If you’re considering your options when it comes to energy you’re probably looking at an energy supply company and the local utility company in your area. In fact, in some areas you may not actually have a choice, or you may not have realized you have a choice when it comes to who controls your energy and your costs. So, let’s take a closer look at the different options and what each of these different things actually mean so you can make the right decision for your needs.
What is a Local Utility Company?
You already know your local company, right? You probably though they were the only option because when you bought your house or started renting your apartment the bills just started coming in for electricity or gas and you paid them. This is the service that starts pretty much automatically with your property and it provides you with the energy that you need. Because it gives you everything you need it’s something that most people never even think about, but there’s more that you definitely should know when it comes to taking control of your own services and finances.
What is an Energy Supply Company?
An energy supply company (ESCO) is an alternative to the default supply of your local utility company. It doesn’t replace your local utility of course. It supplies the energy to the utility, who then delivers it to you. They may sell electricity or gas or they may sell both. They may also have green power, energy efficiency programs, appliance maintenance and a whole lot more. All of this makes sure that you have an option when it comes to who is in charge of your energy and that actually gives you a better chance of getting great deals and prices. That’s something that you can definitely stand behind, right?
The Benefits of an Energy Supply Company
One of the biggest benefits is that you could actually end up saving money. The reason? Competition. Your local company thinks that they’ve got it in the bag and they don’t need to do anything. Energy supply companies want you to switch to them, which means they need to offer you a competitive advantage. They need to offer you something that your current company isn’t and the best thing they can do is to offer you a lower price. That way, you’re more likely to come check them out and take advantage of their services.
Even more, many areas actually have multiple energy supply companies available. That means they’re not just competing with your local utility company. They’re also competing with each other. When that happens you’re going to bring the prices down even further and you’ll keep getting even more competitive. That’s going to make things better for you. The cheaper you can get your utilities the better it is and the more other things you’re going to be able to do with that money. Isn’t that the whole point, after all? But money isn’t the only thing you should be considering.
Great service is another important factor and you’re still going to get that when you opt for an energy supply company. That’s because the way it works is they actually still use the same lines and wires that your utility company does. The difference here is that you’re getting the supply from somewhere else. So, the reliability that you expect is still going to continue and you’re still going to get great services. That’s something that a lot of people worry about when they switch away from their default option, but it’s definitely not something you need to worry about.
Another question on reliability is what if something goes wrong? Well, because you’re still connected to all the normal infrastructure from your local utility company they are actually required to provide you with electricity and/or gas if there’s ever a reason that your energy supply company can’t. That means you won’t experience an interruption in your services and you’ll still continue to get the services and the support that you’re looking for, which is definitely the most important part, right? You want to make sure that you can always get your utilities reliably.
The Downside of an Energy Supply Company
Ready for the downside? The only downside is going to be the amount of time that it takes for you to set up the services that you need and to do the research. You’ll have a little invested in trying to figure out which service is the best one and you’re going to have some time in browsing around and getting everything set up once you make a decision. But because you’re getting a lower rate and you’re getting the same reliability you don’t have to worry about anything else. So it only costs you a few minutes of extra time.
The Benefits of Staying with the Default Supply of your Local Utility Company
One of the biggest benefits is that it’s safe. People feel like they can just sit back and be comfortable with this option because it’s the one that they’ve always had. After all, so many people wouldn’t use it if there was a problem, right? It feels like it’s safer to stick with the company that’s sponsored by your local government and your community. The system doesn’t usually fail and when it does it means there’s a problem somewhere in the community, right?
Another benefit is that it’s going to be easier. After all, if you stick with the local utility company that you’ve always had you don’t have to do anything. You just let them continue to supply and deliver your energy and you continue to pay the bill that shows up at your door. You don’t have to worry about calling anyone, changing your setup or really much of anything. So, for a lot of people it’s worth it to keep things as they are just so you don’t have to go through the hassle of trying to change things out.
Now, you will get good quality and reliability when it comes to your local utility company as well. They’ve cornered the market for a long time, and that might make you think they’ve grown complacent, but really they’ve been doing a pretty good job. They haven’t done much to keep you in the way of pricing, but they know that they’ll be in a whole lot of hot water if they don’t provide you with quality service. So, you’re going to continue to get good service if you decide to keep using your local utilities, you’re just going to miss out on some of the other things.
The Downside of A Local Utility Company
If you hadn’t guessed already, the downside to your local utility company is that you’re paying them too much. A Lot of people don’t know this but they actually have you on a variable rate that fluctuates over time. It changes with the seasons and with the markets. They think you believe there are no other options, so they know that they can charge you whatever they want and you’ll stay anyway. That’s definitely not the case anymore. You have a whole lot of options and it’s easy to set up the services in order to lock in your rate and start saving money. Yes, it’s going to take a little bit of time, but the peace of mind and potential savings are definitely going to be worth it in the long run.
The Differences You Should Know
When it comes down to it, the main difference is that you’re finally going to have a choice in the matter. The service that you get from an energy supply company and a local utility company are going to be very much the same. You’ll still get quality and reliability and you’ll still pay just one bill. What you’re getting out of the deal, however, is the opportunity to negotiate. Where before your utility company cornered the market and you had no say in how much they charged you, now you’re getting more of a say.
Energy supply companies are popping up more and more and they’re definitely starting to make a difference for the people in those areas. Even if you decide not to switch they give you a little bit of bargaining and negotiating power with your local utility company. That’s definitely going to be a benefit for you, right? You want to make sure they know that you could switch. And that’s going to make them more likely to fight to keep you. It drives the prices down and it keeps the service quality up.
How it Works
There are actually a number of different things that you’ll want to take into consideration when you’re looking at different energy service providers. First, you need to make sure that the area you live in actually offers this option. While it’s starting to become more and more popular, not every part of the country does give you options and you may find that you’re stuck with your local utility no matter what you might want. Once you know that there are other options out there, however, you’re going to want to do some research to find out what’s the best option for you.
If there are multiple energy suppliers in your area you will likely have at least the local utility and a couple other energy service providers. This means you need to take a closer look at what each of them are offering and you need to be careful about how you compare them. Each of these alternative services are only going to be providing you with the electricity or gas. They aren’t actually going to be delivering it to your home or business. So, you need to make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you for the delivery and add that to the cost you’re promised for the supply.
Compare each of the different options in your area and look for one that can give you the best rates but also the best guarantees for service quality and proof of their licensing in your area. You may want to talk to other people who have switched to their service or at least take a look at reviews. All of these things are going to make it easier for you to get the service that you want and to save more money in the long run. The key is to make sure that you are looking at everything before you dive in.
You’ll need to look at the different types of services they provide as well. Some might only have natural gas or electric. Some might also offer renewable sources of energy or solar power. These are other options that you can consider when you’re still looking for the right company. They help you to know what you’re getting and will also make sure that you have options going forward. If you switch to solar power, for example, you’ll know what your options are for continuing energy provision.
Finally, make sure that you set everything up the right way. You don’t need to contact your local utility company to let them know that you’re no longer going to be purchasing your supply of energy from them, you’ll simply work with the new company to make sure that they set everything up properly. You shouldn’t have to be responsible for more than just calling and letting everyone know (and paying the bill of course). Your new supply company will take car of the rest.
If you’re looking for changes and improvements and you’re interested in saving some money you’re definitely going to want to take a closer look at switching your energy supply provider. In most areas you’re no longer tied into the local utility company, but far too many people don’t even realize. It’s definitely time for you to start taking a closer look at the options and at just how you’re going to start improving that energy bill.