You've finally had enough of high electricity bills and are ready to find a new electricity provider. Of course, you don't want to sign up with the first company you see and end up in the same situation a couple months down the road. Here are some easy steps you can take to find the right electric utility provider.
Think About Your Consumption
Before you start shopping, you will want to know how much electricity you use and when you use it. This will help you find the best deal. For example, if you are single and work 40 hours a week in an office, you probably don’t use much electricity between 9-5, but you use a lot on nights and weekends. If you find a provider that offers free nights and weekends, then you can save a ton.
Think About Your Future
How long do you plan on living in your current address? This should help you determine what type of contract and the duration of the contract you should be looking for. If you are staying in the same house, then you might want to consider a fixed-rate. If you are renting, look for variable-rate contracts.
Find The Right Provider
If you live in a deregulated area, then your options for providers might be pretty extensive. This means you can find a great deal, but only if you can find it. Companies might advertise a low kWh, but to make sure you don’t get slammed with a high bill, you should look at the contract terms and if there are tiers that might impact your final bill.
Of course, there is more to the right provider than just the kWh price. You should also look at:
The Company’s Reviews: You don’t want to sign a 3-year contract only to find out that this company has a lot of unhappy customers… and now you’re one of them. Make sure you read reviews before you agree to a contract. Look for complaints around service, outages, and things like fees or hidden charges.
Green Options: Many providers will advertise where they get their power from and the price to support sustainable options can actually be cheaper.
Gifts: A common electric promotion is to offer a cool appliance, like a smart thermostat. Having this installed in your house can help you use less energy, which will of course reduce your energy bill. This, combined with a good kWh rate, can dramatically reduce your total electricity bill.
Know Your Contract
Before you make the switch to a new electricity provider, make sure you understand your current contract. Fixed contracts usually have long contract periods and come with a termination fee.
If you have a variable-rate contract, then it is likely that you are on a month-to-month contract and will be able to swap over the next month.
Regardless of the contract, if you are within 14-days of your contract expiration, you should be able to switch providers without any penalty.
Prepare For Switching Costs
You are probably switching providers to save money, but there might be some added costs to switching. We’ve already mentioned the “Early termination fee” that many electric providers charge, but your new provider will also likely ask for a deposit. The deposit fee can range from $100 - $400 and will be applied to your final bill and is usually dependent on your credit score.