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Regulated vs. Competitive Providers: Alberta’s Rate Options for Electricity and Natural Gas

Regulated vs. Competitive Providers: Alberta’s Rate Options for Electricity and Natural Gas

As an Alberta resident or business owner, shopping for a new energy supply is your right, and you should know that you have options as to where to purchase your electricity and natural gas supplies.

The two types of Alberta energy providers are (1) utilities that offer regulated rate options and (2) competitive energy marketers or retailers.

Regulated Providers

If you don’t sign up for service with a Competitive Provider for natural gas or electricity, you will be served by a Regulated Provider.

The regulated rates can change from month to month.  How they are set is reviewed and approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).

Choosing to get your services from a Regulated Provider means that you will receive two separate bills each month – one for electricity and one for natural gas (most likely a paper bill in the mail).  Regulated Providers will bill you for your electricity and natural gas on a month to month basis with the rates changing each month.

The pros of choosing a Regulated Provider are the following:
You don’t sign a contract.
A price drop in the market means you may share the savings. (although this is available with a Competitive Provider’s Variable Rate)
You don’t pay any early exit fees for canceling the regulated rate service (not something Park Power customers are subject to)

The cons of choosing a Regulated Provider are the following:
Because the regulated rate reflects the current market price, the monthly costs are less predictable due to the fluctuating market.
Your bill can be affected by volatile price spikes.
You can’t bundle your services through a Regulated Provider you will have your electricity and natural gas bill from separate providers.

Competitive Providers

When you choose a Competitive Provider, you have more rate options available to you, Fixed, Variable, and Green Energy.

The pros of choosing a Competitive Provider are the following:
When you choose a Fixed Price, you gain peace of mind knowing you will be paying the same rates regardless of market conditions.
Fixed price contracts can protect you against short-term price increases due to the fluctuating market.
Only a Competitive Provider can offer to both electricity and natural gas.

The cons of choosing a Competitive Provider are the following:
If the market rates drop, Fixed Price customers may locked into a contract price for the term of the contract
And should you choose to end your contract before the agreed term, some retailers impose early exit fees (again Park Power does not do this).

The choice is entirely up to you if you would like to continue with your utility’s regulated rate option or switch to a plan from a marketer operating in your area.   Switching energy services typically takes 5 to 10 days.

Deciding on a new plan for electricity and natural gas requires that you do your research.
Comparing all your options will help you get the plan features, rate structure, and term length that best suit your needs.

Remember that Park Power offers low rates, awesome service, and shares 10% of our profits with charities.

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