Choices; are a nice thing to have. A choice in what car we drive. A choice in where we live. A choice in who our doctors are. A choice in where we buy our groceries from, who we pay our phone bill to, where we get our energy from…WAIT?! Did I just say where we get our energy from?! Yes I did and it means that YOU now have a choice in who you pay your monthly electric and gas bill!
With the recent passing of a government mandated bill the country is rapidly opening up its energy markets to competition: this means a choice of new energy companies consumers can now choose to give their business to.
Many of these companies are looking to expand their markets through the fast sweeping phenomenon that is the deregulation of an industry. The last time this happened was the deregulation of telecom back in the early 90’s and it meant HUGE savings for consumers.
The same thing is happening again, only this time with our energy. If history repeats itself this means much lower prices for consumers as companies aggressively compete with each other.
Right now over 30 states are currently deregulated: some gas, some electric and even more are both electric AND gas deregulated. This number is rapidly increasing every year and sooner than later everybody in every state will have a choice in where to get their energy from.
Different companies all have different rates and they are aggressively priced to remain competitive. You often have the option to choose your rate plan, similarly to how you can choose your cell phone service. For example, do you want to pay month-to-month or does a fixed rate contract suit your needs better?
Some companies offer great incentives if you choose to opt for a longer term fixed rate. These are the common two rate plan types you will encounter when checking out alternative energy companies:
Variable: This rate changes from month-to-month, based on how the market is. The pros to this kind of rate plan is that you are not locked into a contract and there is no termination fee if you should choose to switch back to your default provider. The con is that you never know where the market is going to be and you could wind up paying more (or less) next month.
Fixed: This is a fixed rate that locks you in for the duration of a contract period. Usually there is a termination fee associated with a fixed rate if you choose to cancel however you are ensured peace of mind that you pay a consistent rate every month.
Keep in mind that your utility provider will never change. For example, if you have PSE&G for your electric this will remain the same. They provide the power lines to your house and thus will always remain your utility company.
You simply have the choice on what company supplies your energy. You can find who your current supplier is by looking at your utility bill and checking under the “supply” line.
It is to the consumers’ advantage that they at least shop around between different alternative energy companies and compare them to what they are paying with their current providers. Everybody will most definitely be able to save a significant amount from what their default provider is offering and in troubled times such as these, even a savings of 5% a month can be beneficial. Don’t let this powerful new option of choice slip you by!