed rates might not always be the lowest rates, but they provide the stability that makes it easier to budget for the long term.
What is the significance of the energy retailer that an Albertan signs with?
The energy retailer an Albertan chooses is significant because it can have a major impact on overall household costs and budgeting. The retailer you sign up with determines pricing, billing options, and your overall energy experience. Choosing the right retailer ensures Albertans have control over their energy bill and the support they need in managing rising energy costs.
How can Albertans educate themselves on their energy bill and choose an option that best suits them?
If your bill comes from ATCOenergy, you know you’re not on the RRO. If not, then the easiest way to find out if you’re on the RRO is to take a look at your energy bill; you see the word “regulated” or “RRO” on your statement, or if your bill comes from a company with “regulated services” in their name, then you know you’re still on a default plan. It can be difficult to spot. Luckily in Alberta, you can choose a competitive retailer with offerings that make more sense for you. Choosing a plan with a retailer like ATCOenergy will give you more control over your monthly billing.