Although many people have never thought of switching their residential energy company, sometimes it is important to consider whether or not the service being provided is still satisfactory to you. Some residential energy providers charge unnecessarily high rates, which can be negatively impacting your finances. Another Three Questions To Ask About Energy Providers caveat that energy companies can be guilty of is that they might make it excessively difficult to either start up service or cancel. If you haven’t paid any mind to your power provider lately, ask yourself the following three questions to do a quick service assessment:
1) Does this provider make sign-up/cancellation difficult?
If you haven’t switched energy providers lately (or haven’t looked into it), you may not even be aware of this pitfall. Many energy companies actually charge money for you to start your service (referred to as a “start-up fee”), while even more businesses try to make it as inconvenient as possible for you to cancel by making you jump through financial hoops. The first sign of a lemon, when it comes to energy companies, is shelling out money for the initial connection. Often, this same company will force you to sign a complicated contract. The contract typically states that you will stay with the company for a pre-determined amount of time, which can be anywhere from a year or two or sometimes even longer. Sometimes, this just isn’t feasible for residents. Especially if you prefer renting or have a job that takes you all over the world on a regular basis, being forced to sign a contract of this kind can be detrimental. If you do have to cancel early due to unforeseen circumstances, the company will charge you a hefty cancellation fee. You don’t need to deal with these sorts of contracts and fees when you choose a good energy provider.
2) Am I spending an alarming amount on energy monthly?
Look to your monthly power bill for another sign of whether or not your energy company is up to snuff. Do you consistently pay extremely high rates? If so, it’s time to switch. While variable rate companies can be higher during peak demand seasons and hours of the day, you can save more when rates decrease during times of low demand. Often, the cost average is low over the course of many months.
3) Do I receive any rewards for using this energy provider?
Do you know how credit card companies and banks will give you rewards for using their service? There are actually energy providers that do the same thing, just for choosing their company for your utilities. You can choose from frequent flier miles, train/hotel savings, college fund savings, retail gift certificates and even cash back. If your energy provider isn’t providing these benefits, send them packing.