Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect when my previous plan is finished?
At least 30 days before the agreement is finished, you will be notified that you either have to renew your current contract or purchase a new one.
If you do not renew your plan or purchase a new one, then your current supplier representative will produce a plan for you, which may or may not be the best plan suited for you or your business.
If I switch, who will I pay my bills to?
This depends on where you reside. In most areas, even when changing suppliers, the local utility is still required to provide the energy. So, a bill containing the cost of both delivery and supply will be sent to you from the utility. In some other areas, it is possible to receive two separate bills, one for delivery and another from a supplier from the energy being utilized. Again, this depends on your local utility/supplier requirements.
Will I have to purchase new equipment or a new meter?
No you will not. Although the energy is coming from a new source, the energy will be run through the same lines to your house or business as before. Think back to the days when the telephone providers deregulated – multiple providers still used the lines, but the local phone company handled maintenance and billing.
Will I lose power during the switch?
No. The energy flow should be continuous throughout the process of switching. No interruptions of service would take place in a switching process.
How long does the switching process take?
Usually, the new plan will begin within one to two billing cycles. Depending on the location, the duration of the billing cycles can vary, however, most are 30-90 days in length.
Before switching, do I have to call my previous provider to cancel the service?
No. Signing up with your newly selected program will inform your old provider or utility that you are transferring to a new energy supplier. As soon as your old provider gets your new application, they will revoke your old service.
How do I know if I am currently under a contract with my current provider?
If you are unsure if you have a contract, you can contact your current provider to find out when your contract concludes and if you have any Early Termination Fees. Your former provider will do everything possible to keep you as their customer – but, your choice of provider is solely up to you.
Will there be a fee when changing energy providers?
IF you are choosing a third party provider for the first time – there is never a fee. If you are currently in another agreement, you should review any potential cancellation fees associated with that agreement. You can cancel your current energy supplier with no penalty if you do not have a current contract with that supplier or have a contract that is month-to-month.
It is possible to have to pay an Early Termination Fee (ETF), if you were to switch before the contract expires.
Please contact your current provider to confirm the cancellation process.
When am I able to change plans?
If you do not have a current plan with a supplier, you can change anytime.
If you have a contract with a current provider, you may have to wait until the contract finishes before switching plans. The majority of energy suppliers charge an Early Termination Fee for those cancelling a contract. Check online for account specifics or contact your supplier for your plans guidelines.
If you are a customer with a month-to-month or variable rate plans, you will not have an Early Termination Fee and you will be able to switch services at any time.
When you are switching suppliers, you can designate when you want the transition to take place. Typically, if you plan to switch the services within two weeks of the contract ending, you will not have to pay an Early Termination Fee.
What should I look for when shopping for a new energy plan?
In general, natural gas and electricity function the same way. When you are picking a new plan, you’ll want to look for the following:
- Best pricing
- Best/most reputable suppliers
- Budget surety
- No “fine print” penalties
How do I know if I can switch energy plans?
Depending where you live, you may be able to choose your own energy supplier. Residents in more than 20 states and Washington D.C. are able to have a choice of energy suppliers. Please refer to our service maps for residential and commercial supply options.
Since other states are starting to move to give their residents choice in their energy suppliers, we will be spreading our services into those areas as soon as possible. So, in the future there may be more options for you.
Shopping for your Supplier
I switched to a new plan multiple weeks ago and haven’t heard back. What should I do?
If you had signed up with one of our supplier partners, you should have gotten a confirmation email, however, if you did not receive a letter – it is possible that the email could’ve been sent to a spam folder. If you still cannot locate the confirmation email, you can have the confirmation email re-sent by contacting customer service.
Where can I locate information and details about the plan I purchased?
Rates, length, and other information about the plan you signed up for will be provided in the confirmation email you receive when changing providers. If you can’t find the confirmation email, check your spam folder as it could have been sent there.
How do I find out my current rates on my energy bills?
Besides taxes and fees, energy rates are typically made of two factors: Supply and Delivery Charges.
Your Supply Charges are made up of the amount of energy you actually use. Your natural gas rate is measured in cents per therm, while your electricity rate is measured in cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). When you find these rates on your bill, you can then compare them to the prices offered by different energy providers online.
