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Do you live in a deregulated energy state? Do you know if you are getting the best electricity rate? Do you know how to compare energy providers? If you don't know the answers to these questions, don't worry, many people don't. However, by educating yourself you might be able to save a good chunk of change every year on your electricity bill. Here is a brief overview to get started:
Energy deregulation can be very confusing if you look at all the history and legislation passed. To simplify it a bit, think of it this way: you have a choice when choosing an internet provider, right? You have a choice when choosing a cable provider, right? Energy deregulation gives you a choice in an electricity provider. It creates a marketplace for new low-cost providers to enter and increase price competition. It started with the Energy Policy Act of 1992 that gave states the choice on whether they want to deregulate their energy. Not every state has participated in deregulation but, as of today, Illinois, Michigan,Ohio, Maine, Nevada, California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware,Maryland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C have an open energy marketplace.
What to Look for on Your Electric Bill
If you are like most people, you open up the electricity bill every month and go straight to the "Amount Due". And, like most people, you are dumbfounded as to how it can be so much every month. Once you are able to understand your electric bill, you will be able to compare and make a better decision on a provider. Here are some things to look for:
- Account Number You will need this number in order to switch to a new provider. Typically located at the top of the bill.
- Meter Readings You should have two meter readings in kilowatt hours (kWh). One from this month and one from the previous month. These will tell your exactly how much electricity you are using.
- Electric Supply Charge THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOP AROUND TO COMPARE. Make note of your current rate (cents/kWh) as this can differ between providers.
- Electric Distribution Charge This is what is charge by the utility and cannot be shopped around for.
How to Compare Electricity Providers
So, now that you understand your electricity bill a little more we can take that information and start comparing providers. Make sure you have your account number and current Electric Supply Charge rate (cents/kWh) written down to compare. Go to Electricityrates.com homepage and type in your ZIP Code in the search and compare tool. After clicking "Search" you will be brought to a marketplace with all the providers, rates and terms available for your ZIP Code. Compare your current cents/kWh rate to the other providers listed to see if you can save money. Make note of the contract length and plan details for any extra incentives or early termination fees. If you find a plan that you like, simply click "Select This Plan" and fill out a little information and enter your current account number and that's it! After you switch, your new service will activate after one to two billing cycles. There will be no service interruptions or change in reliability.
Switching electricity providers is really that easy! Lowering your cents/kWh by a couple cents may not seem like a big difference but it can add up to a lot over a year. Lets be honest, who couldn't benefit by keeping a couple extra bucks in your pocket every month?