If you're a property owner, you already realize how important it is to be aware of your daily power usage. Until recently, homeowners and business owners had only one source for their natural gas and electricity needs: their local utility company. However, more and more states are deregulating their energy market and expanding to the free market, essentially allowing third-party energy providers to compete for your business.
By switching to a deregulated market, you benefit from lower energy rates due to increased competition; however, before you consider getting involved with the deregulated energy market, there are five things you should know.
Deregulated energy may not be an available option to you
Depending on where you are located, there may not be deregulated energy options available to you, as deregulated markets are only available at the state level. Even in states that do have deregulated markets, a large percentage of the population still uses regulated energy resources. Verify that your state and city have deregulated energy options before conducting research on the various deregulated energy companies and services. To make the research easier, we have provided a list of the top ranked deregulated energy companies in each state (where available).
Know your rights as an energy consumer
Before you invest in a deregulated energy provider, you need to know your rights as an energy consumer.
According to electricchoice.com, consumers have the right to choose to purchase their energy from Retail Electricity Providers (REP). Due to the competitive market, these providers focus on winning over average consumers through various incentives, such as loyalty programs, promotions, and competitive rates.
Consumers also have the right to get their energy services from “their state-appointed utility.”
Along with choosing a provider, consumers get to choose what plan suits them best. Deregulated energy companies allow consumers more freedom to choose than a regulated market.
Find out what you need first before making a decision
Assess your energy needs before choosing a deregulated energy company. For instance, you might have a specific budget for your power usage, you may live in an area that has limited power options, or maybe you require a certain amount of power to run your home or business. Many REPs offer a variety of contract options. These plans may include anything from variable rate plans to long-term options. In order to decide, you must determine what you want from an energy service provider. For instance, you may only want the provider’s services for a certain amount of time for a specific price.
Know how the deregulated energy market compares with what you have now
Deregulated energy is not a new concept. In fact, it started in multiple states during the 1990s. Many people still remain with a utility provider, however, and it may be costing them. To avoid being overcharged, make sure to know exactly how much you are paying for energy services through your utility provider and then take advantage of online tools like bestcompany.com to research deregulated energy competitors and compare your current rate with theirs.
Consider more than just price
Although pricing is important, consider other aspects when looking at deregulated energy services. According to yourenergyblog.com, you should look out for supplier reliability, load management, and any additional charges that come with your plan. If you work with a consultant, he or she may be able to do most of the research for you.
Deregulated energy may be the right fit for you if it is an available option. However, keep in mind that there is more research and time to be spent when choosing a deregulated energy company as well as a deregulated energy plan.
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