How we rank for
One of the best ways to compare deregulated energy providers is their price per kilowatt hour (kWh). Companies usually offer fixed rate where the price per kWh will not change over the length of the contract. The price typically ranges between 3 and 15 cents per kWh. Points are given when a company offers fixed rates for electricity and natural gas, and more points are awarded when a company offers the lower rates.
Companies also typically provide variable rates that are usually tied to a monthly index. Because fixed rates are preferred over variable rates, this criterion is less influential on a company’ s overall score. Additionally, indexed rates are often considered “mature variable rates”, so these kinds of rates will be included in this category. More points will be awarded to companies that offer the lowest variable or indexed rates.
15% Contract Terms
The length of a contract can help a consumer decide whether he or she wants to stick with a company for an extended period (several months, or even years), or on a short-term, month-by-month basis. This category looks at what lengths are offered by each company. Companies that offer more contract options receive more points.
15% Other Charges
Companies often charge additional fees for transmission and distribution. Fees can also include early termination fee, minimum usage fees, monthly customer charge, and late payment fees. This category should take into account what fees are included in the contract, how much, and which companies charge the least amount in comparison to others.
Some companies require a deposit to be paid upfront when a customer signs a contract. This category takes into account whether or not a company requires a deposit, and if so, how much. More points are awarded to companies that either don’t require a deposit, or require a small amount.
10% Payment Options
How many types of payment methods are accepted? Some types of payment options include check, electronic check, credit card, etc.
We look at the legal history and financial stability of each company. This metric takes into consideration any bankruptcies, class action lawsuits, government lawsuits, or government investigations a company has had in the last five years.
15% User Score
Authentic user reviews are critical to what we’re doing at BestCompany.com. Because customer service is an important reflection of a company overall, nobody can provide better insights into a company’s performance than actual customers. Consequently, every company’s overall score is influenced, at least in part, by reviews submitted by customers.
For more information on how we moderate user reviews submitted to our site, you may refer to our Review Guidelines page.