If this is the first time you’ve seen the phrase “electric choice,” you’re not alone. If you live in a state that has a competitive or restructured energy market, you may not realize that you have the opportunity to choose an alternative electricity provider other than your current utility for electric products and services. For example, while utilities generally have a monopoly within their service territory on distributing electricity to your house, you don’t actually have to also buy electricity supply from your utility if you don’t want to—just like you can choose your cable or cell phone provider, you can choose your electricity provider.
Here are five things you should know about how electric choice can help you power your home.
1. Consider Where You Live.
Find out if you live in a state that offers electric choice. Each state has its own utility commission that regulates utilities, including energy, telecommunications, water, and transportation. If your state offers electric choice, you can find out more information from the utilities commission serving your area. To find your state’s website, select your state on the map provided on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ website.
2. Look At Budget Benefits.
Electric choice can help you better manage your household budget. For those that live in a state with electric choice, selecting a new electric supplier is just like opting for a new phone, internet, or cable service. You can pursue pricing options and plans that may be lower than what your utility currently offers.
3. Size Up The Competition.
Competitive suppliers can provide electricity supply pricing that more closely reflects the current market. This is primarily because competitive suppliers can purchase power at any time, particularly when energy market conditions offer favorable prices.
4. Sit Back And Relax.
While regulations may vary, you generally shouldn’t have to worry about doing anything else once you’ve signed up for a new plan. Some factors to look forward to:
- You will continue to receive reliable service.
- Depending on the plan and the state that you live in, you may still receive one bill from your utility (and pay your bill online).
- Often, a new electric supplier will notify your utility on your behalf. Look into this, but in most cases you don’t even have to contact your utility.
- Your utility will continue to deliver electricity to your residence and will service all equipment, including your meter and wires.
- You still call your local utility company when your power goes out.
- Electrical service components such as wires and transformers remain where they are, and physical modifications are not required because electricity is delivered through the same poles and wires owned and operated by your utility.
- You are not required to switch, and have the option of remaining a customer of your current provider.
5. Comparison Shop.
Remember that comparison-shopping for electricity is just like shopping for anything else. To best maximize electricity choice, consider these factors while shopping:
- See what you’ve been spending on electricity by reviewing your most recent bill. See how much you’ve been paying for electric supply. When exploring your pricing options, make sure you’re making an apples-to-apples comparison.
- Learn what your savings could be. Your state’s public utility commission’s website should list competitive energy suppliers in your area. Go through the list and visit websites to review your options. While reviewing your options, read carefully through the contract terms and conditions.
- Review your product options. Electric choice often means that you can power your home through renewable energy and other sustainable solutions if you want to.
- Think about customer service. When you call the customer service number provided on the supplier’s site, is the person on the other side responsive or pleasant?
- If you happen to live in Texas, check out www.powertochoose.org. Even if you don’t live in that state, the Power to Choose website may be a helpful resource for you.
- Make a checklist of things to look for when choosing a new electricity supplier.
Want to know more? For more information about electric choice, visit Constellation Energy’s residential website at home.constellation.com.
Constellation Energy is a leading competitive supplier of power, natural gas and energy products and services for homes and businesses across the continental United States through subsidiaries of Constellation Energy Group, Inc., including Constellation NewEnergy, Inc. Constellation Energy pays to advertise on the LearnVest website. This post is provided for informational purposes only, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. Constellation Energy is not acting as an advisor or consultant for any purpose and does not make and expressly disclaims any express or implied guaranty, representation or warranty regarding any opinions or statements set forth herein. Please visit www.constellation.com for more information.