Shopping around for the best energy rate
It used to be the case that when you moved in an area, you were stuck with a single provider for your utilities without any choice. For example, you had to choose ABC company for your electricity, because they were the only provider in the area. Not choosing them and their terms and rates means you didn’t get electricity.
Now, in most areas, you have a choice when it comes to two, sometimes all three of your major utilities (natural gas, water and electric). Each company competes for customer business, so it makes sense to shop around a bit and get the best possible rate, even if this means switching providers.
Be sure to ask if there is a fee to switch your utility service over to the new provider, as sometimes there may be a hidden fee that will mysteriously appear on your new bill.
Some energy companies now offer credits or discounts for major home energy renovations, including insulation, new furnaces, high efficiency appliances, etc. Be sure to ask! (Be aware they usually have to be installed by a qualified contractor or inspected by someone from the utility company. You may even have to show proof of ownership.)
Also inquire about the customer service hours, and contact information as well as emergency contact information. Don’t select a utility company unless they have emergency 24 hour response.
Sometimes, be aware that a company’s best rate may not be published, you may have to call and talk to a sales rep. Also, there might be cheaper retailers that offer a discounted rate. Before you sign or change, make sure you review the terms, conditions, and fees that may be associated!