What is Energy Choice?
Before competition was introduced, homes and businesses purchased their energy supply with the local utility company.
In 1977, lawmakers in 17 states began changing regulations to allow energy suppliers to offer natural gas and electricity, usually at lower rates than those of the local utility company. For the first time consumers had the freedom to choose their own energy supply and energy supplier.
The change means that consumers can act as their own energy experts, looking for the best pricing and potentially lowering energy costs as a result. Energy Choice allows you to pursue pricing options and plans that may be lower and more strategic than what your utility currently offers. You may also experience improved customer service when you choose a new energy supplier.
Choosing a new supplier is easy. Here's what you can expect from suppliers when choosing a new electricity or natural gas source:
- No interruption in your service.
- No enrollment or sign up fees from Constellation.
- No change to your billing process.
- Simple sign up process.
The utility will ensure that your energy supply is safely delivered to your home, track your energy usage, maintain the infrastructure (pipes and wires) and, in most cases, send you your bill (only now, there's a line item that also includes either your electricity or natural gas supplier). The utility will continue to service all equipment, such as meters, wires and pipelines, and will respond to any power outages.
Additionally, each state has its own utility commission that regulates utilities. These commissions provide essential services to the public including energy, telecommunications, water, and transportation.
Of course, you are not required to switch to a new energy supplier. The point of Energy Choice is to know other options exist.
If you think you may want to make a supplier or energy source switch, here are a few suggestions to help you get going:
- Look at what you’ve been spending. Before reviewing other suppliers' prices, pull out a recent statement from your local utility or current competitive supplier. Review your bill to see how much you have been paying for electric and natural gas supply.
- Do a little bit of research. Is the competitive supplier you are considering well established? Is the supplier licensed to serve your state? If the supplier is licensed to serve your state, the license number should be easy to find at your state utility commission. Google the company's name to see if any service issues crop up. Ask your friends on Facebook or other social media if they use a particular supplier and how they like the service. Follow the company on social media and look at historical trends to see if there are any consistent complaints.
- Learn what your savings could be. Carefully review pricing and plans as well as the terms and conditions of the plan you are considering.
- Find out if the price includes a state sales tax or any other taxes, charges or fees. If the supplier is presenting the information to you clearly, this information should be readily available.
- Ask the right questions. Choosing a new energy supplier might be new to you. In order to make your choice easier we have compiled a list of questions that you may have along with our responses in our FAQs section.
When you are ready to sign up with a new energy supplier, state regulations may vary but other than signing up for a new plan you shouldn’t have to do anything else. The company’s Terms & Conditions or Terms of Service Agreement will serve as your new service contract.