18 November 2007
Flattening it out
You may remember that a couple of years ago Oklahoma Natural Gas introduced something called the Voluntary Fixed-Price Plan, which would enable you to lock in the rate you paid for gas for 12 months, without regard to market fluctuations. I contemplated it and turned it down, which wound up costing me over sixty dollars during the subsequent year. The following year, the VFP price was higher, but gas prices were lower, so I figure I got it back.
OG&E has now come up with their own variation on the theme, which does both more and less. The Guaranteed Flat Bill, according to the letter they sent me, will lock in my next twelve electric bills at $70.85, regardless of actual consumption; presumably they expect me to run up $850.20 in bills next year and have sliced it twelve ways.
This is the part that gets me, though:
Your GFB offer includes a premium that protects you from unpredictable bills caused by summer's heat or winter's cold. It also protects you from increases in electric rates or fuel charges. It even includes predicted increases in your electric usage.
In other words, they're charging me more in anticipation that I'll use more. And they admit it in the next paragraph:
Your GFB monthly offer will not be more than 10 percent above your expected usage adjusted for normal weather.
It is, however, 16.7 percent above my actual bills for the last twelve months, which came to $728.52. I'm having a little trouble seeing how this is any advantage over the existing Average Monthly Billing plan.
And in the fine print in the back, it says this:
Customers who participate in the GFB rate plan are not eligible for OG&E's wind power program.
And maybe that's the whole idea: those of us who signed up for wind power, who realize a price break every time fuel costs go up, need to be pried out of that subscription and into something that won't cost them money.
Thanks, but no thanks.Posted at 8:03 PM to Family Joules