How to save on electricity costs with solar panels, wind turbines and more The Globe and Mail
article With solar power coming online and wind turbines on the horizon, energy analysts say there is little doubt the market for renewable energy is booming.
But the big question is how fast it will pick up, and how many homes will be able to make the switch to alternative sources of energy.
Energy analysts are also warning that as the market matures, the costs will increase for customers who have to pay higher prices to keep their homes powered by clean energy.
That could lead to higher energy bills for homeowners who rely on the electricity grid to keep running the lights and air conditioners and heat pumps.
Some analysts believe the price increase could drive down the cost of electricity in Canada and around the world.
The Globe’s Robert Sibrel explains how a small business in a remote Alberta community might have to switch to using the grid to run the lights.
Energy experts are also sounding the alarm about rising prices for residential customers.
“There’s an argument to be made that a little bit of uncertainty can be helpful,” said Paul Blais, an energy analyst at TD Securities Inc. “A little bit more uncertainty will be helpful if you’re a residential customer who’s looking to switch.”
With the economy improving and electricity prices expected to continue falling, it is a good time to consider what you can do to get the most out of your electricity bills.
Here are the key things to consider when it comes to your electricity use: What will my bill be?
If you are on the grid and don’t want to switch, it may be worth taking a look at your bills.
If you want to keep the lights on at night, it’s a good idea to switch your thermostat to a low-pressure setting and keep your windows closed.
If your electricity bill goes up, you’ll probably be better off paying for it.
A recent report from the Energy Efficiency Council of Canada said the average electricity bill in Alberta is $2,800.
“The main thing to remember is that if you do get hit by an unexpected outage, you’re going to be charged for the outage,” said David Beattie, president of the organization.
If a home or business gets hit by a storm, that can be a problem, too.
“If you’re in a rural area, you might not be able afford to buy new power lines because you don’t know where the power lines are going to come from,” Beattiesaid.
“That could be costly.”
In a worst-case scenario, Beatty said, a loss of power could lead you to pay hundreds of dollars a month more in electricity bills than if you switched to a cheaper alternative.
If the market does slow down, you could pay higher electricity bills if you switch to a power source that doesn’t require the grid.
If that happens, you may need to find another source of electricity.
What about gas?
If your household uses a gas-fired power plant, you can expect a higher price for gas than for electricity.
Gas is used by most households in Alberta, and it’s the main way electricity is used in many homes.
The energy-efficiency standard for gas plants in Alberta was lowered in April 2016.
Some provinces have a different standard.
For example, Ontario and New Brunswick have different standards.
In some cases, the higher the standard, the more expensive gas is.
Gas prices are likely to go up over time because of lower natural gas prices, said Bob Hahn, a Calgary-based energy expert.
“It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison,” he said.
“Some provinces have lower prices for gas.”
However, the average price for new gas plants has gone up in recent years.
“Gas is coming down, so the price of gas is likely going to go down, and prices are going up because gas is going up,” said Michael Stirling, a senior energy analyst with CIBC World Markets.
“I think it’s an upside for Alberta, as a price point for gas is getting cheaper.”
What if you have to sell your house?
It’s a bad time to sell a home if you are using your electricity to keep your home running.
The new federal energy bill law allows a buyer to use the electricity you use to pay for the electricity they consume.
This means if you need to sell, you have the option to do so.
It may also mean you could end up paying more than you would with a gas unit.
In Alberta, that would be $1,000 more a year.
But, as you can see in the chart below, that’s a small price to pay when you’re still paying your bills for electricity: You might want to take the plunge.
There are a number of factors that affect whether a home needs to be sold or not.
There’s a price difference between natural gas and electricity, and if you don, it could mean you might be paying more for your electricity than if