Depending on where you live in Alberta, you typically have two options when buying electricity and natural gas. You can choose to stay on the regulated rate option or you can choose a competitive rate for your energy by signing a contract with a Competitive Retailer.
1) Regulated Retailers
Regulated Retailers in your area will bill you for your electricity and natural gas on a month to month basis and the rates will change each month. If you choose to get your service(s) from a Regulated Retailer, you will receive two separate bills each month, one for electricity and one for natural gas.
If you are a new utilities customer, you may have to first connect your electricity and natural gas services with a Regulated Retailer. Please see Competitive Retailers below for more information.
Find Regulated Retailers for electricity and natural gas in your area.
2) Competitive Retailers
You can choose a Competitive Retailer and sign their contract to receive services for electricity and/or natural gas for a specific period of time. Depending on what was agreed on in your contract, your rates could be fixed, variable, or a combination of both. If you sign a contract with a Competitive Retailer for your electricity and/or natural gas services, you will receive a single bundled bill for both services each month.
It typically takes 10 to 15 days to switch energy services. However, it can take up to 90 days depending on the specific situation. You should check with the retailer of your choice and confirm the date when your new service will start.
Find Competitive Retailers in your area.
Customers who don't sign a contract for natural gas or electricity are served by a Regulated Retailer. The regulated rates are reviewed and approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and can change from month to month. Since you don't sign a contract for regulated energy services, there aren't any early exit fees. However, you can't bundle your services through Regulated Retailers.
- The regulated rate always provides the current market price
- There aren't any early exit fees for cancelling the regulated rate service
- You don't need to sign a contract
- If the price drops, you share in the savings
- No marketing costs are built into the rate
- No sales tactics are involved
Potential risks of choosing a Regulated Retailer:
- The regulated rate reflects the current market price, which fluctuates up and down on a monthly basis making costs less predictable
- The regulated rate will have higher price volatility, which can result in price spikes one month followed by significant decreases the next
- You can't bundle your services through a Regulated Retailer
Already a Regulated Retailer customer? Learn how to understand your electricity and natural gas bill.
There's only one regulated provider for your geographic area. Find yours: Regulated Retailers
You and the retailer of your choice can enter into a contract for the price and length of energy service you want. During that time, your energy rates will remain fixed, variable, or a combination of both, depending on terms of the contract you enter into.
- Contracts can provide peace of mind by locking in a price for a specific term
- Fixed price contracts can protect you against short-term price increases (e.g. due to natural events/disasters)
- Retailers may offer you incentives to sign a contract
- Bundling your electricity and natural gas is only available through a Competitive Retailer
- Some retailers pass along administration cost savings if you bundle your energy services
Potential risks of choosing a Competitive Retailer:
- You could be locked into a contract price for the term of the contract even if the market rates drop
- Some retailers have early exit fees if you end your contract before the end of the term
What stays the same when I sign an energy contract?
- Your new bill will continue to include charges for energy, delivery, administration and taxes
- Your new bill will have an account number on it. You'll need to ensure that your banking information is updated for your payments
Do I have cancellation rights?
You can cancel your contract without penalty for any reason within 10 calendar days from when the retailer receives a signed copy. If you commit to a contract over the phone, you can cancel the contract up to 60 days after the first billing statement is received from the new marketer.
Standard terms and conditions:
The standard rights and responsibilities are between you and your new marketer. Below are some questions to ask if you're considering entering a contract:
- If a deposit is required, how will it be calculated, when will I be notified about the amount and under what conditions will I get a refund?
- How do I end my energy contract?
- Do I have to pay an early exit fee if I cancel the contract before the end of the term? Early exit fees can vary considerably by product and retailer, so take the time to understand how the fee is calculated
- What happens to my contract if I move?
Energy Contract Folder (PDF)
Sample Competitive Contracts
Find a Competitive Retailer in your area.
Already a Competitive Retailer customer? Learn how to understand your bundled bill.
This REA Contact List (PDF) is provided courtesy of the Alberta Federation of Rural Electrification Associations (AFREA) (external link). AFREA provides support to their member REA's, please contact the AFREA directly if you have questions.
Some REAs offer electricity contracts for members in their territory. Contact your REA for more information. Learn more...
The Federation Members Contact List (PDF) is provided courtesy of the Federation of Alberta Gas Co-ops. The Federation of Alberta Gas Co-ops provides support to their members, please contact the Federation directly if you have questions. Learn more...
Contact the UCA for more information about your buying options, to determine if an energy retailer is licensed, or if you feel you've been treated unfairly. It's against regulations for a Competitive Retailer to use misleading statements or apply pressure tactics in the conduct of their business. Service Alberta may investigate complaints and enforce actions - including fines and license cancellation - against a retailer found to be in breach of the regulations.
Please note: It typically takes between 10 to 15 days to switch energy retailers for billing. If you're a new customer (new to Alberta or moving into your first home) you may need to initially connect your electricity and natural gas services with the Regulated Retailers in your area depending on how soon you need services. To be sure, ask each retailer how long it will take for them to start billing you.
Regardless of which retailer you choose (Regulated or Competitive), the delivery portion of your electricity and natural gas bill(s) will not change from one retailer to the next.