If you’re hunting for the cheapest gas and electricity rates for your house, the markets for these two commodities often work the same way. Homeowners have the opportunity to increase their autonomy and save money on their energy bills by choosing alternative suppliers. If you can do so for both of these commodities at once, more power to you!
The federal government legally allowed the states to deregulate their electricity markets some time ago. Not every state has taken advantage of this option. The status quo is a patchwork of overlapping options, which you can see pretty clearly on this map.
Some states, like Illinois and Maryland, have deregulated electricity and gas. Plenty have done just one or the other. Whatever the law in your area, make sure you’re taking maximum advantage of the options available to you. All it takes is a few minutes of your time to compare providers and to complete an enrollment form. Once enrolled, you’re on your way to the cheapest gas and electricity you can get! Simply enter your zip code above to find savings in your area.
The Gas Market
The natural gas market works more or less like the electricity market. In a deregulated area, providers compete for the business of new customers through lower pricing and other incentives. Natural gas prices can change more rapidly than electricity prices because the supply chain is more complicated. This might change your calculation about a fixed- versus variable-rate contract.
Even when you’re buying gas from a third party, your local utility will still deliver your gas and charge you a little money to do so. Actually, they’re still the ones billing you, too. But if you invest the small amount of time and effort in signing up with a new plan, you increase your chances of cost savings.
Doing the Shopping
Finding the cheapest gas and electricity is a simple process. You can shop for these two items together, although you might end up with plans from different companies. Comparing gas providers works the same way as comparing electricity companies. You’ll have a handful of offers from the gas and electricity providers in your area. Figure out which ones are most attractive and analyze those carefully. Narrow it down to the one that saves you the most money and otherwise best fits your needs.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the initially-advertised rate isn’t everything. If your plan has a variable rate, and many do, that rate is going to change from month to month. Consequently, more important than the rate itself is the question of how the rate is going to change, how long you’ll be obligated to the company, and what special bonuses you can get from signing a deal.