Stream Energy built its business in 2005 by selling energy via word of mouth. In just over a decade, Stream Energy has become one of the largest direct selling energy companies in the world, claiming to have paid millions of dollars to customers who have successfully referred Stream's services to their friends and family. Stream Energy appears to be one of the most transparent direct energy sellers in the industry, and employs both competitive rates and flexible contract terms; however, the company also charges higher-than-average fees, and only serves a few select states. Stream Energy may be a good option for those who want to avoid getting locked into a long-term contract.
- Competitive Rates
- Flexible Contract Terms
- Multiple Payment Options
Among all deregulated energy companies, Stream Energy boasts some of the most competitive and transparent rates in the industry. The company's full disclosure of its fixed and variable rates for electricity and gas is rare for this industry:
- Electricity (fixed rate): 7.8¢/kWh-below industry average
- Electricity (variable rate): 10.2¢/kWh-about industry average
- Natural gas (fixed rate): 4.42¢/kWh-below industry average
- Natural gas (variable rate): 4.23¢/kWh-about industry average
Something else we like about Stream Energy is that its rates don't fluctuate with the seasons, meaning what you see is what you get-regardless of the time of year. Stream Energy also does not appear to charge customers a monthly customer service fee (this is at least true in many of the company's service areas); it rather seems that customers only pay for the energy they use.
Flexible Contract Terms
Stream Energy offers a number of different contract lengths that cater to the needs of individual customers. For example, for customers who are apprehensive toward long-term contracts, the company provides a month-to-month rate plan at a slightly higher rate, but with no early cancellation fee. Stream Energy also provides longer-term contracts between six and 30 months (all at reduced rates).
Multiple Payment Options
Stream Energy allows customers to pay their energy bill through multiple channels: customers can pay by mailed check, electronic check, credit or debit card, or by connecting their bank accounts directly to their customer account with Stream Energy.
- High Fees
- Deposit Not Disclosed
While Stream Energy charges rates that are either around or below industry averages, it conversely charges fees that are well above what other companies charge. For example, some of its long-term plans come with an early termination fee, which ranges from $150 (in Maryland and New Jersey) to $250 (in Texas).
Additionally, the company charges a minimum usage fee of $9.95 during billing months where customers use 999 kWh or less. Other companies charge much less for minimum usage. Finally, Stream Energy charges a 5 percent late payment fee-one of the highest rates in the industry. Several deregulated energy companies will charge no more than 1.5 percent for late payments.
Some Fees Not Disclosed
While Stream Energy remains one of the most transparent deregulated energy companies in terms of its rates, the amount the company requires upfront as a deposit is undisclosed. Some companies have no deposit requirements, while others can charge over $300 for an initial deposit. Customers interested in buying electricity or natural gas through Stream Energy will need to inquire directly as to whether the company requires a deposit.