Spark Energy was founded in Houston, Texas in 1999. They are a publicly traded company using the ticket SPKE for NASDAQ, and they claim to have three main specialties: energy savings expertise, customer service, and community support.
- Electricity Variable Rates
- Offer Month-to-Month
Electricity Variable Rates
Spark Energy offers a decent variable rate for their electricity. They charge 9¢/kWh which is a little better than average. A couple companies can get their prices right around 6.9¢/kWh, but we think that if you can get close to that then it might be worth trying it out if you're specifically interested in electricity.
Most all companies have miscellaneous charges such as cancellation fees, monthly usage charges, minimum usage fees and late payment fees. Even though these are a pain to deal with, it's almost impossible to not run into it with any company. The good thing with Spark Energy is that all of their fees and charges are reasonable. They aren't excessively expensive, and is fair in comparison to many other companies in the dereulgated energy industry.
Spark Energy charges $100 for a cancellation fee, which other companies will charge more than $200 for sometimes. The minimum usage fee is only $4.95 which other companies will easily double. They don't charge a monthly service fee, which is clearly the best option. The only downfall to Spark is that they do not disclose whether or not they charge a late payment fee. Most companies do have a policy in place for late payments, so it's not likely that they don't charge anything at all. Other than the late payment fee, we believe that Spark Energy has fair charges.
It is hard to find companies that offer a month-to-month plan with deregulated energy. Most companies will suck you into at least a 12-month contract. With Spark Energy you actually have the choice to pay monthly or by a 6-month, 12-month or even 24-month contract. If you commit to a longer contract your prices will decrease, but having the monthly option gives customers the opportunity to try the company out first. If they do like the service, then they could easily opt into a longer contract so they can take advantage of those discounted prices.
- Unknown Deposit Amount
- Few Payment Options
Aside from their electricity variable rates, Spark Energy does not have the most competitive prices. They probably charge some of the highest fixed rates for both electricity and natural gas and then they do not disclose their natural gas variable rates which is not good. Electricity fixed starts at 36.5¢ and natural gas fixed rates are 66.7¢. If you are interested in going the fixed rate route, Spark Energy does not have the best prices.
Unknown Deposit Amount
It is never good if a company is not willing to share certain types of information. Spark Energy does not disclose their deposit amount. The likelihood of them not charging a deposit amount isn't high, so most customers might assume that the deposit amount is high. Deposit fees can be found to be up to $350 sometimes. Not having this information can easily deter potential customers, and we recommend that companies remain as transparent as possible so customers are clear in what they are signing up for.
Few Payment Options
To our knowledge, Spark Energy only allows check forms of payment. They do not list on their website if they accept credit or debit cards, electronic checks or bank account payments. This can be a big problem to many customers as physical checks is slowly becoming an outdated form of payment. If Spark Energy truly only allows checks then we highly suggest that interested customers become aware of this so they do not run into this problem after signing up with the company.