Making a Choice
You should expect to evaluate a few different components of the electricity plans you see offered:
1. Rate. The price for electricity is usually expressed in cents per kilowatt hour. At this scale, the difference between ten and eleven cents can add up to a very noticeable savings on your monthly power bill.
2. Variability. In addition to rate, you will also have to make a decision about variable vs. fixed electricity plans. A fixed-rate plan will stay the same price it is now until your contract comes up for renewal (at which point there may be a large change). If the rate is variable, it will change monthly along with the market. Some providers offer a compromise between risk and stability with plans that lie somewhere in between these two options.
3. Bonuses. An independent factor affecting the price of your electricity is the signup bonus. Many companies looking for new customers will offer you an immediate bonus on your energy bill for signing up with them. Be sure to take into account the length of the commitment when assessing the value of these bonuses.
4. Source. You might also decide that you want your electricity to come from a renewable source, such as solar panels or wind turbines; in this case, you may be able to find a company offering exactly this type of product. The price for all-renewable power is sometimes (but not always!) higher than the price of other types. (Read more about how to compare electricity plans.)
The Future of Your Electric Bill
Once you sign up for a new electricity provider, you join a freer market for the supply of energy. When your contract ends, you will have the opportunity to go through the same process: check CompareElectricity.com for a new list of suppliers and prices. If you see a better deal, you take it. The site is constantly adding new information about providers, so it’s worthwhile to check back if you’re still looking for the right contract.
Don’t lose hope for an alternative provider if you live in a state without deregulated energy. The success of opening up the energy market in places like Texas and Pennsylvania may entice your state to pursue a similar program. As new options become available, CompareElectricity.com will be ready and waiting to gather information and make it available to you.
To see what the retail electricity situation looks like in your area, simply enter your zip code into the box at the top of the page. You can use this site to compare electric rates or just to get information about the different providers operating in your area. You can also manually navigate to compare electricity rates in different cities and states.