By Medicine Hat News on February 1, 2024.
Local power rates will receive only a minor adjustment today after the City of Medicine Hat’s power utility moved to set electricity prices in three-month blocks rather than offering contract rates or resetting the default price monthly.
The bare rate for January through March is 8.42 cents per kilowatt hour, but with an additional charge added to recover amounts deferred by default customers in a provincial program last winter.
That amount, about eight-tenths of one cent per kilowatt hour in January, will change slightly on Feb. 1 as it is a recovery charge based on expected power use.
As it is, the total rate is not likely to change much from the combined rate of 9.23 cents per kilowatt hour in place during January.
That’s also about half the average of default prices across the province, which formed the local rate before changes last fall.
Submissions to the Alberta Utilities Commission this week show the average default, or “regulated rate option” price, will be 17.9 cents combined for February.
The rate from Enmax will sit at 15.02 cents per kilowatt hour, plus a repayment charge of 2.2 cents for a total of 17.22 cents.
Direct Energy’s default for residential service is 15.7 cents, plus 2.25 cents, for a combined 17.94 cents.
Epcor will charge about 3 cents for the repayment rider, bring its residential default rate to 18 cents and 18.3 cents for its Edmonton and rural area customers, respectively.
In November, the City of Medicine Hat moved to a system of charging residential and small business customers related to the wholesale power rate in the province – the rate other energy marketing firms use to secure power for resale then offer at a mark-up.
The provincial deferral program essentially capped prices for default contract customers in early 2023, but requires the default customer base to repay the difference in instalments by late 2024.
When Medicine Hat cancelled higher price contracts in November, all customers were essentially moved into a default pool, thereby making the repayment charge universal.