Energy Supply Choice
There are two ways you can buy electricity:
- Allow Essex Powerlines to buy it on your behalf under Standard Supply Service (SSS); OR
- Through an Electricity Retailer
Standard Supply Service
When Essex Powerlines buys electricity on your behalf under Standard Supply Service you pay the current legislated fixed pricing for low volume and designated customers. If you are not a low volume or designated customer, but are still considered on SSS, you will pay the spot market price.
To receive Standard Supply Service all you have to do is create an account with Essex Powerlines – this is what you will automatically receive (unless you choose to sign up with an electricity retailer).
If you have signed a contract with a retailer, your pricing will be determined by the conditions of that contract. Contact your retailer for further information. Any price per kilowatt hour (kWh) quoted by an electricity retailer is for the Cost of Energy portion of your electricity bill only, not on any of the other charges.
A customer who signs with an electricity retailer might save money, but might also end up paying more. This is why it is very important to compare terms of retailers’ contracts very carefully before signing.
Consider this information before making your choice:
- What am I shopping for?
- What is the difference between buying from a retailer versus Essex Powerlines?
- How will Essex Powerlines calculate the price it charges for electricity?
- Is it in my best interests to remain with the standard supply service?
- In the situation of a rental property, who chooses an electricity supplier – the tenant or the landlord?
- Does competition mean that different companies will put up power lines in my neighborhood in order to provide me with choice?
- Who will read the meter at my home or business?
- Will I risk a power outage in the process of switching companies or if my retailer goes out of business?
- Who do I call if I have a service problem, outage or emergency?
- If I don’t buy my electricity from Essex Powerlines, will this affect the service I receive from the utility?
What am I shopping for?
You can shop around for competitive prices for your electricity commodities and the actual power you use to operate your electrical devices. The other charges are fixed charges for services unrelated to retailers.
What is the difference between buying from a retailer versus Essex Powerlines?
A retailer requires that you sign a contract and offers you a fixed price on the electricity it sells. (Read the fine print, some contracts allow the retailer to change prices). A contract is not necessary for Standard Supply Service through Essex Powerlines. As an customer, you pay a fixed commodity price that is set by legislation or a spot market price if you are not a low volume or designated consumer.
How will Essex Powerlines calculate the price it charges for electricity?
If you are not a low volume or designated consumer, the price you pay is based on the supply and demand activity on the Spot Market on the fixed price set by legislation as the case me be. The Independent Market Operator (IESO) averages this activity and determines the daily spot market prices. We take the spot market price the IESO provides us and average it according to the electricity use in Essex Powerlines and pass this price on directly to you, without any markup (profit). It is illegal for us to mark up SSS electricity.
Is it in my best interests to remain with the standard supply service?
This is up to you, depending on your situation and your energy preferences. The Standard Supply Service is like a variable mortgage – the price you pay per kilowatt hour will fluctuate between billings depending on the Spot Market, if you are not a low volume or designated consumer. Retailers, on the other hand, offer a fixed price per kilowatt hour, liked a fixed mortgage. Their price may end up higher than the spot market price being charged to standard supply service customers, but if you like the stability of a fixed price, you may prefer paying a little extra for that.
In the situation of a rental property, who chooses an electricity supplier – the tenant or the landlord?
If you have a separate meter and you pay your own electricity bill, you can choose an electricity supplier. If your electricity is included in your rent, the landlord has the choice of electricity supplier.
Does competition mean that different companies will put up power lines in my neighborhood in order to provide me with choice?
Transmission and distribution of electricity continues to be provided by regulated transmission and distribution utilities. This means the same wires will be used to transmit electricity to your home. It is just like long distance phone services – the wiring doesn’t change.
Who will read the meter at my home or business?
Essex Powerlines will continue to read your meter.
Will I risk a power outage in the process of switching companies or if my retailer goes out of business?
No. Electricity will continue to flow to you in either case. If a retailer goes out of business, even unexpectedly, you will not be left without power, and if you switch electricity providers, your power will continue without interruption. Power distribution will continue to be provided by Essex Powerlines. The same standards of reliability you are used to will be maintained.
Who do I call if I have a service problem, outage or emergency?
Call Essex Powerlines. We still own the local distribution wires and poles, and are responsible for maintaining and repairing the power lines and ensuring electricity is delivered to your home.
If I don’t buy my electricity from Essex Powerlines, will this affect the service I receive from the utility?
We are responsible for delivering the electricity to you via our power lines, which still makes you an Essex Powerlines customer. Regardless of who you buy your electricity from – whether Essex Powerlines or a retailer – you will continue to get the same quality of service from us.