Direct Energy Regulated Services (DERS) is a subsidiary of Direct Energy Marketing Ltd., providing electricity and natural gas to thousands of businesses and residences in Alberta at regulated rates determined by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). While DERS is an electricity and natural gas provider — having acquired ATCO’s regulated retail services in 2004 — ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric provide natural gas distribution and wires service, respectively, to DERS’s customers in the province. Those who were previously billed for regulated utilities by ATCO Gas or ATCO Electric now receive billing and customer service from Direct Energy Regulated Services.
Customers in the ATCO Gas North and South territories may pay different rates from one another because DERS is mandated by the Alberta Utilities Commission to procure natural gas for the two territories separately.
Differing weather conditions, consumption rates, and other local characteristics also contribute to differences in rates between the two regions. In October 2014, for example, the pricing difference between the two service areas was such that a residential customer consuming 9 gigajoules of natural gas would pay $96 in the South Service Territory, while a customer in the North Service Territory with identical consumption would pay $101.
DERS states that the Regulated Rate Option (RRO) rates for electricity are available to businesses and residences that consume less than 250,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. This means that the average household in Alberta consumes approximately 7,600 kWh of electricity per year (slightly more than 3% of the maximum RRO consumption), so the vast majority of residential and small business customers have the option of choosing the RRO rate.
DERS’s competitive retail counterpart does business under the parent corporation’s name, Direct Energy. However, it is currently not possible to receive a single combined bill from Direct Energy and Direct Energy Regulated Services for natural gas and electricity services, as they operate as two separate entities, and are not allowed to share consumer information with one another due to Canadian law.
Direct Energy Regulated natural gas services
Direct Energy Regulated Services provides thousands of customers across Alberta with regulated natural gas. The regulated provider serves consumers in two regions in Alberta: South and North. It’s quite common to see the company mentioning the two areas as the north of Red Deer and the south of Red Deer.
As a regulated energy provider, Direct Energy Regulated’s rates are regulated and reviewed by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). DERS rates are calculated each month according to the official agency’s regulation.
Many regions in Alberta have DERS as the regulated natural gas provider (RRO), including:
Direct Energy Regulated Electricity Services
When it comes to electricity plans, Direct Energy Regulated Services is also regulated and reviewed by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). According to the company, the DERS electricity services are provided to customers in the ATCO Electric service area who haven’t chosen a retailer.
Most consumers under the 250,000 kWh per year threshold, such as residential and commercial, can sign up with Direct Energy Regulated Services. However, the cost of electricity per kWh may change according to your consumption size. The official DERS website offers seven different rates, one for each type of consumer (i.e., large, oilfield, farm and lighting service).
DERS serves electricity in three different Alberta regions (Northwest, Northeast and Southeast), which includes cities such as:
- Fort Vermilion
- Fox Creek
- Grande Cache
- Grande Prairie
- High Level
- Peace River
- Rainbow Lake
- Spirit River
- Valley View
Direct Energy Regulated Rates
As of May 2019, the DERS natural gas rates for residential, small and large commercial would range from 6.2 cents/kWh to 6.02 cents/kWh. However, such rates can change from month to month. It’s important to note that customers under RRO plans have their energy rates capped by the provincial government, which means they won’t pay more than 6.8 cents/kWh as long as the Government of Alberta keeps the price cap.
As to the natural gas rates, prices were the same for all types of consumers signed up for natural gas with DERS in May 2019 ($2.285/GJ), including residential, large users and irrigation pumping users.
Alongside the cost of electricity, your monthly energy bill may reflect other charges. The administration fees (also known as admin fees), for example, are fixed fees related to the costs of billing and managing each account. The admin fee is charged by all natural gas and electricity providers in Alberta, and may vary according to each company.
Direct Energy Regulated Contact
If you’re a Direct Energy Regulated Services customer, or simply want to contact their customer services, there is a general DERS email address: [email protected].
There are also different phone numbers listed on its website, depending on your issue. To check which one is ideal for you in Alberta, it’s worth it visiting the official DERS site.
Direct Energy Regulated Services’ mailing address in Alberta:
Direct Energy Regulated Services
P.O. Box 1520, Station M
Calgary, AB T2P 5R6
Direct Energy Business is a company under the Direct Energy (DE) group that provides electricity and natural gas supply solutions for small businesses, commercial and industrial consumers. Alongside commercial energy plans, Direct Energy Business offers other energy-related business services, such as energy performance review, sustainability plans and advanced monitoring.
It’s important to note that Direct Energy Business is a different company from DERS. That’s why it has different billing systems, energy rates and plans, which are specific for businesses.
Direct Energy Business provides a number of electricity and natural gas options to businesses and organizations both large and small, including the following business solutions:
Fixed Price (natural gas and electricity): Provides a secure, fixed rate for the entire length of your contract with Direct Energy, allowing you to budget ahead of time and avoid market volatility. DE recommends this option for businesses needing any volume of electricity and natural gas, or who require simple electrical supply management.
Variable/Index Price (natural gas and electricity): Variable rates are based on the current market price of gas and electricity, allowing customers to take full advantage of low-cost market conditions. They recommend this option for businesses with high volumes of gas and electricity consumption, those that appreciate budget flexibility and can tolerate the inherent risks, and those who desire a sophisticated, flexible energy management system.
