If you’re comfortable with Excel, you can easily model your own plans in RateGrinder to compare against the hundreds of options pre-loaded from PowerToChoose.org. This is handy for evaluating your existing plan or a new plan from an REP or broker site. Here’s how to do it using the plan’s EFL information:
Download the spreadsheet and go to the ‘Database’ worksheet tab.
Open the ‘EFL Database’ section by clicking the box above column ‘BK’. This is where you’ll capture the key pricing details from the EFL.
Find one of the mostly blank rows with “[Enter you own offer]” in the ‘Product’ column. If you don’t see one, try clearing any existing filters. For that row, fill in all the columns with pink headings (TDU Area, REP, Product, etc.) from your plan’s EFL.
Many REPs levy tiered fees or credits as a function of your usage range. Columns [BM – BV] capture these with a lookup table that returns a single charge or credit amount based on the usage. Enter numbers in the Usage[X] and Charge/Credit[X] columns to match the EFL terms. You must put a number for Usage1, even if it’s zero.
Example 1: REP “A” charges $7.95 for using less than 1000 kWh/month.
Model this as: Usage1=0, Usage2=1000, Chrg/Cred1=7.95, Chrg/Cred2=0.
Example 2: REP “B” grants a $60 credit for usage greater than 999 and less than 2001 kWh/month.
Model this as: Usage1=0, Usage2=1000, Usage3=2001, Chrg/Cred1=0, Chrg/Cred2=(-60), Chrg/Cred3=0
Columns [BX – CE] capture charges per kWh used. RateGrinder supports up to 4 different rates based on three breakpoints (A, B, C) and the 3 usage ranges they define: [zero to A], [A to B], [B to C], and [C to ∞]. (Note: A, B, and C default to zero if left blank.)
Example 1: REP “A” charges a flat Energy charge of 4.3 ¢/kWh.
Model this as: RateC-∞=0.043
Example 2: REP “B” charges 8.1 ¢/kWH for 0-2000 kWh usage, and 3.7 ¢/kWh for >2000 kWh usage.
Model this as: UsageC=2000, RateB-C=0.081, and RateC-∞=0.037.
TDUs levy monthly flat and usage-based charges for their services. Most plans pass these through to you as separate charges. If the TDU charges are itemized in the EFL, enter those amounts in columns CF and CG and put a ‘Y’ in column CH. Otherwise put an ‘N’ in column CH.
Example 1: REP “A” states they pass through all Centerpoint delivery charges (currently $5.47/month and 3.88 ¢/kWh) without mark-up.
Model as: TDU $/month=5.47, TDU $/kWh=0.0388, TDU $ in EFL?=”Y”
Example 2: REP “B” makes a similar claim as REP “A”, but REP “B” lists the TDU $/kWh charge as 4.06 ¢/kWh.
Model as: TDU $/month=5.47, TDU $/kWh=0.0406, TDU $ in EFL?=”Y”
EFL check: Do the calculated results in blue Columns DY/DZ/EA match the EFL’s ‘average price’ claims at 500/1000/2000 kWh usage? If not, find and fix the discrepancy. In some cases, you may have to guess what TDU charges the REP assumed but didn’t itemize on the EFL — see the ‘TDU_Info’ tab for ideas. If the calculations are within 0.1¢ of the EFL’s claims, it may just be an EFL rounding error. Despite their contractual role, the EFLs aren’t always perfect.
TDU charge pass-through: Most plans pass any TDU charges through to you without mark-up. If this is stated or implied in the ‘Electricity Price’ or ‘Can my price change…’ sections of the EFL, then put a ‘Y’ in column CI. If the EFL lumps the TDU charges in with the Energy charges and declares neither will change, put an ‘N’ in column CI. If it’s not obvious either way, put a ‘?’ in column CI.
Note: If column CI=’Y’, then the calculated results in columns DY/DZ/EA may change if the EFL wasn’t using the latest TDU rates. This is OK, as our goal is to normalize all plans to the latest TDU charges for comparison.
At this point you should see an annual cost projection in column CY, and Heat Map rate indications for different usages. Sort column CY from “smallest to largest” to see where the new plan ranks for your home’s specific usage.
As a final note: If you get stuck, don’t get discouraged. Open the EFL of any offer already in the database and compare the entries for further examples and clarification.