With energy deregulation available in many U.S. states (view map), consumers are now permitted the opportunity to choose the energy suppliers that supply them with power. This consumer choice is designed to encourage competition and lower prices while giving homeowners & commercial businesses more control over their energy rates and savings.
Unfortunately, this choice can cause confusion. Many consumers are unsure of what to look for in an energy supplier, and that confusion can lead to inertia and indecision.
Whether you are new to the energy industry or just looking for the best energy rate, use the following tips for finding the best energy supplier for your household or commercial business.
If you reside in or run a commercial business in an energy deregulated state, you have the opportunity to choose your energy supplier. Doing so could save you a lot of money.
Know Where You Stand Now
Without the right information at hand, it will be impossible to choose the right energy plan from the host of choices you have available. To choose the right plan, you will first need to know where you stand - from how much energy you use to how much you are paying for each kilowatt-hour.
The easiest way to gather that information is to review your recent energy bills. It is a good idea to look at several different bills instead of just focusing on the most recent one. Energy bills can vary widely depending on the season and how heavily your household or commercial business demands energy consumption. Reviewing several recent bills is the best way to get a handle on your power usage.
Those bills should also list the charge per kilowatt-hour - another important factor in choosing an energy supplier. Be sure you have that information available before moving on to the next step.
Review Energy Rate
Whenever you receive a quote from a competing energy supplier, that offer should include detailed information on how much you will be charged for each kilowatt-hour you use.
It is also a good idea to review the various plans for peak and off-peak energy usage. Energy usage tends to spike during the daytime hours - when both businesses and households are using computers, equipment, washing clothes and dishes and otherwise consuming power. As a result, some energy suppliers may offer consumers a discount for using energy during those off-peak hours.
Check Contract and Cancellation Terms
Chances are you will need to sign a contract with your new energy supplier, so be sure to read those contract terms carefully. You may be subject to cancellation fees and other charges if you want to change energy suppliers. These cancellation fees can make the plan less attractive.
It is also essential to look at the rates and guarantees for each plan you are considering. Some energy suppliers will offer fixed rates for a period of time, while others will provide variable rates monthly. If you go with a variable rate plan, be sure to review your bills regularly. It's vital to monitor your variable rate to assure you are still getting a reasonable rate per kilowatt-hour for electricity and MCF for gas.
Consulting an Energy Expert
Admittedly, understanding the complexities of energy rates, plans, and market fluctuation can be cumbersome and complicated. Consulting an energy broker if your a consumer shopping energy rates for your commercial business can be beneficial when shopping energy suppliers and comparing rates.
An energy broker can provide the advantage of being able to compare energy rates across dozens of energy suppliers and leverage their partnerships in negotiating the best energy rate and plan for their customers. It makes shopping energy rates, choosing an energy plan, and switching energy suppliers an effortless and seamless experience.