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Questions to ask before switching electricity suppliers


So you’ve got an electricity supplier knocking at your door, calling you on the phone or sending you a digital message. They want you to switch ELECTRICITY SUPPLIERS and buy your power from them instead of the company you’re currently with. And their offer sounds pretty good.

Is it?

As you consider, keep these 10 questions in mind. If you don’t hear or see all the answers, ask before you buy.

  1. What’s the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) being offered?

Never agree to an electricity plan without knowing the rates per unit(rpu) price , the standard measure of electricity usage. Buying electricity without knowing this rate is like pumping gas without thinking at all about the price per gallon.

  1. Is that price locked in, or will it vary month to month?

Ask if the rate is fixed, or if your price will vary each month. Beware of variable rate plans, as they put you at the mercy of a multitude if factors, such as energy markets and weather forecasts, both of which can drive up prices. Aspiring recommends only going with a fixed rate plan, where you lock in your price and avoid market spikes.

  1. Is there a price increase “built-in” down the line?

Even if you get a fixed price, be sure you know how long that particular price is guaranteed for. It should be for the full length of the term! But some suppliers like to lure consumers in with a “value” deal, then jack up the price a few months down the road.

  1. Are there any other charges included in that price?

There shouldn’t be. Make sure that the price quoted for your electricity is the one and only charge you will pay. Other charges tacked on from the supplier are unnecessary.

  1. What is the term length of the agreement?

Nail down the term length of your agreement. When you do, think about when the plan will expire. For instance, you may not want to be renewing you plan during summer, when energy prices spike due to increased demand for the summer cooling season.

  1. Is there any renewable energy in your plan?

If you’re concerned about the environment, ask if there is any renewable energy in your plan, or options for adding it. You should be able to “go as green as you want” and support electricity generated by sun, wind or hydro sources. See our article and video outlining how Renewable Energy Certificates work.

  1. Are there any fees to enroll, or to cancel?

This is a big one: Do not sign up for any plan that charges enrollment or cancellation fees, or any kind of setup or sign-up charges. Simply put: These are unnecessary charges. Reputable suppliers interested in a long-term relationship will not charge them. Read more.

  1. Will I be notified when it’s time to renew?

Your electricity supplier will take care of reminding you in advance when it’s time to renew. Again – take some time to understand the price and term length they are offering, and make sure both are right for you.

  1. Is there any equipment to buy or other fees to pay to switch?

If you hear about these kinds if charges, stay away. The switchover to a new energy supplier can be seamless with the right help, for help click here. The equipment that brings electricity into your home, your meter … it’s all good to go. Your service will still come from the utility company that currently owns the transformers and lines that bring energy to your home and their normal fees are a separate line in your bill.

  1. Do I have to do anything else after agreeing to switch suppliers?

You shouldn’t. The new supplier will work with your current utility company. You won’t see any interruption or change in service. Your current utility company still owns the transformers and lines that bring electricity to you. You’ll get your bill from your current utility company; you’re just buying the juice from someone else.

Conclusion

Switching electricity suppliers is easy to do, and can be a smart investment in running your home efficiently. Just listen closely to the offers you’re hearing, understand what’s involved …  and ask a few simple questions before making your decision. For the easiest, quickest and most cost-effective options use business electricity price comparison brokers.

Regardless of the electricity supplier, the distribution utility delivers the contracted electricity to a customer’s meter and charges for that service. Services may be billed in a consolidated bill where electricity and other costs are itemized separately, or services may be billed separately by the two companies (called dual billing). Some utility customers may have the option to choose their billing preferences.

In general, retail choice is available only for utility customers served by investor-owned utilities. There are a few electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and government-operated utilities that offer retail choice. Customers may contact their distribution utility or the utility regulatory commission in their state to see if retail choice is an option.

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