You may have seen some recent news stories about higher energy prices coming. We have certainly seen that at the pumps with gasoline prices recently increasing across the province. But what about for our Direct Energy Regulated Services customers?
As we’re sure everyone across the province is aware, Alberta has been mired in an ongoing economic downturn due to low oil and gas prices that has had major impacts on employment across the province. We have seen businesses shrink or outright close, resulting in empty office space in our major hubs such as Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray.
The rise of fossil fuel prices through much of 2021 is good news for the Alberta economy. Higher commodity prices typically mean more jobs, higher capital investment as companies look to capitalize on the prices, and higher royalty revenue for all Albertans from the fossil fuels we collectively own. With the recent announcement from Dow Chemical expanding one of its facilities in Fort Saskatchewan at an estimated cost of $6 to $10 billion, we are already seeing that increased investment starting.
While these higher commodity prices are generally good for the Alberta economy as a whole, there will be an impact on consumers at the pumps and on their energy bills.
It is important to remember that the energy portion of your natural gas and electricity bills often makes up less than half of your total bill, with your distribution company’s charges, local access fees, carbon tax and GST making up the majority. Distribution fees and the carbon tax are directly related to how much natural gas you use. One of the simplest ways to reduce your total bill is to conserve how much energy you use.
Leaving your thermostat a degree or two cooler this winter can make a big difference in how much natural gas and electricity you use. We have a number of helpful tips available on our blogs. For example, cranking the thermostat high will not heat up your house any faster than setting it to your preferred temperature – you’ll just blow past that comfortable level. It will also be a lot more cost effective to simply grab that comfy sweater and pair of slippers, rather than reaching for the thermostat.
While there are never any guarantees, Alberta has seen high energy prices in the past and they have come back down. In fact, over the past two years, our natural gas prices have been 20% lower than any current advertised fixed price. This is largely because our fixed price competitors need to incorporate a fairly substantial risk premium on their offering. Direct Energy Regulated Services does not.
With DERS you will not overpay for your natural gas over time. This is because we are mandated by legislation to provide a forecast market rate that adjusts each month for any differences between forecast and actual prices and consumption.
We know that fluctuating bills can be difficult to manage so we have several options to help you manage your bills, including our budget billing option. This allows you to pay the same price each month and spread the costs of the higher usage winter months over the summer. This predictable bill is easy to set up using your Online Account or by talking with one of our friendly customer care agents (1-866-420-3174). We also know the unexpected can happen and you may find yourself a little short for your energy bill. Our Online Account is available on the go and you can push your payment out two weeks with the click of a button. If you need more flexible payment options, you can also speak to one of our agents.
Regulated natural gas has been a great option for Albertans and will continue to be. The best way to reduce your costs is to save energy. If you’re not already, sign up for budget billing to make it simple to budget and pay the same amount each month, while not being locked in at a higher rate when natural gas prices drop.