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Not particularly relevant, but I have been with Ambit for quite some time.  

I guess I missed the last "your contract is ending" email, so I am variable.  I think they used to remind you to go select a plan, but I guess they don't anymore.

Once I got my wife trained to turn off lights when she leaves the room, we don't use much electricity in the grand scheme of things.  But we're temperature victims like anyone else.

I suppose I should pepper my angus, though.

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What should we expect with the gas bill? There is a line item that indicates the cost of gas is variable. Centerpoint is my provider. 
 

There could be a nice surprise. 
 

It looks like Centerpoint is sending out trial balloons now. 😉
 

https://www.khou.com/article/money/consumer/200k-natural-gas-bill-centerpoint-says-they-are-working-on-billing-error/285-e788fa87-0b3b-4d7c-92f0-16300096fad2

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@Telegraph_it Centerpoint can bill me 200k or even 1m for gas.  I guarantee the bank won't make good on that auto-bill payment.

This week has made me more interested in joining griddy. Previously I saw a risk that when there was a problem with increased electricity demand that I wouldn't be able to quickly switch from them to a fixed rate from another provider. I'm learning now that you can switch fairly quickly as within a day.

 

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Took the 9.3c/kwh x 36mos and set a reminder on my calendar for when it expires in 2024, presupposing humanity survives until then.

I've been watching the Griddy app, and I don't think the price has been below $8.00/kwh for the last 2-3 days.  If I'd had to deal with the anxiety of watching that bill mount while tending frozen plumbing, keeping the family from getting frostbite, and fighting off Wampas, I'd have drunk myself to death this last week.

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@Nice Guy Eddie Be cautious about that.  I was able to get out on Friday, but it got interesting.  I tried Reliant, but they said that they could not do a same-day switch because Oncor was not showing that I had a smart meter (I do, they're fucked up).  They said there was nothing they could do.

I then tried TXU who said the same thing, but then offered to do a "priority switch" which will backdate my usage once Oncor came out to do a manual switch (you know, a manual switch on my smart switch that they say I don't have).  They will then pass the $150 or so fee from Oncor for the (unnecessary) manual switch through to me (which I will not be paying).

(By the way, I contacted Oncor to get them to correct the error regarding my smart meter, because the last thing I wanted was for them to unnecessarily send out a tech to switch my service in the midst of this mess.  I'm still waiting to hear back.)

Since it was a long weekend, no REPs were going to be processing any service transfers until Tuesday (I thought it was nice that Griddy pointed this out clearly in the email they sent on Thursday essentially suggesting that customers bail).  So if I hadn't pulled that off until Monday I would have had astronomical bills over the weekend.  I also understand that a lot of REPs decided not to accept new service switches for several days.

I really do the think the Griddy concept has a lot of merit if you understand how it works, are willing to be proactive, and accept the risks.  If you read the negative reviews, 99% are from people who were too lazy or stupid to understand what they were getting into, although I really did feel like the company was as transparent as possible during signup and afterwards.

I'll say that I was overall very happy with Griddy despite some bad spikes in August 2019.  It taught me a lot about my usage and about how to be more efficient, and I think it made me a more responsible electric consumer.  That said, this catastrophic event and the upcoming turbulence I expect from the fallout make me skeptical that it's sustainable, not so much because it's a bad concept, but because it operates on top of an irrational shitshow.

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On 2/14/2021 at 8:41 AM, Nice Guy Eddie said:

I have a buddy that plays the griddy game. He’s expressing some apprehension about the next couple of days. Almost makes you wonder if it would be cheaper to stay in a hotel or a friend/family’s house, and lower the house temps down enough to just keep everything from freezing.

wednesday and thursday i got my usage down to 3.8 and 3.7 kwh respectively.  only the fridge, water heater, and the clock on the oven were on, and if i could have easily unplugged that last one i would have.  spent most of those days elsewhere. 

like @damor said, i don't think the griddy concept is bad, and i think people should be exposed to pricing fluctuations during the day rather than paying the same for a kwh used at 3 pm on august 29th as 3 am on october 29th.  but it is a decent idea built on top of shit infrastructure and it can't handle the PUCT setting pricing at $9.00/kwh for days on end. 

griddy's email about switching didn't get to me until friday afternoon and who the hell checks their email on friday afternoon?

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I have mixed feelings regarding the people who are obviously upset with their Griddy bills. I don't know what I would do if I received a $17k electricity bill.  https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/02/20/energy-bill-griddy-texas-winter-storm-deandre-upshaw-nr-vpx.cnn

On the other side, whether these customers realized it or not they were gambling on the Texas electricity market. At times, they effectively received free or extremely low energy costs. And now they're upset, and I would be to, that they paid $9/kWh.

