Some things in life are simple—deciding which flavor of the Neapolitan ice cream carton you want to dip into, picking a seat on the bus, choosing a nail polish color at the salon. A little harder are the burdens of adulthood: choosing a home, finding a good job, settling down with “the one.” And then there’s selecting your energy provider. It’s amazing how hard that seemingly simple task can be.
Choosing the best third-party energy supplier can seem like a herculean effort. You could spend months researching different companies, getting lost in the downward spiral of online reviews, struggling to decide which office to call for a quote. However, focusing on the following four elements will help you quickly determine which companies will truly serve you best.
1. Flexible and Transparent Pricing Structure
When you’re looking for a third-party energy supplier, price is usually a major concern—especially if you’re switching due to rate increases. But the kWh rate you receive is often only one part of the total amount you pay each month. Some companies include hidden fees that can jack up the price. It’s all too easy to switch from one elevated rate to another, or end up with a teaser rate that magically rises later on without you noticing. That’s why pricing practices in general are as important as the actual kWh rate.
When evaluating the pricing structure of a third-party energy supplier, you should keep an eye out for the following:
- They offer multiple contract lengths. This gives you the flexibility to change your services when necessary. A longer contract (18 months) will usually be more profitable for you than a month-to-month arrangement because of the fluctuating price of electricity, but it’s nice to have both options.
- Fixed-rate plans are available. Variable rate plans are entirely dependent on the volatile energy market. That’s one major reason for switching to a third-party energy supplier in the first place! With a fixed-rate plan, you don’t have to worry about your rate spiking. Your budget will thank you.
- There are no hidden fees. No fine print, no teaser rates, and reasonable cancellation fees are a must when you’re entering a new contract. Don’t be fooled into a gradually increasing rate. A good third-party energy supplier will maintain integrity and transparency with their pricing structure and provide each customer with a straightforward bill.
2. Excellent Customer Service
In the realm of things you’d rather not do, fighting with a utility company is probably toward the top of the list. We’ve all tried and failed to make our way through phone menus, leaving increasingly-irritable voicemails for every employee on the sales floor. Good customer service is an absolute must when you’re choosing the best energy supplier for your household.
While it can be difficult to determine a company’s customer service practices before you’re an actual customer, you can ask the right questions and get close to the truth. Who should you call if you run into a billing problem? What do customers love about working with this company? How quickly does this company respond to a request for a quote, and how quickly does the process move forward from there? How many customers renew at the end of their contracts? How easy is it to switch to this provider, and what will they do to help make the process smoother? Make sure you dig deep with the company representative before you sign a contract—the best companies will happily provide the information you seek.
3. Innovative Mindset
The energy industry is changing quickly and you’ll want to partner with a company that’s leading the pack as far as innovation is concerned. Many legacy electric companies carry a big name but don’t devote nearly enough of their resources to creating new solutions and furthering research. You want to choose a supplier that’s looking forward into the future of the energy industry, especially if you hope to remain a customer for a long time. This includes expanding consumer choice and offering renewable energy plans that let customers directly promote the development of clean, green energy to protect our planet for generations to come.
4. Company Values Backed By Action
This point is a simple but powerful reflection on a company’s soul. Especially when you’re switching from a provider with business practices you don’t admire, you’ll definitely want to find a company whose values align with your own. Simply perusing the company mission statement can give you a brief overview of what they value most, but actions always speak louder than words. A third-party energy supplier that gives back and serves their community is likely to be a good fit for you.
Depending on what you value most, you might prefer to partner with a company that delivers energy to underserved populations. As the leading Hispanic-owned energy provider in the US, for example, Liberty Power celebrates diversity throughout our company and in the larger community through our work with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). We also collaborate with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation to offer the Bright Horizons Scholarship, which provides opportunities for college students pursuing STEM education and nurtures the next generation of innovators. Look into how your supplier of choice gives back in order to determine if they’re worth your patronage.
The Best Third-Party Energy Suppliers Value What Matters Most
A company that offers flexible and transparent pricing structures, provides excellent customer service, promotes innovation, and lives their values is likely to be a company that’s worth your time. Good energy suppliers are built entirely around the needs of the customer and tend to offer options that make better sense for residential customers. Because the third-party energy field is relatively new, years of service, company size, and number of customers tend to matter a lot less in the grand scheme of things. Instead, these four elements will help you sort through the masses and find a third-party energy supplier that’s a perfect fit for you.
At Liberty Power, we’re dedicated to helping you find the electricity provider that’s right for you. If you’re curious about how we can work together to power your home with smart, connected, and sustainable energy solutions, reach out to us today.