How Do I Switch Energy Suppliers?
There are a few variables that come into play when switching energy suppliers. We’ve covered them below.
You can switch electricity suppliers if you live in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, or Washington D.C.
2. Current Electricity Price
Knowing your current price will help you understand your usage which new supplier can offer you better terms and by how much.
On your electricity bill, you will find a section called “Energy Charges,” “Supply Charges,” or “Generation Charges.” This will show you your current price per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
3. Compare Prices
Comparing prices will help you get the best possible deal, so look up the different supplier prices in your area before deciding. This may also help you negotiate a better deal with your chosen supplier.
FirstEnergy Advisors™ has a list of competitive energy prices from the most reputable suppliers for you to choose from. Click here to find the latest prices.
4. Choose the right plan
When you find a price you like, click through to the supplier website and sign up or speak to someone on the phone.
5. All Set!
Sit back and relax while your new supplier organizes the switch with your utility company. During this period you shouldn’t experience any power interruptions at your home.
What Is the Difference Between a Fixed and Variable Energy Plan?
1. Fixed-Price Plan
These are typically selected by residential customers as they provide budget certainty. The price for each unit of electricity or gas remains the same throughout the course of the plan, reducing the risk of supplier price hikes. Though these prices may be the lowest, many carry cancellation fees for early exits or a monthly fee to participate. You need to know before you buy.
2. Variable Price Plan
In these plans, per-unit gas and electricity prices vary at the discretion of your supplier or as a result of external market factors. These are more flexible than fixed-price plans and can be exited without incurring fees. However, they can be more expensive and volatile as the supplier can freely increase their prices.
When I Choose a New Energy Supplier, What Changes?
When you switch electricity suppliers, the following things will change:
1. Your price
The price you pay for generation will change when you select a new supplier.
2. Your customer service
Opting for a new supplier might lead to a better customer support system.
What Stays the Same When I Switch My Energy Provider?
Some things remain the same regardless of what supplier you choose:
1. Energy Service
Your gas and electricity delivery remains unaffected regardless of your supplier.
2. Energy Equipment
Service components such as wires, pipelines, meters, and transformers do not require modifications. Electricity will be delivered through the same transmission and distribution system owned and operated by your local utility.
3. Energy Delivery
Electric and natural gas charges for your delivery services will remain the same.
Your bill will still include the supplier’s generation charges and the utility’s delivery charges.
Your utility will continue to service all equipment and respond to power outages, regardless of your supplier.
Why Do Prices Vary in Different States?
Deregulation is not the only factor that leads to various prices across different cities and states. Many factors are out of consumers’ control, such as the type of energy generated by the utility. But there are certain variable factors to which you can adjust.
Let’s look at the elements of energy prices that are within your control:
1. Time of Year
Electricity prices vary depending on the season due to higher levels of demand and energy consumption.
For example, some states may face higher prices in summer due to increased use of air cooling compared to winter. The opposite applies to northern states, where winter prices may be higher due to the high demand for heating.
2. Where You Live
Energy prices vary from state to state and even among utility areas in the same state, regardless of whether the state has an energy choice. This is due primarily to local supply and demand. Some areas have more generation (more supply) and less demand, so prices are lower. You pay different prices across different utilities based on how effectively your collective area of homes uses generation and how much delivery charges vary from a generation center to your home.
What Factors Influence the Price of Electricity?
Electricity prices tend to be higher for residential and commercial consumers as it costs more to distribute electricity to them than to industrial entities. Large industrial or commercial businesses often receive wholesale prices as the high voltage and high quantity of electricity they use is more efficient and cheaper to deliver.
Though energy prices vary due to the reasons mentioned above, a significant factor influencing the price of electricity is its cost to produce. Prices generally reflect the cost to build, finance, maintain, and operate power plants and the grid.
Let’s look at some factors that contribute to the cost of electricity so you can understand how your electricity cost is determined:
Fuel prices may increase during periods of high electricity demand due to constraints or disruptions because of extreme weather events and accidental damage to transportation and delivery infrastructure. Restrictions on the natural resources needed to create electricity or supply natural gas can influence prices.
Power plants and electricity transmission and distribution systems incur financing, construction, maintenance, and operating costs. These include tracking the status of each component in the plant, repairing damage to the system from accidents or extreme weather events, personnel training, improving cybersecurity, and much more.
If these costs are high, it can lead to an increase in electricity prices.
3. Weather Conditions
Weather conditions can induce lower or higher pricing. In areas where there is hydropower, solar, wind or natural gas production, extreme weather conditions can lead to higher or lower energy supply. Additionally, customer usage during normal or extreme weather conditions affects the demand for electricity (extreme temperatures as the seasons change) and leads to cost fluctuations. Moderate weather often leads to lower costs of production and beneficial pricing for customers.
In some states, electricity prices are regulated by the public service utility commissions. Meanwhile, other states have combinations of unregulated and regulated prices. These regulations can affect the cost of electricity and the price that residential and business entities pay for it.
How is Electricity Distributed to My Home?
One very important thing to know when considering changing energy suppliers is how electricity is delivered to your home.
Electricity is generated in power plants and delivered through transmission and distribution power lines.
High-voltage transmission lines hang between tall metal towers or wood structures. They are more efficient and thus cheaper for transmitting electricity over long distances. In contrast, lower voltage energy is safer to use in homes.
The different stages of the electricity’s journey from power plants to consumers require adjustments in voltages along long-distance transmission lines. These adjustments are made by transformers at substations that increase (step-up) or decrease (step-down) the voltage.