How to Compare Connecticut’s Electricity Suppliers Like a Pro
Choosing a new electricity supplier can be like selecting the perfect bottle of Italian soda. You may have a certain brand in mind that you absolutely love, but you’re not sure which flavor to pick. The soda inside each beautifully-designed glass bottle will give you the same sugar rush to power your day and they all look eerily similar in the fridge. Even price can’t be a sure-fire determining factor—because isn’t an extra dollar worth scoring the perfect combination of tart and sweetness you crave?
The electricity in each region’s electric grid—much like the sugar content in each of those tempting bottles—is essentially the same for all customers. But the plans you have to choose from can differ as much as a lemon soda would from a classic vanilla. Comparing offers from various electricity suppliers in Connecticut will help you find the product that best fits your taste.
The Basics of Comparing Connecticut’s Electricity Suppliers
In order to start comparing electricity suppliers you’ll first need to understand a little bit about the structure of the energy industry. Two utility companies serve the Connecticut region: Eversource (formerly Connecticut Light & Power) and United Illuminating. You’re probably used to paying bills to one of these companies. A utility delivers electricity through the grid to your home and it may seem like they’re the only company involved in the process. Not so. There are scores of electricity providers that you can choose from, and it’s these providers that purchase the actual electricity. They send it along to the utility, which delivers it to homes and businesses. In a deregulated state like Connecticut, you actually have the freedom to choose which company is providing your electricity!
To find out about the electricity suppliers you can choose from, and the various plans they offer, check out the Connecticut Department of Energy’s full list of approved suppliers. Plenty of comparison sites exist to help you search for energy plans by zip code, but many search engines don’t include all companies on the market. Suppliers can pay to partner with these sites and only a select number are displayed in their search results. We suggest that you compare findings with other search engines and take all rankings with a grain of salt. In order to establish a baseline to compare against, we invite you to take a look at Liberty Power’s plans in your area. Then you’ll have a good idea of what you can expect to find elsewhere in the industry.
When you’re comparing energy suppliers, you’re often presented with an overwhelming amount of data. In order to sift through and find the plan that meets your needs, it’s important to understand which elements matter most to you. When you’re comparing companies, keep the following questions in mind:
What percentage of your electricity comes from renewable sources?
The state of Connecticut requires that each supplier provides renewable electricity at a rate of 22.5% of the company’s total electricity purchased. That means at a minimum, your home will be powered by 22.5% renewable electricity. That’s just the minimum, though, and you can do a whole lot better than that if you like. For instance, at Liberty Power we offer plans that provide up to 100% renewable energy. These plans cost a bit more, but their environmental benefits may be a priority to you and your family.
What is the company’s generation rate for this particular plan?
In a deregulated electricity market, competition dictates the price of each kWh. Generation rates (the price you pay per kWh for your energy) can vary by several cents per kWh, depending on the plan and the company you’re working with. With a range like that, you’ll want to dig deeper and see what value you get when you pay more. A ridiculously cheap rate might not be ideal if it comes with a contract with twenty pages of restrictions or a wide range of fees. Keep in mind that rate isn’t everything!
Does this company include a cancellation or enrollment fee?
It’s common for energy companies to charge a cancellation fee, especially if you’re on a fixed-rate contract. Fixed-rate plans involve the company purchasing the electricity for the term of your agreement up front, meaning they absorb the risk if electricity prices go up. You aren’t likely to get a refund on your soda after you’ve already poured out half the bottle, after all. Cancellation fees that are reasonable for residential customers (in the range of $50 tends to be normal) are to be expected, but you’ll want to watch out for exorbitant fees that could leave you reluctant to break your contract even when your plan isn’t working for you. Some companies don’t charge a cancellation fee but instead charge an enrollment fee—basically a charge for signing up with their company. This is definitely an element you’ll want to compare before signing up with any one company.
Does this company offer fixed or variable-rate contracts?
One of the most important steps in choosing an electricity supplier is deciding whether you want a fixed-rate or variable-rate electricity plan. A variable rate is usually what you receive when you sign up directly with a utility company. With these plans, your energy rate fluctuates based on market price, so one month your bill may be surprisingly inexpensive and the next month it spikes without any change in your usage. A fixed-rate plan guarantees your rate for the length of your contract, helping you to budget more effectively based on your usage alone.
Can you enroll online with this company?
If you get to choose your electricity supplier, you’ll obviously want to choose a company that is innovative and ahead of the industry. One measure of this is whether or not a company will allow you to enroll online. Online bill pay and mobile account access are other signs that an electricity company is current and invested in innovative technologies.
What length of contract term does this plan involve?
Depending on your living circumstances, you may already have a specific contract term in mind (perhaps that fits the term of a lease). However, you’ll notice that each company offers different contract lengths and they vary in price. In general, the longer the contract length, the better the rate. However, this rule of thumb may not hold true for all suppliers and plans. Check out the terms of the contract. In some contracts, cancellation fees are waived if you move. In these cases, the lower rates of a longer contract may be beneficial.
Taking the Next Steps
There are a lot of factors involved in finding the perfect electricity supplier and plan. A super-low kWh rate shouldn’t be your only consideration when you’re shopping for a new electricity supplier, just as a 50-cent saving won’t necessarily sway you from your favorite raspberry Italian soda. By checking out a few comparison sites and considering the ideas above, you’ll be prepared to make an informed decision that makes sense for your lifestyle and your budget. And once you’ve found a prospective electricity supplier, we always recommend that you contact the company directly in order to move forward with your switch. You’ll be glad you spent a little time to make the right choice. When you’re done, go ahead and have a soda. You’ve earned it.
Looking for more information on how to switch energy providers or what you can expect from a Connecticut electricity supplier? Reach out to us today. We’re happy to answer any questions and help you find a plan that’s right for you.
Photo Credit: Lacey Williams