I am often asked how to get a “good deal” in choosing an energy supplier?
In the past, my answer typically began with an explanation of how “deregulation” or “customer choice” developed (which gets me glassy-eyed looks), which was followed by general advice such as: determine the quality of supplier; review the terms and conditions and then the pricing.
However, as we are having renewals with our customers reoccurring for the 4th, 5th and 6th time, I think what these customers have told me is more relevant….
In addition, during our 12+ years we seen many, many processes from consultants, aggregators or in request for proposals, I have consolidated these experiences into what I believe is a list of best practices;
1. Assemble a copy of all your bills (either electric or gas) including the following (this will help you eliminate or question what a marketer sends you in step 2).
a. Identify the energy cost on the bill(s).
b. Identify the delivery cost on the bill(s).
c. Add up the total energy used (either kwh for electric or Therms for natural gas) for 1-12 months, pairing each month with the energy cost (the delivery cost will not change).
2. Contact marketers and ask them for a proposal for service.
a. A list is available at: http://realgyenergyservices.com/customer-services/web-links/ under each utility.
b. Eliminate the ones who do not reply.
c. For ones who reply, ask for a comparison for at least the last 12 months of how their proposal price compared to the utility cost. Again, eliminate those who do not respond.
d. Look at how the marketer’s pricing and the utility pricing are presented.
IN MANY CASES marketers may be above a utility in some months; they should be able to explain why.
AVOID those that are above the utility for 12 months in a row.
AVOID those marketers whose comparison does not accurately show the utility cost.
3. With the marketers who responded and sent you their pricing comparison, ask for their terms and conditions (contract or Agreement). Read their agreements paying special attention to the following;
a. Pricing; is it defined, how long does it last, and what happens when it ends?
b. Quantity; if you’re buying a fixed price make sure it says how much gas you’re buying at the fixed price and what happens if you use more or less than that amount. If you’re buying a variable rate, it should state it’s for all your usage or “open” quality.
c. Renewal; when do you have to give notice to terminate, what happens if you don’t?
d. Additional Services: is storage included, what about changing plans (from variable to fixed), taxes, service fee, online access, answered customer service (vs. automated attendants), etc. Some additional service is worth the price, some are not.
While not an official step, there are good reasons to eliminate a marketer from consideration (in other words, absolutely avoid), such reasons include;
a. No trade references or BBB accreditation.
b. An initial rate (fixed or variable) that lasts only 1-6 months and renews which is followed by a different (perhaps) vaguely defined price. These are known as “teaser” rates and will inevitably cost you more than the utility.
c. Language that doesn’t make sense is not clear in its intent or clearly favors the marketer.
d. A renewal date scheduled during the winter or summer. Make sure you can terminate your agreement for natural gas or electricity in April or May. This will give you the best period to switch or renew during a “low” energy usage period when pricing is more stable and you will not be under pressure to continue the agreement.
So Ameren wants you to believe that you are paying a “low” “stable” price for your natural gas. Well, if you compare their cost to the entire United States, they may have a point.
However, if you compare to your neighbor or local supplier you are paying more. That is; if your neighbor or business is with Realgy Energy Services.
Ameren is trying to retain its regulated monopoly position in natural gas by putting out these press releases saying; “we are AVERAGE!”.
So compare what happened in Illinois when electricity was opened to customer choice: the State of Illinois has saved $37 billion with Energy Choice; that’s compared to what you would have paid by staying with the utility (like Ameren, COMED, Peoples, etc).
Specifically Realgy Energy Services customers over the last 36 months have saved over 14.7% compared to Ameren; that is over $889.00.
Let them know you want the same choice for natural gas as you have for electricity. ICC contact info: Torsten Clausen, Director firstname.lastname@example.org
So as Ameren promotes being average in the USA, you can look to be better and tell Ameren to open up their natural gas service to Customer Choice.
Read the full Ameren Media Release, “Ameren Illinois Customers will see natural gas prices lower than national average for a second year“
The State of Illinois is celebrating, not the ending of winter but the savings from energy deregulation.
Illinois consumers, including residential, commercial and industrials, saved a total of $37,000,000,000 as a result of opening electrical supply to competition.
Realgy Energy Service has been an alternative energy supplier in Ameren and COMED and our customer know the benefits of buying directly from Realgy.
I like the last line; “Competition works.” I guess if it didn’t we would all work for the Government, right comrade!
Read the whole Compete Coalition article, “With $37B in consumer Savings, Illinois Results Deemed ‘Triumph of Market-Based Public policy’”
NASA Astronaut Don Pettit has generated electricity using a Lego kit aboard the International Space Station.
He used Legos and some tinfoil he scavenged from the space station to build a functional Van der Graaf generator that produces 30,000 volts.
Check out the YouTube video Science off the Sphere:1.21 Legowatts to learn more about the Lego generator
The electricity powering your light bulb is produced in a power plant by generators. Energy cannot be created or destroyed just changed from one form to another. Newly generated electricity is then transported over the power grid to your electrical outlet.
The United States has three power grids that keep the lower 48 states powered:
- The Eastern Interconnected System east of the Rocky Mountains
- The Western Interconnected System from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains
- Texas Interconnected System
These three separate systems are interconnected and require constant oversight to ensure that all the components are linked together. Since large quantities of electricity cannot be stored effectively or efficiently, electricity must be produced as it is used, this increases the need to watch over the grid. Control centers are utilized to monitor the supply and demand to safeguard against blackouts. To avoid blackouts there must always be a perfect balance between supply and demand.
From the control centers electricity is constantly monitored as it travels from the power plants to high-voltage power lines that transport electricity throughout the three grids. The higher the voltage the more efficiently they transport electricity. In other words the higher the voltage the more electricity will get to the end point. However, there will always be losses as electricity flows through the power grid.
From the high voltage power lines the electricity is “stepped-down” to lower voltage power lines, utility poles and wires before it can be safely used in your home or office.
Do you know how much you are paying for the electricity you use?
Why not reduce your electricity rate with Realgy Energy Services. Give one of our Energy Brokers a call (877) 300-6747 or check out our website for more info www.realgyenergyservices.com
BoingBoing, Where electricity comes from
US Energy Information Administration, Energy In Brief, What is the electrical power grid, and what are some challenges it faces?
Standby or vampire power as it is most commonly referred to, wastes $10 Billion of Electricity Annually in the United States alone. The average US household has about 40 electronic devices that constantly draw small amounts of power.
- Laptop computer chargers
- answering and machines
- Computer printer
- TVs and cable boxes,
- VCRs, DVD players, DVD recorders, digital video recorders,
- phone and iPod chargers
- hubs and routers,
- video camera battery charger
- plugged-in electric toys
- night lights
Check out the Vampire Power Sucks website for tip on how to reduce vampire power.
Edit: January 2013 this website is no longer available. If you would like to learn more about Vampire Energy check out the Energy Star site:
Energy Star, Standby Power and Energy Vampires
Great post by Energy Saving Tips The Easiest Way To Save Money On Your Energy Bills.
So what is the easiest way to save money on your energy bills, switch to a supplier like Realgy Energy Services.
Check out Realgy Energy Services electric rates