Electric Choice in Connecticut
Connecticut began restructuring its electric market in the mid-90s, with electric choice becoming available for commercial and industrial businesses in 1998 and residents and small businesses in 2000. Since then, numerous retail electricity providers have entered the market, offering lower electric rates than default utilities.
Prior to deregulation, Connecticut’s utilities – Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and the United Illuminating Company (UI) – engaged in the purchase, transmission, distribution, and sale of electric supply and related services to residential, commercial and industrial customers in their respective areas of the state. Deregulation limited the scope of business that each utility was able to participate in, and required the utilities to mainly do business in the distribution and transmission of electricity – and not the sale of electric supply.
Customers that don’t participate in electric choice will still receive their electric supply from their default utility. But since the utility is not able to profit off the sale of electricity, they have practically no reason to compete with retail electricity providers that offer lower rates. Unless one plans on making a long-distance move, everyone should be taking advantage of the cost savings that comes along with electric choice.
Choosing a Retail Electricity Provider
The first step to choosing retail electricity provider is to view your list of options. Since there are dozens of providers that serve the state, we’ve created a FREE Compare & Switch Tool that minimizes time consuming work. Simply scroll to the top of the page, type in your zip code, and view a list of the best rates and plans from reliable providers in your area.
When browsing rates and plans, consider the following:
- Is the rate lower than what you are currently paying?
- Electric rates are expressed as “cents per kWh”. You can find this rate – commonly known as the Price-to-Compare – on your electric bill.
- Is the rate variable or fixed?
- Variable rates can fluctuate daily or monthly, and are derived from the market price of electricity. Fixed rates allow customers to lock in a low rate for the contract duration. Fixed rates are recommended for typical electric customers.
- What is the length of the contract?
- Contract terms can vary from variable rate monthly terms to 3- to 36-month fixed rate terms. The recommended contract length for the average electric customer is 12- to 24-months. When deciding, consider how low the rate is in comparison to what you are currently paying as well as cancellation fees in case you decide to switch again before the contract expires.
- What other incentives does the company offer?
- Some companies offer incentives to switch such as sign-up bonuses, rewards programs, multiple bill-pay options, and more. If you are looking to use green/renewable electricity, many companies offer rates that are still below the default utility’s Price-to-Compare of non-renewable electricity.
Ten Minutes to Switch
Once you’ve selected a provider, simply call them and ask to switch. All you will need is your account information found on your most recent electric bill. There’s no need to contact UI or CL&P – the new provider will process everything for you.
Remember, your utility will continue to fix power outages, send your bill, and work with you for any customer service needs. The reliability of service will NOT change since it is the responsibility of either UI or CL&P, which are regulated by Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).
POWER SAVERS CORNER
Because the best way to save money on energy costs while also saving the environment is to use LESS power.