7 Things to Keep in Mind as You Choose the Best Energy Provider

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electricity pylon by Lydia via flickr

Does looking at your energy bill each month just make you want to scream? Fluctuating rates and increased service costs can quickly throw a wrench into anyone’s budget. The good news is that homeowners now have more power in their hands than ever before. Aside from making home improvements to increase the energy efficiency of a home, consumers now have the ability to choose who supplies their energy… which can save them a lot of money and frustration.

The Power to Choose

Did you know that switching energy suppliers is as simple as checking the internet for a site that provides price comparisons and information on service providers in your area? Deregulations within the energy industry have made it possible for consumers to compare rates of varying energy companies in their area. Through careful evaluation of service providers, many have been able to find better service that helps them to conserve energy and keep costs to a minimum.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you exercise your power to choose:

1. You don’t have to stick with your original energy supplier. If you’ve been dealing with the same service provider for years, you may be under the impression that they’re the only ones who can service your area. This is far from the truth, don’t be afraid to do research and ask those you know in the area about who they’re using as an energy provider, you may find that personal recommendations can help you narrow down your choices.

2. Switching is not as stressful as it may seem. In fact, consumers should consider comparing service providers on an annual basis as the market is always changing.

3. Your decision can help you save money. Think about it, if you can find a service provider that is willing to charge you even 4 cents less per kilowatt-hour, you’re looking at a savings of $100 or more a month on your energy bill.

4. Know your contract terms prior to shopping around. It is important to be an informed decision maker, and you can make the best decision without first knowing all the facts. Review your current energy contract to see what rates you’re charged. You’ll also want to find out from your current service provider when the contract expires, and whether you’re being charged fixed or variable rates.

5. Know ahead of time what works best for you as it pertains to rates. Energy companies will charge you on a fixed or variable rate. They both have their pros and cons. While a fixed rate would be easier for budgeting purposes, your rate will remain the same even if the overall cost of energy goes down. On the other hand, variable rates mean that your bill will fluctuate up and down as the market does. However, it does provide you with the opportunity to get energy at lower rates when available.

6. Compare at least three service providers. Whichever website you decide to use to compare energy suppliers in your area, be sure that you compare at least three service providers. Check the company’s website, and even contact them to find out more about their offers. The idea is to get the best overall service.

7. Read your contract entirely. It is important not to get blindsided by the quoted price for energy. You’ll need to review the contract before signing so that there are no surprises later on. Look to see what fees might be assessed such as termination, late fees, and charges for restoring services should they get interrupted.

The energy market is forever changing, and with those chances come the challenges of keeping up with the bills. Whether you’re tired of getting surprise bills in the mail, want to switch to a provider that offers renewable energy options, or just want to find better rates, now is certainly the time to capitalize on your power to choose. Keep each of these tips in mind as you shop for service providers so that you can make the most informed decision possible for your budget, home, and the environment.