Price Protection (natural gas): Businesses and industrial organizations can set a price ceiling for natural gas, while still being able to take advantage of lower gas rates when the market price drops. Additionally, customers on this plan can lock in their prices when the market rate is at an ideal level. Direct Energy recommends Price Protection to businesses with flexible monthly energy budgets that can tolerate a certain amount of risk, and those that aren’t ready to choose a fixed-rate contract due to market conditions or budgetary concerns.
Direct Energy Business rates
As large consumers of electricity and gas, small business, commercial and industrial customers can find quite different energy rates from households in Alberta. The natural gas and power rates most consumers find online are usually for residential customers. Commercial consumers, however, usually have their energy rates based not only on current prices, but also on their energy usage.
Direct Energy history
Direct Energy was founded in Toronto, Ontario, in 1986 (though now headquartered in Houston, Texas, since 2014) as a competitive energy retailer in markets that allowed unregulated sales of energy. Direct Energy was acquired by U.K.-based Centrica PLC, a worldwide supplier of electricity and natural gas.
Direct Energy made several acquisitions in the first decade of the 2000s, including Energy America, Enbridge Home Services and, in 2004, the regulated retail operations of ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric.
In 2010, Direct Energy acquired Clockwork Home Services, making DE the largest energy and home services retailer in North America. With Clockwork, Direct Energy acquired three major brands: One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, and Mister Sparky.
It has also expanded its holdings in power production facilities and natural gas reserves, including Quintana Mineral Resources, Bastrop and Frontera Energy Centers, and the Paris Energy Center. The company also owns nearly 5,000 natural gas wells in the province of Alberta. They have also invested in green energy, with investments in five wind farms in the state of Texas.
For small businesses and residential customers in Alberta, Direct Energy offers electricity and natural gas at government-regulated rates as Direct Energy Regulated Services. The deregulated competitive retail arm of the company does business as Direct Energy.
Direct Energy is currently one of North America’s largest natural gas and electricity providers, serving more than 4 million accounts and 4,000 employees. In Canada, the company serves consumers in Alberta, including Edmonton, Sherwood Park, and Calgary, and British Columbia.
Direct Energy regulated vs. deregulated: which one to choose? If you were ever bothered by that question, it’s important to know that each Direct Energy company or plan may be ideal for a type of customer. If you want to know more about residential Direct Energy plans in Alberta, check below your options for both electricity and natural gas.
Direct Energy electricity plans and rates
The Direct Energy competitive residential retailer currently has four different fixed-rate electricity plans for residential customers. These plans can be useful for consumers who value budget certainty, as they can lock in your energy rates for years and protect your bills from volatility.
- 1-Year Free-2-Save Plan Electricity: A 12-month electricity plan with fixed rates
- 2-Year Free-2-Save Electricity: A 24-month electricity plan with fixed rates
- 3-Year Simple Renewable Electricity With Maintenance: A 36-month electricity plan with fixed rates from renewable sources
- 5-Year Free-2-Save Electricity: A 60-month electricity plan with fixed rates
Direct Energy natural gas plans and rates
Residential customers looking for natural gas rates, can also find four Direct Energy natural gas options, all fixed and without cancellation fees.
- 1-Year Free-2-Save Gas Plan
- 2-Year Free-2-Save Gas Plan
- 3-Year Free-2-Save Gas Plan
- 5-Year Free-2-Save Gas Plan
Direct Energy Bundle: Electricity and Natural Gas
Like many energy suppliers in Alberta, Direct Energy has exclusive perks for electricity and natural gas bundles. From free months to tech gadgets, there are quite a few perks for consumers who opt for a bundled energy plan.
Customers under Direct Energy gas and electricity bundles, depending on the duration of their deal, can win a one-time free furnace or AC maintenance service, an Amazon Echo Dot, a free Hive View Camera or free energy bills during some specific months.
There are currently three gas and electricity bundle options with Direct Energy in Alberta.
- 1-Year Free-2-Save Plan Dual Fuel
- 3-Year Free-2-Save Dual Fuel
- 5-Year Smart and Secure Plan
Direct Energy billing and payment
As posted on the Direct Energy website, customers in Alberta can pay their Direct Energy bill via online banking, pre-authorized payment, phone, mail or in-person at a financial institution.
Direct Energy contact and customer service
Whether you’re moving or just want to get in touch with the Direct Energy customer care, you can reach out to the company via its online chat platform or call its customer service. There is a specific phone number for each inquiry, so it’s worth it going to the Direct Energy website to find out which customer service phone number is ideal for your question.
There is also the possibility of contacting Direct Energy via its social media pages. The company is on both on Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re a Direct Energy customer and want to complain about or check for a power outage, you may want to call your energy distributor first. They will probably be able to help you with that. Here’s a full guide to finding out who is the electricity distributor in your area.
Compare Direct Energy rates
If you want to know more about Direct Energy and other Alberta energy providers, go to EnergyRates.ca. The website allows you to compare Direct Energy to other Alberta utility companies, such as ENMAX, EPCOR and Spot Power, in order to find the lowest available energy rates for your home or business.
At EnergyRates.ca, small, large commercial and industrial energy consumers can compare natural gas and electricity rates for their businesses and cut energy costs. Such consumers can even get a free custom quote based on their energy usage.