Shopping for the right energy plan is more than finding a great rate. You must also consider additional plan features like prepaid electricity, rewards, eco-friendly practices, and contract length.
Energy deregulation has opened the market to competitive energy suppliers, who offer a variety of rates and plans that can help consumers manage costs. Understanding energy rates is important to make the most of this opportunity.
What is Energy?
Energy is the capacity of an object or system to do work. It exists in many forms, including kinetic energy (the energy of motion), potential energy (the energy an object has due to its arrangement or position), thermal energy (the energy of microscopic constituents of matter), electrical energy (energy resulting from the movement of charged particles), chemical energy (energy that is released or absorbed in chemical reactions) and radiant energy (energy emitted as electromagnetic radiation).
The unit of measurement for energy in the International System of Units is the Joule, named after Joule. One Joule equals the work a one-newton force performs over a one-meter distance.
Scientists use energy to work, and modern civilization is possible because we have learned to change energy from one form to another and then make it do the work we want it to do. Examples of this include:
- Walking and riding bikes.
- Driving cars.
- Flying airplanes.
- Cooking food in stoves.
- Making ice in freezers.
- Powering light bulbs.
- Running computers and sending astronauts into space.
We are interested in energy procurement – sourcing your business’s gas and electricity supply through third-party energy suppliers and local distribution companies (LDCs). We can help you to create a strategy that will reduce your risk of unforeseen charges, fees, and costs and enable you to take advantage of new renewable opportunities.
How Do I Shop for Energy?
In New York and many other states, consumers have the power to shop for an electricity supplier, offering them potentially more competitive rates and service options. This is called energy deregulation.
One thing you should remember when understanding power to choose in Texas is when shopping for a new energy plan, the most important thing to consider is your electricity rate or price per kWh. This is the portion of your bill you control and the portion you choose an electricity supplier for.
Your energy costs can be broken down into two parts: the cost of delivering energy to your home and the cost of the energy itself. The delivery portion of your bill is regulated, and you don’t have any choice or control over the utility company that delivers this energy to your home. This is where the utility company charges you for services like maintenance and distribution network operations that deliver energy to your home.
The supply portion of your bill is where you have control and the opportunity to save money by switching your energy provider. When shopping for a new plan, consider how much you want to save, the length you are looking for, and whether or not you would like to buy renewable energy from wind, solar, or hydropower sources. Ask suppliers about the green energy programs they offer.
What Are My Options?
Consumers in deregulated markets have many options available to them when it comes to purchasing their electricity. These options include energy management features, efficiency offerings, and renewable “green” energy. They also often have choices in terms of contract term length.
Savvy shoppers evaluate all electricity bill components to determine what’s best for them. A fixed “all-in” product that fixes supply and non-supply components will provide budget certainty if they plan on consistent usage. If demand varies due to an efficiency project or a desire to manage it actively, a pass-through product that allows customers to pay competitive monthly market rates for their energy might be more appropriate.
Often, value-added features like prepaid electricity, a rewards program, or online tools can also make a difference to your energy budget. It’s important to avoid being misled by online forms that request personal information and need to clearly state how they will use it, as these can be used to generate leads without your knowledge or consent. Finally, be cautious of any electricity plan that promises a zero balance bill. This is likely a sign of an unlicensed or unregulated provider and could lead to higher than advertised prices.
How Do I Get Started?
Choosing the right plan for your needs is easier than you think, especially in deregulated states. You’ll want to consider various factors, such as the price per kilowatt hour, contract length, renewable “green” energy options, and additional fees.
The best way to get started is to enter your home’s historical energy usage into an online marketplace, where you can find a list of plans that match your kWh consumption. This will help you narrow down the options based on your preferences and ensure that you compare apples to apples when considering different plans.
Consider whether or not you are looking for a fixed-rate plan, as these will provide stability during high or low-demand times. Lastly, you’ll want to know your current energy rates (found on your utility bill), which will inform how much you should expect to pay for your electricity or gas.
In addition to offering a wide range of energy plans, online marketplaces often offer no-deposit and prepaid options for consumers with poor credit or who wish to avoid paying a deposit. Doing your research before signing up for service is important, as many of these energy companies may run a credit check before confirming your account.