It also takes almost 2000 kWh hours used at $9 to hit these bill levels. Was there any type of conservation of electricity from this guy over the week of high costs?

How open was Griddy about the very possible downsides of using their service? At any point in the sign-up or on-going usage, do they warn of $10,000 potential bills? Griddy is an investment service not an electrical provider. Were customers aware of this?

 

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5 hours ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

I have mixed feelings regarding the people who are obviously upset with their Griddy bills. I don't know what I would do if I received a $17k electricity bill.  https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/02/20/energy-bill-griddy-texas-winter-storm-deandre-upshaw-nr-vpx.cnn

On the other side, whether these customers realized it or not they were gambling on the Texas electricity market. At times, they effectively received free or extremely low energy costs. And now they're upset, and I would be to, that they paid $9/kWh.

It also takes almost 2000 kWh hours used at $9 to hit these bill levels. Was there any type of conservation of electricity from this guy over the week of high costs?

How open was Griddy about the very possible downsides of using their service? At any point in the sign-up or on-going usage, do they warn of $10,000 potential bills? Griddy is an investment service not an electrical provider. Were customers aware of this?

 

Most reports I've seen involving griddy is they contacted custumers before hand to get them to switch, but they couldn't switch in time, or possibly just ignored it.  I'm sure nobody was aware of a 17k bill possibility but even the possibility of $1000 bill would have me switching or shutting power off to the house and shacking up somewhere else.

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On 2/18/2021 at 9:42 AM, Damor said:

So watching all of this happen, I'm just going to assume that we're going to see consumer prices skyrocket as providers try to buttfuck us all into oblivion to make up for the buttfucking they're currently receiving.  Before they can put all that completely into motion, I thought this might be a good idea to put together a plan.

1)  I was happy with Griddy until this happened; however, this should potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime event.  If it survives I was considering going back, but I don't know enough about the way the market works to understand if spot prices will generally go up or return to "normal."  I'm guessing there will also be regulatory turmoil which will make this unpredictable.  And since I shouldn't mess around with things I don't understand, this is probably not the best option for now.

2)  Lock in the lowest long term plan available.  I'm finding plans just under $0.10/kwh for up to 36mos for my usage, which I'm thinking will be a good deal over that time period.  They are with no-name providers, though.  While I know that they are just the REP, my concern would be that if they are committing to those contracts they are more at risk of going under and leaving me to scramble for something shitty later (this happened to me with Breeze) when prices have likely gone up significantly.

3)  Pick a decent fixed rate from a big stable provider like TXU or Reliant.  Finding these for just under $0.11/kwh, though for  shorter terms.  Seems like the most conservative course and maybe the wisest given upcoming unpredictability, although I hate both of those companies.  And they reserve the right to "discontinue the plan without notice" and put me on a variable $0.30/kwh plan.

4)  Try out something like Energy Ogre.  Seems more risky given unpredictability, and I don't want to deal with unlocking my credit.

5)  Move to a more civilized place like Uruguay.

I'm currently thinking #3, but I'd appreciate any insight from those of y'all who are really plugged into this.  Maybe I'm overthinking things, but I sure as hell don't expect the REPs to act in my best interest and want to at least get a reacharound out of this.

Why not option 2.5?  There are plenty of options that are not fly by night outfits that just offer the lowest rates, but aren't the big box electric providers either.   You can get a decent fixed rate and peace of mind.

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Griddy emails that I received:
2/11 - They mention expected high prices next week

2/12 - “If the forecast and prices are too extreme for you right now, we understand if you want to switch providers. While we value you as a member, we want what is best for your wallet and family even more.”

2/13 - “Prices are looking to stay at record rates over the next couple of days due to the polar vortex. Your well-being is more important than our bottom-line. Unless you are a Griddy energy-saving expert, we recommend you immediately switch to another provider due to these price surges.”

They also called me and told me (left a voicemail) to switch. I forget what day that was.

I initiated a switch late on 2/14 and I was switched over by about 11am on 2/15.

I reduced consumption to less than 20kWh/day for 2/13 & 2/14. It cost me just under $40/day for those 2 days.

Any assclown with a $17k bill ignored all warnings and had his (all electric) furnace set at 80 with his doors wide open.

