Residents in deregulated areas can save money by shopping for the best energy plans. Choosing the right plan for you depends on many factors, including price and terms.
For example, an indexed plan might be suitable for stable rates. However, a variable plan could be better for you if you like to follow market trends and shop around regularly for the lowest rates.
You’re paying too much
You may have signed up for a plan that seemed like a good deal 12 months ago, but things are constantly changing in the energy business. It’s worth looking at what is available, even if it only takes five minutes over coffee. There’s no obligation to switch, and it could save you money.
Heavier energy usage is a common reason for an eye-popping electricity bill. With the pandemic forcing people to stay home, many use their computers and other devices for more extended hours each day than usual. In addition, heating systems and electric hot water services ramp up usage, increasing the price of electricity bills.
Other reasons why energy bills might increase include changing your rate plan, increased demand charges, or incorrect meter readings. Understanding your energy meter and submitting accurate readings is essential so you aren’t overcharged.
Knowing more about the difference between fixed and variable rates is also helpful. Both have benefits, but it’s essential to understand your household’s energy needs and budget before deciding to change electric company. Knowing how time-of-use plans work and managing your usage during peak times would be best.
You’re not getting the best deal
As the deregulated energy market grows, homeowners in certain states have gained a new power: the ability to compare plans and choose their electricity provider. But many consumers don’t know how to maximize their options.
Comparing prices from different suppliers is a simple way to see whether you’re getting the best deal. It may be time to switch if you’re paying more than you need to for your energy supply.
Another way to assess if you’re getting a good deal is to look at the terms and conditions of your current plan. You should find this information on your bill or by contacting your utility company. It’s also important to know any exit fees that might apply for terminating your contract before its renewal date.
When buying an energy plan, it’s essential to consider how long the contract will last. Month-to-month plans can give you flexibility and offer competitive prices, but they don’t provide price protection if market rates drop. On the other hand, longer-term plans can lock in a fixed rate for a set period and help to reduce your budget uncertainty.
If you’re not reaping the benefits of your current plan — maybe you no longer work at home and don’t need that free nights and weekends rate, or perhaps your average usage has changed — then it could be time to shop around for a better deal.
You’re not satisfied with the service
It’s no secret that not all energy suppliers are created equal. Some have great customer service, while others can give you the runaround. If you’re tired of being put on hold for a half-hour every time you call or getting into a dispute over meter readings, it may be worth shopping around for a new supplier that offers better customer service.
You’re also likely to find many providers offer enticing incentives for consumers to switch plans. These can include guaranteed satisfaction, a trial period, or loyalty rewards. For those looking to save money, it might make sense to look for a provider that offers a monthly contract, typically six months. Alternatively, those who do not want to shop for plans as often might prefer a three- or 12-month contract. Longer-term plans, which last 18 months or more, can provide the most price stability and protection against seasonal price fluctuations.
You’re not happy with the contract
You can switch your energy supplier if you are unhappy with your contract. Many suppliers offer incentives like one month free or a lower initial rate. However, it is essential to read the fine print as some suppliers may increase prices once the introductory period ends. If this happens, you can complain if the new price is unaffordable for your household. It is also essential to understand that some suppliers include debt repayment rates on your bill in addition to the cost of electricity, and these must take into account your ability to pay.
If you have recently changed your lifestyle, such as becoming a stay-at-home parent or changing your work hours, this can change how much you use electricity. If you are using less energy than you used to, it might be time to look for a new plan. Some energy providers have plans that offer free or discounted weekend and night electricity.
If you are a homeowner, check whether your homeowners’ association restricts which energy suppliers you can choose. If so, you might have to pay a termination fee if you switch before your contract ends. However, this might be worth it if you are happy with the new provider and could save money in the long run.