Most businesses switch electricity providers based largely on lower electricity rates. But PPL EnergyPlus senior vice president Gene Alessandrini tells SmartBusiness Philadelphia that businesses should not be making that decision on simple cost alone.

For most people switching electricity providers is a relatively easy process, with little changing other than a line on their electricity bills. But business electricity contracts can be a bit more complicated, largely because businesses stand to gain or lose a good deal more from power outages and high electricity rates.

"An electricity supplier should be more than a commodity supplier," Alessandrini told the news source. "Your business runs on electricity, and it can’t run without it, so you should expect a trusted voice with an established reputation to partner with you to meet your needs."

The growing number of retail electricity providers in many places has created a diverse array of electricity rate plans that can help companies save money and achieve a number of other goals, from adopting renewable electricity to improving energy efficiency.

But even just worrying about electricity bills, looking for the lowest electricity rate is not always the best way to accomplish this. Some companies offer variable rates, some offer fixed rates for a certain period only. Others can provide substantial savings by offering real-time electricity prices, which can help businesses that use most of their energy when local demand is low.