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The ability to compare electricity rates is certainly becoming more commonplace as energy deregulation policies continue to spread across the United States. As of 2017, 18 states now have a deregulated electricity market. Unfortunately, not everyone takes advantage of this opportunity, particularly if they do not know the correct way to compare electricity plans. By educating yourself on how to compare electricity rates to your current rate, you can potential save yourself hundreds of dollars per year.

The Electricity Provider Marketplace

As states deregulate their electricity markets, different alternative electricity providers compete against one another to win the interest of potential customers which can be homeowners or business owners. Typically the electricity providers attract the interest of potential customers by offering a lower electricity supply rate than their current utility. As electricity deregulation grows, more and more providers are entering the marketplace making rates very competitive. Electricityrates.com was created to give energy consumers an easy way to search their location for the best electricity rates and switch providers with just a few clicks.

Customers must always remember that the rate is not the only item to focus on when choosing an alternative electricity provider. When comparing the different contracts, make sure to pay attention to the following:

 Elements of an Electricity Contract

  • Length of plan- A contract might last for six months, a year, two years, or more. Some electricity providers also offer a month-to-month option that customers can cancel without a fee. When deciding how long you want to sign up for, make sure to think about the contract as a whole. Electricity rates change frequently so you will have to decide if you want the stability of a long term contract or the ability to change providers (without penalty) when prices drop.
  • Change in electricity rate- When comparing electricity prices, contracts can be fixed, variable, or somewhere in between. A fixed contract charges you the same rate for electricity across its whole duration. If the rate is variable, that means it changes from month to month along with the market. Again, fixed rates give you more stability but variable rates could potential save you more, or cost you, depending on the market.
  • Signup bonuses- Some electricity providers offer extra incentives when signing a new agreement. Consider how this bonus figures in relative to the rest of the contract. The upfront bonus may be enticing but make sure the rest of the contract details like rates, contract length, contract type and energy source is in line with what you are looking for.
  • Energy source- How energy is produced is very important to many people. Some plans, without too much additional expense, allow you to get your energy partly or exclusively from a renewable source. These are environmentally sustainable plans that will reduce harmful emissions and help protect our planet. Make sure you check the details of the plan to know exactly how the energy is produced.
  • Fees- Make sure to be aware of any fees within a contract. Some electricity providers may be completely free of fees while others may charge a signup fee or a cancellation fee. These are important to factor in especially if you are planning on signing a long-term contract as canceling early may cost you.

All these features go into your agreement with the electricity provider. Consider how they work together when you choose a new provider and plan. It’s important to remember that there is no universal “right contract” for everyone. It really depends on your specific wants and needs.

How to Compare Electricity Rates

Now with the knowledge of what to look for, it is time to compare your current electricity rate with the market for your location. It’s important to compare all the elements of the potential contract to your current contract in order to ensure it makes sense to switch. Rate, contract length, contract type, fees and promotions should all be considered before switching. Electricityrates.com has created a free compare and switch tool which can be found on the right side of this page.  To start, simply type in your zip code and click the search button. You will then see all of the different providers and plans to choose from. If you find a plan that is right for you just fill out a view pieces of information and your can switch in no time. Your new plan will take effect in one to two billing cycles and you won’t have any service interuptions or reliability issues.