If you live in an area with deregulated energy markets, you can shop for electricity providers and rates. Learn how to save by comparing prices and choosing the right plan for your home.
The amount you pay for your electricity is based on a kilowatt-hour (kWh) price. Using appliances during off-peak hours is the best way to lower your bill.
Determine Your Needs
If you live in a deregulated energy market, your electric rates depend on several factors; you may compare electricity rates at EnergyPricing.com. The first is how much electricity your household uses. This is listed on your electricity bill in kilowatt-hours or kWh. You can work to cut your home energy costs in two ways: by reducing usage or switching to a new plan.
Electricity suppliers offer many different plans. Some, called fixed rates, lock in a low rate for the duration of your contract. Others, called variable rates, fluctuate based on the wholesale price of energy. You can find the plans available in your area by entering your ZIP code on our website.
The most competitive electricity rates are offered during the spring and fall when prices are lower due to less demand for power. You may also save on electricity rates by shopping during off-peak times, which vary by state and season. To determine off-peak times, contact your utility or ask your electricity provider.
When shopping for an electricity supplier, check for early termination fees (ETFs), the charges you pay if you switch to a new plan before your contract expires. You should be able to find information about ETFs on the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) for each plan. If you find a plan with lower rates than you currently pay, you could end up ahead by paying the ETF and switching.
Determine Your Electricity Usage
While you likely use various appliances and electronic devices in your home, it’s important to understand how much energy each consumes. This is particularly true if you’re considering switching to a new electricity supplier. Energy usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh); the more you use, the higher your bill will be. Understanding your consumption levels is the fastest way to lower your electric bill.
To find out how many kWh your appliances and devices use:
- Check their wattage.
- Add up those watts to get the total amount of monthly watt-hours they consume.
- Once you know how much power each device uses, multiply that number by the cost per kilowatt-hour from your energy rate to determine their monthly costs.
Another option is to look at past electric bills, which will give you a good idea of your average energy usage. Then, you can calculate how much your usage is costing you per kilowatt-hour using the formula:
If you can’t access past energy bills, estimating your usage with an online kWh calculator is possible. The tool will allow you to enter your home’s information and then compare your average kWh to the national average to see how much electricity you use in your home. From there, you can start to figure out which appliances and devices consume the most energy so that you can take steps to reduce your consumption.
Compare Electricity Plans
There are a lot of options when it comes to energy plans. In deregulated markets, many different electricity providers offer plans of various types to compete for your business. Choosing the right plan isn’t as simple as finding the lowest rate – there are many other factors to consider, such as pricing structure, customer satisfaction, and contract terms.
Whether you choose a fixed or variable rate plan is also important. Fixed-rate plans provide stability and protection from potential energy rate hikes, but you will have to pay an early termination fee if you end your contract before the term ends (unless you move out of the provider’s service area). Variable-rate plans are more sensitive to changes in the market but can provide cheaper rates during off-peak hours.
When researching electric plans, make sure to examine the energy facts label or terms of service for each plan. These documents will provide you with essential details about a plan, including the price per kilowatt-hour, usage tiers, and other charges. Pay attention to the price per kilowatt-hour, as well as the base charges and delivery fees.
You may also be able to save money on your electricity bills by taking advantage of your utility company’s special rates for EV chargers and solar customers. Check the website of your local utility for more information.
Make the Switch
The old centralized utilities had little incentive to lower their prices for long-term customers, but today’s competitive energy suppliers are constantly reaching out with new deals that could save you hundreds of dollars over a year. The key is to take the time to compare prices and find a deal that works for you.
The best way to do this is to use an online comparison site that’s designed specifically for your state and region. It will ask you to enter your postcode, information about your current supplier, and electricity usage, and then provide a list of providers offering you a better rate.
You should also ensure you understand how prices are calculated and what tariff your current provider is using, as they may charge different rates for different types of usage. You should look at prices in cents per kilowatt hour (c/KWh) and ask about special perks like loyalty bonuses, bill-bundling with home telephone providers, or free energy audits for your heating or cooling system.
Finally, when you’ve found a plan that works for you, contact the energy supplier directly to sign up. They will handle the transition with your utility company and provide you with a planned start date. Once the switch has been made, check your next few natural gas or electricity bills to confirm that the new supplier’s name shows up on those bills.