Ten Questions You Should Ask A Potential Supplier
Signing up with, or switching, energy suppliers (depending on the deregulated state) can be almost too easy to do. To make sure that everything worth consideration is known, check out these ten essential questions to ask suppliers before signing a lengthy contract.
Are all taxes and charges included in the price per kilowatt-hour as advertised?
If these are listed separately on your bill, you could end up paying more than you think you will.
If the rate is variable, is there any limit to how low or high the price can go?
Check out our information on variable rate plans to better understand how they work and what it means for you.
Is the advertised price an introductory rate? How long will it last, and what will the rate be afterwards?
Often prices on variable rate plans are at the discretion of the supplier, and can change unexpectedly.
Can the supplier show you historical prices?
This will let you get a good sense of how the price on your own plan will behave month-to-month.
Does the supplier offer a choice of energy sources, like renewable energy plans?
100% renewable plans are a great way to go green and combat climate change by voting with your dollar and incentivizing the production of renewable energy.
What happens when my contract expires?
Sometimes plans will automatically shift to month-to-month variable rates when the contract term ends.
Is there a bonus or incentive program for signing up?
Don't miss an opportunity to take advantage of an introductory offer, or to earn bill credits by referring your friends!
Will I receive one or two monthly bills?
Even though you are purchasing your energy through a private provider, it still gets delivered through the grid, which is usually owned and operated by a utility company (be it public or private). So in some instances, you may recieve just one bill from your utility, one from you energy provider, or you might even get two. See our article on utilities for more information.
Does the supplier offer an average monthly billing plan?
This type of billing plan estimates your yearly consumption, and divides it into twelve equal bills every month. This can be attractive because you won't have to ride the bill roller coaster, but you may have to pay additional expenses at the end if your consumption exceeded the estimate.
Do I need a smart meter? And is there a charge for installing a smart meter?
See our article on smart meters for more information on how they can affect your energy use.