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32 minutes ago, Gene Parmesan said:

Most reports I've seen involving griddy is they contacted custumers before hand to get them to switch, but they couldn't switch in time, or possibly just ignored it.  I'm sure nobody was aware of a 17k bill possibility but even the possibility of $1000 bill would have me switching or shutting power off to the house and shacking up somewhere else.

If I was an electric provider last weekend and someone came to me for a provider transfer, I wouldn't even consider it until after the winter storm.  Just because Griddy told customers on Friday afternoon to switch, it doesn't mean it was possible.

The providers got slammed last week too. Why in the world would they take on a new customer at .10/kWh when the provider was going to be charged $9.00/kWh last week.  They will never break even with those customers.

I agree with you that I would most likely shut off power to my house in that situation. Sleeping in my car sounds better than a $1000 bill.

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17 minutes ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

If I was an electric provider last weekend and someone came to me for a provider transfer, I wouldn't even consider it until after the winter storm.  Just because Griddy told customers on Friday afternoon to switch, it doesn't mean it was possible.

The providers got slammed last week too. Why in the world would they take on a new customer at .10/kWh when the provider was going to be charged $9.00/kWh last week.  They will never break even with those customers.

I agree with you that I would most likely shut off power to my house in that situation. Sleeping in my car sounds better than a $1000 bill.

Yeah not being able to switch is likely a valid excuse.  The Ticket in Dallas had a host that had to switch and she was able to do so but there was a day lapse and a $500 bill before it went into effect.  These customers were obviously ignorant on how it works for sure though.  That maybe on the industry some but to get a 17k bill you have to make a lot of stupid decisions.  

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i think the $17k bill was 3 properties/meters combined.  at least i saw a story in Dallas about a guy in that scenario and it was not just on 1 property.  Claimed he tried to switch but could not in time.

Dunno what the right answer is here.  No one should be stuck with that kind of bill, but none of the fixed rate consumers enjoyed low rates when energy was cheap.  Probably the variable rate bills should be recalculated at a max rate capped at something equivalent to $100/day.  

Who, ultimately is left holding the bag if relief is given to consumers in the form of bill forgiveness?  The energy providers who bought at the high prices and passed it on?

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So as usual people want to be bailed out when they make decisions looking to benefit from the low side and end up being hoisted on their own petard.  If you're too stupid to understand the risks then don't do it and expect me to bail you out.  I didn't expect you to come over and help me change out ny hose bid because I didn't wrap it well enough.

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On 2/19/2021 at 11:20 PM, tokamak said:

How does this shit work when moving? I assume my provider can just transfer my contract to my new address, but my old house hasn't sold yet. Do I just bend over and go on a month to month plan there?

So my provider's website is fucked right now and I can't get through to them on the phone. Their phone system literally just says "leave us a message and we'll try to get back to you". What real company does that? Website says that they're not accepting any new customers at the moment and that's it. Some tiny outfit I found on PowerToChoose called Green Energy Exchange. I assume they're teetering on the edge of insolvency right now.

I'm kind of in a jam. Close on a new house Friday. I could just pick a new company and start over, but I'm like 6 months into a 36 month plan so if these guys stay alive they're going to nail me on cancellation fees.

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2 hours ago, NeverMarryAStripper said:

Why not option 2.5?  There are plenty of options that are not fly by night outfits that just offer the lowest rates, but aren't the big box electric providers either.   You can get a decent fixed rate and peace of mind.

Yep, hopefully this is what I did.  After spending some time looking around on powertochoose and the myriad other websites that masquerade as it, I found a good price from an REP I've used before and know has been around for several years (Southwest P&L).

Like @luke duke, I think that Griddy customers were kept in the loop by the company, and they have operated with remarkable and refreshing transparency.  That's why I hate to see the big headline stories fail to mention any of that or point out that most of these customers failed to understand what they were getting into.  It's a bit of a different story if they were unable to switch to another provider (although that may mean that they waited until disaster had already struck over a holiday weekend), but again that's a risk of using Griddy.

I honestly don't know what I would have done if I hadn't been able to switch.   It might have meant trading a big-ass electric bill for a big-ass insurance deductible and possibly weeks out of the house for repairs if anything broke even despite taking precautions.  And I wouldn't be shocked if a crappy insurance company (not mine, @C-Man) would try to deny coverage if you switched off your heat during an historic freeze.

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@tokamak Check your contract.  I'm almost sure that you cannot get dinged for an early termination fee if you are moving.  It's also possible to have two accounts with the same provider overlap when moving, but if you can't get to them that probably doesn't help you.  And if they're unresponsive now I'd personally just look at a new REP.

