How to Change Energy Companies
Can I Switch My Electric Company?
Imagine that you would only be able to buy groceries from one supermarket – the one closest to your house – and as a result, this supermarket would be able to charge you a lot higher prices. This was the state of the energy industry in the US, before the energy choice.
But then the federal government deregulated the U.S. energy industry, allowing individual states to decide how to supply electricity to their residents. What does that mean in practice for you? Your state utility company still has to deliver electricity to your home, but you have the right to choose who will supply it, based on the cheapest electricity and gas prices.
Do All Cities Have an Energy Choice in The U.S?
Unfortunately not. Currently, 18 U.S. states have partially or fully deregulated the electricity and natural gas marketplaces. They are California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas.
However, that doesn’t mean that every customer living in one of those states can freely switch electricity providers. To add an extra layer of complexity, some states deregulated only parts of their territories – usually bound to specific utility companies’ service areas. The quickest way to find out if you can take advantage of the energy comparison is entering your zip code on our website, the ElectricRate.
How Do I Change My Electricity Supplier?
You entered your zip code, found out that you live in a deregulated energy area, and based on the electricity price comparison, you found a number of cheap electricity and gas plans on offer. You probably wonder – what do I do next?
The good news is that the process is extremely easy and will only take you a few minutes to complete. You won’t need an electrician to come to your house before you can switch. All you need is access to the internet and your most recent electric bill.
|1. Enter your zip code at ElectricRate.com - All you need to do is to enter your zip code on our website and you will see a list of plans offered by electricity providers in your area. We carefully review and vet all major energy companies, so that you can compare electricity plans, customer service, and extra perks easily.|
|2. Understand your current rate - Look at your most recent electric bill. On it, search for the term "Supply Charges,” or "Generation Charges and find out how much you are paying per kilowatt-hour of electricity (Rate per kWh)|
|3. Compare electricity providers - Compare your current rate with the available electric plans on our website and find the electricity plan with the best price and conditions.|
|4. Sign up with the new provider - Sign up easily over the phone or online with a few easy clicks of the mouse. The process usually doesn't take longer than one billing cycle so your next bill will most likely come from your new provider.|
Is Switching Electric Suppliers Worth It?
It can be. The state utility companies are constantly trying to increase the electricity rates they can charge to their customers. In 2018, nearly all U.S. utilities filed rate hike proposals to be approved by their respective state regulatory commissions. If you switch your electricity provider, you can avoid these rate increases by locking in a cheaper rate.
What should I consider when changing electric providers?
Even though the price will likely be the major factor in your decision making, there are additional factors you may want to consider when doing the electricity comparison.
The Energy Tariff
Energy plans are like shoes. One size does not fit all. Electricity providers offer many different energy plans and you should be familiar with each option’s pros and cons. Below is an overview of the most common electricity types:
|Fixed Term Plans - This plan will lock the price you pay per kWh for the duration of the contract, no matter how much the wholesale electricity price varies. These plans are most often the cheaper option, but usually carry cancellation fees, if you decide to exit the contract early.|
|Variable Rate Plans - There is no locked in rate and the price you pay for a unit of electricity might be cheaper one month and more expensive the next month. The plus side is that there is no commitment to stick to it for a fixed period and you can switch anytime.|
|Prepaid plans - This plan lets you pre-purchase power for your home at a set price, like a prepaid cell phone. This isn’t for the forgetful ones - if you don’t remember to top up your plan, you might find yourself without electricity half-way through a hot shower.|
The Renewable Energy Component
Did you think that you could be protecting the planet by simply keeping your lights on? Well, you can. Many energy companies offer partially or 100% renewable electricity plans, which are often competitively priced. When you sign up for a green electricity plan, the electricity provider will purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) up to your total monthly usage, which helps to subsidize renewable energy generation, making it more competitive.
When you compare gas and electricity suppliers, keep an eye out for plans with green energy component (expressed in percentage of your usage, the electricity provider will match with RECs).
Your Energy Usage
When you compare electric providers and their advertised electric rates, keep an eye out for what monthly energy usage are they based on. It is a standard practice for a supplier to have a different rate for a monthly usage of 500, 1000, or 2000 kilowatt-hours. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you may want to find out what is your average monthly usage with your current provider (from your electric bill) and then switch to an electricity supplier that offers the best price for that average usage.
The Additional Costs & Fees
As with any other contract in your life, the experts’ advice is clear – read the fine print to avoid paying extra. One example of an unexpected fee when switching suppliers are early termination fees with fixed-rate electricity plans. When you sign up for an annual contract, but then decide to switch energy suppliers before that contract is up, you will likely be charged a fee for canceling early.
Ready To Switch Power Providers?
Thinking that you might be ready to switch? Enter your zip code to find the best energy provider in your area and unlock some great electricity savings.
Below are answers to some of the questions you might have about switching electricity companies.
How do I switch electric companies?
If you live in an energy deregulated area in the U.S., you can compare energy prices and switch from your current provider by entering your zip code on our website. We carefully review and vet all major energy companies and bring you a detailed overview of electricity plans, customer service, and extra perks each electricity provider offers.
Should You Switch Electric Companies?
If you are currently on the standard energy tariff with your state utility company; chances are that you are paying more than you could be. Comparing electricity providers is free and can lead to finding great deals, that will not only lower your monthly electric bill but often carry additional customer benefits for you to enjoy, such as free gadgets or referral and loyalty programs.
What happens when you switch the electricity supplier?
Switching to a new electricity provider usually takes one billing cycle, so your next bill will most likely come from your new supplier. Your service will remain connected throughout the process and you will not be inconvenienced in any way. If you are experiencing a power outage, it is not related to switching providers and you should contact your utility company immidiately.