Friday, 22 May 2015

Just Energy scam ripoff - don't do it

Just Energy has come door to door in our neighbourhood. They probably aren't technically a scam, as they do provide you with what you sign up for at the price you agree to.  However, they are a ripoff.

I was offered to buy electricity at a fixed price for 60 months/5 years, at a rate that wouldn't change to ensure I'm safe.  Too bad the rate is over 3x what the Alberta Power Pool has been balancing at this week.  If you don't know how to find those prices, visit the Alberta Electric System Operator or "aeso" web site and look under their power pool price statistics.

Yes, in 5 years it could be above the price they're offering to sell you electricity at today.  However, every day that you over pay by 3x, you're eroding value now.  You're better off self insuring.  This is like offering you a car loan at 50% interest, but saying it's safe because the rate is guaranteed not to change.  It's not safe, it's completely idiotic.

Their natural gas price quotes are similar.  They are about 2.5x the cost that natural gas sells for today in Alberta.  Yes, it's a very volatile commodity, but again, every month you pay 2.5x over, you'd essentially be fine by self insuring.  I'm not a gas bull at this point - technology has enabled us to gather more gas, more cheaply, than ever before.  Bringing it out of the ground is simply an economic question of what price it takes to incentivize producers to drill for it.

Please please please don't buy Just Energy's offerings.  They don't produce either commodity, they simply are a sales force that creates contracts then hedges themselves off on the other side.  They lock in their profit on day zero.

Rebecca McDonald you should be ashamed.  If you were selling securities, your company's actions would be illegal - it's just that consumer contracting for commodities isn't scrutinized as much.

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