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10 minutes ago, Damor said:

@tokamak Check your contract.  I'm almost sure that you cannot get dinged for an early termination fee if you are moving.  It's also possible to have two accounts with the same provider overlap when moving, but if you can't get to them that probably doesn't help you.  And if they're unresponsive now I'd personally just look at a new REP.

Good idea, I'll read the fine print. Although I'm not sure I'm even going to be able to get the chucklefucks on the phone to cancel. Nice business model they got going.

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8 hours ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

I have mixed feelings regarding the people who are obviously upset with their Griddy bills. I don't know what I would do if I received a $17k electricity bill.  https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/02/20/energy-bill-griddy-texas-winter-storm-deandre-upshaw-nr-vpx.cnn

On the other side, whether these customers realized it or not they were gambling on the Texas electricity market. At times, they effectively received free or extremely low energy costs. And now they're upset, and I would be to, that they paid $9/kWh.

It also takes almost 2000 kWh hours used at $9 to hit these bill levels. Was there any type of conservation of electricity from this guy over the week of high costs?

How open was Griddy about the very possible downsides of using their service? At any point in the sign-up or on-going usage, do they warn of $10,000 potential bills? Griddy is an investment service not an electrical provider. Were customers aware of this?

 

Griddy sent emails but my dumbass didn't get switched. 17k is crazy I'm freaking out with 1300 I got. 

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37 minutes ago, Damor said:

I honestly don't know what I would have done if I hadn't been able to switch.   It might have meant trading a big-ass electric bill for a big-ass insurance deductible and possibly weeks out of the house for repairs if anything broke even despite taking precautions.  And I wouldn't be shocked if a crappy insurance company (not mine, @C-Man) would try to deny coverage if you switched off your heat during an historic freeze.

Even good insurance companies are going to have a problem if you willingly fail to maintain heat in a property and a pipe freezes and bursts as a result.

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Even good insurance companies are going to have a problem if you willingly fail to maintain heat in a property and a pipe freezes and bursts as a result.


But how are they going to prove it?

My furnace wasn’t working the other day. It seems to be working now. I’m not sure what happened.

Or

I had it set at 68 degrees like Atmos said. Shit froze anyway.
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1 hour ago, gyroprotagonist said:

i think the $17k bill was 3 properties/meters combined.  at least i saw a story in Dallas about a guy in that scenario and it was not just on 1 property.  Claimed he tried to switch but could not in time.

Dunno what the right answer is here.  No one should be stuck with that kind of bill, but none of the fixed rate consumers enjoyed low rates when energy was cheap.  Probably the variable rate bills should be recalculated at a max rate capped at something equivalent to $100/day.  

Who, ultimately is left holding the bag if relief is given to consumers in the form of bill forgiveness?  The energy providers who bought at the high prices and passed it on?

The energy providers don't control the spot market price. They're stuck buying whatever is needed by their customers. Doesn't ERCOT set that market?

If you cap a customer at $100/day, then the variable rate providers will want an ERCOT cap. Which means the electricity generation companies will be told that there is a much lower max rate.  I believe the max charge from power plants is $9000/Mwh, which equates to a $9/Kwh, which is what Griddy customers saw last week.

If we allow a service like Griddy, then something has to give. Griddy customers can't reap the benefits of low energy prices but then expect a bailout with the high energy prices. It's basically a scenario of privatize the gains, socialize the losses.

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1 minute ago, luke duke said:

 


But how are they going to prove it?

My furnace wasn’t working the other day. It seems to be working now. I’m not sure what happened.

Or

I had it set at 68 degrees like Atmos said. Shit froze anyway.

 

If it happens as the result of something out of your control, no worries. If it's out of provable negligence, you might have a problem. Case in point -- large client of mine lives in Nashville. Owns three multi-million dollar homes up there. His sister was allegedly living in one of the homes. She'd moved, though. They didn't tell us. House had heat either off or extremely low when they had that crazy winter storm blow through a few years ago and temps got down to 0. Pipe froze and burst and caused nearly $100K damage. PURE was angling like it wasn't going to pay the claim. Fortunately, the pipe was on an outer wall and hadn't been properly insulated by the initial builder so it was deemed not our client's fault. PURE paid.

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Oh, and evidently Griddy has/had some kind of price protection plan set up to introduce next month.  I'm curious to know how that was going to work.

And since I still have the app, I have seen several hours of either $0 or negative pricing now that it's spring outside and the plants are all online.  Not going to make much of a dent in $9.99/kwh, though.

