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A Buyer’s Guide to Smart Energy Shopping.

Price To Compare provides a simple and secure energy shopping experience that gives you the power to choose your power. Learn how to pick the right energy plan for your needs.

If you live in a deregulated state, you have the option to shop around for an electric supplier with the lowest rate or best plan features. There is no shortage of options when it comes to electricity and natural gas suppliers, but navigating the energy market can be stressful. Follow these tips and you’re sure to feel more confident as you select your energy supplier.

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Assess your home’s energy needs.

Identify your energy consumption patterns. Utilities and residential electric services make it simple for you to review your past electric bills. Look at seasonal trends and other variables that help you to better understand your usage. On average, heating, cooling, and hot water account for 70% of the total.

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Research reputable residential energy companies.

What should you look for when comparing residential energy suppliers (REPs)? Look for an REP that has a reputation for treating its customers well. Also, good customer service reviews are a must. 

You’ll want to deal with a residential electric service that is there for you when you need them. You’ll also want a residential electricity company that promptly responds to your questions and concerns.

One way to find reputable residential energy providers is to check out pre-screened companies at Price to Compare. 

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Read your new plan’s details thoroughly.

Ensure peace of mind by carefully looking over all the plan’s details. Here are some things to watch for. 

Understand the length of the plan

Residential energy contracts vary in length. Depending on the REP, the contract term could be anywhere from one month to five years. Short-term plans are often month-to-month, although some are three months or six months. Long-term plans are typically 12 or 24 months, although some are longer.  

Since most contracts automatically renew, you’ll want to know precisely when you must notify your energy supplier of your desire to switch. 

Understand if it’s a fixed-rate or variable-rate plan

Residential electricity companies may offer fixed-rate or variable-rate plans, or both. 

Fixed-rate plans

Consumers with fixed rate plans pay the same amount for energy throughout the length of their contracts. 

Variable-rate plans 

By contrast, those with variable rate plans may see their monthly charges fluctuate. This is because electricity charges are linked to the amount the supplier pays for energy.

Understand pricing structures and hidden fees

There are two primary charges on an electric bill. One is for the electricity supplied and another for its transmission and distribution.

Be aware of possible inactivity fees, documents fees, live agent surcharges, and so forth. At one point, ProPublica investigated the problem of hidden fees on energy bills.

Understand cancellation fees

What happens if you cancel your energy contract before it ends? In many instances, there’s an early termination fee (ETF) of some sort. However, note that you’ll avoid an ETF if you move out of the supplier’s service area.

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Add your plan’s end date to your calendar.

Your new supplier will provide an end date within your plan’s terms.

Remember to put a calendar reminder a month or two prior to this date so that you can start shopping for a new plan before your old one ends.

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Know when you can switch.

If you’re currently allowing your utility company to choose your energy supplier, you can switch to a new supplier at any time.

However, if you’ve already signed up with another supplier previously, you’ll want to check the end date of that plan to avoid any early termination fees.

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Read customer reviews and testimonials.

Before you select an energy plan, find out what customers are saying. Look at the supplier’s website as well as third-party sites that publish customer reviews. Google Reviews and the Better Business Bureau are two examples. 

In deregulated states, the public utility commission certifies energy suppliers. State authorities determine whether a given supplier is financially fit. They also make sure the company has technical know-how to deliver energy as promised. 

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Have your bill handy.

Your bill will have your current energy rate – or your price to compare – listed. This is the number you’ll want to compare to the rates in our price comparison tool. You’ll also need your account number to switch suppliers.

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This is your price to compare to other suppliers’ rates.

Pro Tip:

When comparing rates, it may be helpful to convert your utility bill’s rate from dollars to cents. To do this, multiply the dollar amount by 100.

For example, an electricity rate of $0.0637 per kWh equals 6.37 ¢ per kWh.

Protecting Yourself From Consumer Scams

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Price To Compare is committed to empowering homeowners to make the best, most informed decisions about their home’s energy purchases.

However, as with many services, it is important for energy consumers to be aware scams and know what to look for to avoid them.

Most importantly, know that Price To Compare will never ask for:

  • Your banking information.
  • Your debit or credit card number.
  • Any other form of payment information.

If you ever have questions or concerns regarding an energy offer you’ve received in person, over the phone or via email, don’t hesitate to contact your utility company directly. Your utility company can confirm any information regarding your energy account’s status, your current supplier and other important information.

Not sure where to begin?

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Talk to an energy consultant today.