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Frequently Asked Questions about Switching Electric Suppliers and Deregulation:
What is an electric supplier?
An electric supplier is the company that simply generates and transmits your electricity supply while your utility continues to deliver it.
Why should I shop for electricity?
By lowering your generation or supply rate, you can save hundred dollars a year or more depending upon your monthly or annual usage.
Are all electric suppliers approved by the state they operate in?
Yes, all suppliers have to be licensed in each state in which they provide electricity supply.
How does deregulation help utility customers?
Deregulation offers electric customers in several states the option to choose a competitive company to generate their electric supply. When switching suppliers, consumers can benefit from cost savings, excellent customer service and still receive the same reliable service from the utility for any service needs.
How long has deregulation been around?
Deregulation began in the 1990’s with multiple states passing legislation in the late 90’s that opened up the energy industry to competition by requiring that the utilities sell off their generation assets and buy electricity on the wholesale market along with new competitive suppliers. Over the last decade, competition has flourished, utility rate caps have expired and consumers are experiencing great savings on their energy bills.
Why is my utility company encouraging me to shop for a new supplier?
Utilities make their profits on the delivery of your energy but not the supply so they encourage you to take advantage of lower electric supply rates.
What will my new electric supplier do?
They will simply generate and transmit your power supply while the utility continues to deliver it, maintain your lines, billing, etc.
What are the different sections on my utility bill?
There are three components to your utility bill including supply (or generation), delivery and transmission. By switching suppliers, you will be able to affect the charges for the supply and transmission components of your bill. The Distribution component stays with the utility.
1. Supply or Generation: The cost to produce the energy you consume.
2. Transmission: The cost to move the energy supply from the place of production to the utility’s distribution system.
3. Distribution: The delivery of electricity or gas to your home or business.
Will I get two electric bills?
No, you will still receive the same bill from the utility you currently use unless otherwise noted when selecting a plan. The only changes to your bill will be the Supplier and the supply rate listed.
Do I have to pay a deposit?
What is the “Price to Compare”?
The price to compare (PTC) is the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) your utility will charge. When asked, the competitive supplier also will provide you with a PTC, allowing you to make an apples-to-apples comparison on the price for the generation and transmission portion of your electric bill.
How long will it take before my service begins with a new supplier?
It can take 1-2 billing cycles to reflect your new supplier and rate on your bill. Once you enroll, it can take a few business days for your new supplier to process and verify your account with the utility. After that, you will officially be switched following your next meter reading.
What is a variable rate?
A variable rate is a rate that may fluctuate on a monthly basis based upon current market conditions. Wholesale market conditions are the biggest reason rates could change up or down.
What is a fixed rate?
A fixed rate is a rate that you can lock into for a specific length of time, generally 6, 12 or even 24 months. Business customers can get fixed rate contracts for up to 60 months depending upon the supplier.
What do I do when the expiration comes up on a fixed rate plan?
Suppliers will generally notify you about a month or two prior to the plan expiration date to see if you want to continue at the new fixed rate they are offering. If you don’t respond, you will automatically be renewed or you can switch suppliers at that time.
Do I have to call the utility and tell them to switch my electric supplier?
No. Your new supplier will notify your utility that you have switched. If you are already with a competitive supplier other than the utility and are switching again, you can simply switch to the new supplier and the utility will notify your previous supplier that you have transferred companies. If you believe your previous supplier may have a cancellation fee, you may want to contact them prior to switching again.
What if I have a contract?
Unless you're able to get a release of your current contract, you should adhere to any previous contractual obligations you have with your current supplier.
Who do I call if my power goes out?
You still call your utility company for any service needs, outages or emergencies.
If I cancel do I have to pay a fee or penalty?
If you have previously switched suppliers and are not sure of their cancellation policy, it is a good idea to contact them to find out if there is a cancellation fee before switching to another supplier.
When I switch do they need to install a new meter?
No, you can continue to use the meter you have.
When I switch suppliers is there a disruption of power?
No. The switch from one supplier to another is seamless and there is no interruption in service.
Will I lose power if my new supplier goes out of business?
No. Your utility company will immediately resume as your default electric supplier.
How will I know that I am a customer of my new supplier?
You will see your new supplier and lower rate listed on your bill in 1-2 billing cycles.
How will I know if my enrollment is rejected for any reason?
If your enrollment is rejected due to inaccurate information, the supplier you selected or our company will make an effort to contact you and correct the information to complete the processing of your account.
Are there higher rates during peak hours?
No. Competitive suppliers have one flat rate throughout the day and night so depending upon your on-peak and off-peak usage, it may or may not make sense to switch suppliers.
Can we sign up for an electric supplier if our new address hasn't been activated yet through the utility?
No. A current utility account must be in place before you are able to switch suppliers.
Can we switch suppliers if we're on a budget plan?
Yes, you can switch suppliers in an effort to save money on your bill. Any budget plan you have in place with the utility will remain uninterrupted.
I participated in a pre-pay program with my utility. What happens to my money?
The money that you deposited in a pre-pay plan and any interest will continue to be applied to your utility account, no matter who supplies your energy.