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Constellation Energy offering cheaper electricity in N.J.

meterelectric121109_optWill also provide Target gift cards to new customers

BY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Third-party energy suppliers have been selling electricity to homeowners since New Jersey deregulated its utilities over a decade ago. The state has long tried to encourage consumers to shop for electricity, and they are about to get another opportunity.

Constellation Energy is offering homeowners and renters in the Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) and Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) service areas two ways to save on electricity: an 18-month pricing plan delivering an estimated savings of 10 percent compared to current utility pricing for electric generation service and a 30-month pricing plan offering an estimated 12 percent savings. Those who sign up for the 30-month plan will receive a $150 Target GiftCard; customers selecting the 18-month offer will receive a $75 Target GiftCard.

"Constellation is potentially a game changer," said Paul Fremont, an electric utilities analyst at Jefferies & Company, according to The Star-Ledger. "Their size could matter, because the cost for lining up (power) generation might be higher for others than it would be for them."

The Baltimore-based energy company, a leader in commercial wholesale and retail power, began selling electricity to residential customers for the first time earlier this year in Maryland.

According to lakewoodsvoice.com, Constellation is following another Fortune 500 powerhouse, Dominion Energy, which entered the residential electric market in New Jersey in May.

The typical PSE&G residential customer pays around $900 per year for electricity, according to the Newark-based utility, the state's largest. PSE&G said 51,000 of its residential electric customers - about 2.5 percent - have made the switch to a new supplier.

"Constellation Energy is a recognized leader in New Jersey's business and public sector energy market, and we proudly serve many of the state's largest employers and public institutions," said Kathleen Hyle, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the company's commercial division. "As a market leader in the state and nationwide, we're the logical choice for New Jersey residential electricity shoppers who are eager to save money by lowering their current electricity rate."

According to irconstellation.com, the company's direct mail offer to New Jersey homeowners and renters will begin arriving in mailboxes this weekend through Sept. 1, 2010. The Constellation Energy New Jersey residential pricing plans are limited time offers extending through Sept. 30, 2010. There is no sign-up or enrollment fee. There will be no interruption in a customer's electricity service.

Educating customers about electricity shopping is the biggest obstacle for companies like Constellation. NJ.com reports they are sending out 2.4 million pieces of direct mail, as well as taking out print, radio and rail station ads and setting up an Internet site and Facebook page.

Further information on the specific terms and conditions of the company's residential electricity pricing plans for New Jersey customers is available at home.newenergy.com.

 
Comments (11)
11 Wednesday, 13 February 2013 16:32
Forrest
Rest assured you will be paying higher than the rate to compare after your contract expires and for a 3-5% savings with cancellation penalties as the current teaser I have to say there rally isn't much upside to jumping onboard with these clowns.
10 Friday, 02 December 2011 09:37
Stacey Lindley
I am not signing up for this service based on the "waiver for a trial by jury". Basically if anything happens related to your electrical company, you have no right to litigation. NO THANK YOU!!
9 Thursday, 18 November 2010 08:18
Susan M
The difference between Viridian & Constellation, Viridian has NO contract to sign they have everyday 20% green which is 3 times what the state of NJ mandates & they are100%pure of reusuable energy (wind & solar). They are a young company that truley cares about the environment & the customer. I average about $70.00 a month savings that is clearly stated on my bill, which is about 20% savings a month on average sometime more. Constellation you have to sign a contract and yes you get a Target gift card but if you decide to cancel your contract you owe back the value of the gift card($175.00) and they charge you cancelation fee's. I have done a lot of research and absolutely feel Viridian is the way to go!!!
8 Thursday, 28 October 2010 10:47
A Happy Customer
I have been a customer of Constellation for over 6 months now and have definitely seen savings.
Just remember to renew, or switch back before the variable rate kicks in, this seems to be the only part that you can get potentially screwed on from what I have seen so far.
7 Wednesday, 08 September 2010 11:16
Tom F.
I agree with the above.
Too confusing. Too much fine print. Too many variables and $150 to get out of the contract. If it is such a great deal why would they worry about people canceling?
6 Saturday, 04 September 2010 21:36
BobfromNJ
I would love to have cheaper energy...wouldn't we all.

Unless you are an insider in the utility business, and an accountant, and have both excellent spreadsheet skills and a huge magnifying glass to read the barely intelligible fine print on the back... YOU have no clue whether you will really save anything at all...and you might end up paying MORE.

I read that thing and felt like I was being intentionally bamboozled. The material makes no guarantee that you will save money while encouraging you to "lock-in" 1.5 to 2.5 years.

They could easily have produced a clearer document. The fact that they didn't should be a BIG RED FLAG.

They could (for example) show projected *annual* savings for various household sizes based on how prices have fluctuated seasonally (historically) and stated what their assumptions were.

Anyone who signed up have any idea what the BGS reconciliation charge is going to cost them? Anyone know if the 7% separately assessed tax applies to either company? Anyone know what "rate class RS" is? These questions are just from the FRONT of the mailer. The back has hundreds (thousands?) of additional words in fine print many of which are equally hard to decipher.

Oh... and once your contract is up you revert to variable pricing "reflective of prevailing supply prices" but nothing is stated as to whether the premium they charge over supply is lower of higher than what you pay now. Hmmm......

So QUICK, run and get your $150 target card. It may save you money too... it may cost you a few hundred a year (or more if you have a large house). Who the heck knows. I don't!!!!
5 Thursday, 02 September 2010 13:12
David E
I just signed up via phone. There seems to be a problem signing up via their website. It complains about the customer number. Anyway, the only downside with a fixed rate of 10.4 kw/h (CE's 30 month price) is if electricity drops below that price. I figure if it drops 10%, i.e. a penny to 9.36, the $150 Target gift card covers that drop for 14.5 months. The math is based on 1000 kw/h per month usage. $150 (gift card) / .0104 (.104 - .0936) = 14423.
14423 / 1000 kw/h = 14.42 months. But talking to the CE customer rep, electric price drops by 10% is unlikely (take that with a grain of salt) or do your own research against your old bills.
4 Thursday, 02 September 2010 10:28
Go Green
www.viridian.com/GreenSavesGreen

No contract
3 Wednesday, 01 September 2010 20:06
where's the value
Agree with previous post. This article is recycling marketing material. How is CE making it cheaper? How is "price fixing" better than just being variable and less then PSEG? Where is CE energy coming from? Is it green? Are there any cancellation fees after the initial 6mo variable monthly price? What happens when PSEG lower's their price because of competition? I'm I stuck?

Real news and investigation is missing here.
2 Wednesday, 01 September 2010 15:31
rix
So basically you recycled the press release. How about investigating it a bit & telling us if, & why, CE is or is not cheaper? Because the mailing I received is confusing, & I don't like being confused.
1 Wednesday, 01 September 2010 07:54
Jim A.
Start saving today and go green at the same time
www.viridian.com/arra

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