Contrary to what most people believe, your state supplier is not giving you the best deal and switching services does not mean your energy needs will become more reliable. While deregulation entials better customer service, your energy needs are still tied to the same polls and service lines of public utilities companies.

So is it still worth it to switch or research new suppliers. If you’re looking to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year than yes. Energy deregulation has given consumers unprecedented control over their energy choices and utility bills. Looking for the best rate in your area? Follow these four tips to help negotiate through a sea of contracts and find the best rate for you and your household.

Know what you’re paying currently

Before you waste hours pouring through hundreds of rates and contracts offered by utility suppliers, use your current contract as a baseline for savings. Know your kwh rate, peak demand usage, taxes, and fees for service. It’s ideal to have your last 12 electricity bills on hand to get a better understanding of what you’re yearly energy costs would be under a fixed rate.

Call your provider and ask when your contract expires. It’s important to note that switching services between any energy supplier will not result in dropped coverage, so there’s no need to stress. Ideally, you’ll want to switch your plan at least a week ahead of your contract expiration date so you don’t end up paying more for dual services. Also, research whether your supplier has a termination fee and whether it’s cheaper to wait to switch.

It’s important to have your last 12 months of electricity usage on hand to compare between variable and fixed rates. Fixed rates save you money during peak demand seasons, while variable rates may rise astronomically to match consumer demand. You’ll need to compare these against any contracts offered to avoid paying more than expected during peak demand seasons.

One last bit of advice, start planning early before you switch.

Know what to look for

Just because a company offers a low rate doesn’t mean that the plan is any cheaper. Search for these key factors before choosing a supplier:

  • Kwh rate
  • Introductory fees
  • Monthly service charges and termination fees
  • Taxes

Some suppliers offer low introductory offers and special promotions to get customers and jack up their rates after the promotion expires. Be diligent in your research and look at their profile on the Better Business Bureau for any consumer complaints. Also check for any auto-renewal features or hidden fees found in a contract. I recommend going directly on each company’s website and talking with a sales representative.

Aggregate buying

One way consumers save money is by pooling together with other households to buy their energy in aggregates. This saves money for everyone in the pool and gives consumers even greater power to negotiate projects.

Energy consultants

An energy consultant will work with any individual or business to identify cheaper contracts and negotiate contracts on your behalf. They will also identify ways to save money in your home through more efficient energy usage.