And kudos to @luke duke for crushing his energy consumption.  One of the many things that using Griddy has taught me is that I use a shitload of power, even when I think I'm not.

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Oh, and evidently Griddy has/had some kind of price protection plan set up to introduce next month.  I'm curious to know how that was going to work.


I’m guessing an increased monthly fee in exchange for a cap or the ability to spread the cost over a couple of months.
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So as usual people want to be bailed out when they make decisions looking to benefit from the low side and end up being hoisted on their own petard.  If you're too stupid to understand the risks then don't do it and expect me to bail you out.  I didn't expect you to come over and help me change out ny hose bid because I didn't wrap it well enough.

Totally this, see people bitching all over Facebook. You took the risk you deal with it , tired of people asking for handouts for their own bad decisions
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15 hours ago, elfenix said:

which is only for megacorps. 

yeah, this is kinda where i am coming from.  We bail out stupid corps all the time.  People sorta grumble about it, but no one really bats an eye; there are no cries of 'poor life choices' .  But you start bailing out individuals and a lot of people start losing their shit.  I get the sentiment of 'fuck around and find out' but my point is the consumer should be somewhat protected.  Not made whole, not given the same fixed rate pricing, but also not $9/KWh. 

I have seen where some providers are offering ~10y financing on the bill.  That's $50 a month on a $6K bill.  Sucks for them, but it's not crippling debt which should be the goal.  Keep people financially stable as possible.  It does no good to cause people to not make rent/mortgage because of this.

If Texas decides to try and 'fix' this, consumers are going to pay more and cover the cost.  Pay generators to be on standby (for real this time) in the winter and operate for a few months in the summer.

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If you were still on Griddy somehow, you'd better find a new plan immediately, because ERCOT switched you to the Provider of Last Resort (POLR) who is likely administering you a smooth buttfucking right now (probably upper teens to over 20c/kwh).

What's darkly hilarious to me is that, if I understand correctly, these POLR plans are variable rates based on hourly spot prices.  In other words, the same thing that Griddy was, but with significantly greater additional charges and fees, and no price monitoring to adjust usage.

It's also interesting to me that thus far ERCOT has only shut down Griddy, although I think they only had around 10k customers left.  Seems like that since Griddy dominated all the negative headlines that ERCOT is throwing them under the bus for show.  It's sure not going to make a dent in the actual cost overruns.

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From what I've read, ERCOT shut them down for nonpayment.  That makes sense as they probably incurred massive charges and had to float a lot of customers who either hit their credit/account limits on recharges or deactivated their funding accounts.  And that's entirely justified in my opinion -- if you don't pay, you get cut off.  But it does seem weird that Griddy likely represented a relatively small portion of customers/outstanding charges and a disproportionate amount of sensationalist press.  

I also don't quite know why I'm so fascinated with it, other than I think it was a good idea that tried to be too simple and transparent while being built upon an underlying arcane hot mess.

And @tokamak, did you get your service transfer figured out?  Might be helpful info for others in the future.

Edited by Damor
muledick again
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From what I've read, ERCOT shut them down for nonpayment.  That makes sense as they probably incurred massive charges and had to float a lot of customers who either hit their credit/account limits on recharges or deactivated their funding accounts.  And that's entirely justified in my opinion -- if you don't pay, you get cut off.  But it does seem weird that Griddy likely represented a relatively small portion of customers/outstanding charges and a disproportionate amount of sensationalist press.  

I also don't quite know why I'm so fascinated with it, other than I think it was a good idea that tried to be too simple and transparent while being built upon an underlying arcane hot mess.
And [mention=151]tokamak[/mention], did you get your service transfer figured out?  Might be helpful info for others in the future.

Yeah I did. Finally got in touch with them on the phone and they transferred it no problem.

They still wouldn't put me on any sort of temporary plan for the old house until it sells. Insisted that they can't sign up any new plans, period, even for existing customers. They gave me a 90 day grace period, but after that I’m cut off. I really don’t understand - if they’re hurting financially seems like they’d want to sign up as many plans as possible. Maybe it’s one of those lose money on every customer but make it up with volume situations.
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My plan was scheduled to run out in a couple weeks and I was really worried rates would be through the roof following the storm. I couldn't even login two weeks ago and the renewal offer just said 'no longer valid'. I've been checking daily since then and they've slowly dropped over the last week so I finally decided to renew today slightly lower than what I already had. I actually stayed with the same provider because it was better than anything else I could find and had a lower early termination fee.

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