If you don’t, or didn’t know that you can shop around, this blog’s for you.
Thanks to energy deregulation beginning in the 1990s, electricity and natural gas became unbundled in many states. That means that the supply portion of your energy bill can be provided by a licensed third-party marketer, such as ConEdison Solutions. Before deregulation, natural gas and electricity were both supplied and delivered to your home by the utility, which had a monopoly on the process. After deregulation, you can shop for an energy supplier while the utility still delivers your electricity or natural gas. So, no matter whom you choose, your local utility will continue to deliver your energy, read your meter, handle any emergencies, and send your bill each month. Deregulation has created competition, which means companies are vying for your business as a customer. You may benefit from a lower price if you do a little shopping. Click here to find out if you live in a deregulated electricity territory. Click here for natural gas. Since retail energy suppliers want to stay in business, they must offer competitive prices plus great service and innovative solutions. In fact, third-party suppliers can often offer pricing packages that utilities can’t. This gives you the ability to pick the plan that best fits your needs.
Looking for a stable price that won’t change for the duration of your term? Pick a fixed price. Looking for a price that changes with the market price of energy, dropping when supply is abundant? Choose a variable price. Perhaps you prefer to “go green”. Energy created by wind, solar, and other renewable sources is also an option.
And, no, your utility won’t care if you switch. Because of deregulation, state commissions prohibit utilities from profiting from supplying energy to you. Where they can make a profit is on the distribution, or delivery, portion of your bill. Take a look at your latest utility bill. You’ll see the line for your electricity and/or natural gas supplier, which is still your utility if you haven’t chosen an alternative supplier, and a line item for your distribution, which is always your utility. You’ll also see several “pass-through” line items that your utility charges you, varying by amount and where you live. Certain of these charges may not be charged to you with a retail energy provider, depending on state laws.
Once you’ve shopped around, it’s easy to switch. There are no service interruptions. In most areas, you’ll still get one bill from your utility, but the supplier name will be changed to the company you have chosen. You can make your choice online or call your new electricity supplier to begin the process.
The power of choice is that easy.