Your Delivery Charges indicate the amount that goes to the local service responsible for maintaining the physical and organizational structures that produces the energy in your business or home.
What is the “Price to Compare’ function?
When you purchase energy from a local service, you will find the “Price to Compare” on your bill.
The “Price to Compare” is a reference point available when comparing several energy services. Depending where you reside, the “Price to Compare” for natural gas is measured in cents per therm, or per hundred, thousand, or million cubic feet. The “Price to Compare” for electricity is measured in cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
It is to your advantage to change your energy provider if you are able to find rates lower than the “Price to Compare”.
What factors are included I the cost per month when comparing plans?
By multiplying the rate by the average amount of energy consumed in your area, you can calculate the cost per month. If your cost per month contradict the average, you can see what a more accurate monthly bill would be by changing the values at the top of the page.
How do I switch energy services?
It’s simple. By entering your zip code and a few other data points, you can see all the plans available to you in your area through our selected supplier network. When you find the one best suited for your needs, click the “sign up” button and directions on how to join will be available to you.
When your application is finished, you should receive a confirmation email. If you can’t locate a confirmation email, it is possible that it could’ve been sent to a spam folder by accident.
What happens when my contract with my energy supplier expires?
You will receive a notice notifying you that your contract will end about 30-45 days before telling you that it is time to shop for a new plan. If a new energy plan is not purchased, your current provider will set you up with a month-to-month plan. Often, these month to month plans can cost more than a longer term fixed rate plan.
Who do I contact if my power goes out?
You will still call the number provided on your bill if there were an emergency or power outage, because your local utility is still required to maintain your electricity or gas. Your local provider is also responsible for all emergenct services.
How do I know if my energy will still be reliable with a new provider?
You will still receive reliable energy with any company you choose.
Although the providers supply the energy, your local utility is still responsible for maintaining the physical and organizational structures that produce the energy for your home or business.
My previous provider is now offering a lower rate. Is it possible to get that lower rate?
Unfortunately, those rates are only applicable for new consumers. You can continue to look for lower rates, when your contract expires with your current provider.
If my provider goes out of business, will I lose power?
No. In this very rare case that your provider would go out of business, your local utility is responsible for providing you with energy until you are able to find a new supplier. While the term “deregulated” is often used in this marketplace, retail energy remains a highly regulated industry. The supplier approval process that we employ internally at The Energizer® Power Portal is very stringent as well. We are confident that we have nearly eliminated all risk from suppliers going out of business.
How are the plans you offer selected?
With the plans we offer, the customer will be fully informed about what they are signing up for.
Why don’t I see my current provider on The Energizer® Power Portal?
With The Energizer® Power Portal, we choose providers we believe are the best and not all make the cut. If you believe there is a supplier that would be well suited for The Energizer® Power Portal, please let us know by contacting us.
Why am I not able to choose the suppliers in my area?
In over 20 states and Washington D.C., residents are able to have a choice of the suppliers they work with.
How do I know if I have a variable rate or a fixed rate plan?
Look at the price per unit of energy from your previous two bills and see if the rate changed between the two. The price per unit of energy for natural gas is cents per therm or million cubic feet (mcf) and the price per unit of energy for electricity is cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
How do I know if my utility offers variable rate or fixed rate plans?
Depending on the utility, some offer their residents fixed rate plans, while others offer variable rate plans.
What’s the difference between variable rate and fixed rate plans?
Variable Rate Plans- When signing up for this plan, your electricity and natural gas prices vary month to month based on the market price. When electricity and gas market rates are low it could be a great deal. However, if the market rates were to suddenly increase it would be ineffective. Variable rate plans tend to be more risky than fixed rate plans.
Fixed Rate Plans- When signing up for this plan, you will pay the same rate for gas or electricity price for the entire length of your agreement, which reduces risk and offers budget surety. This plan will be an advantage when market prices suddenly increase. However, the amount of electricity you use will still impact your bill.
What is a supplier?
A supplier, often referred to as a retail energy company, is a self-sustaining company that either purchases or produces energy to sell to customers. A local utility delivers the energy that a supplier produces and is responsible when there is a power outage or emergency.
What is a utility?
A utility (The Local Utility Company) is responsible for sustaining the power lines, poles, wires, and pipelines that deliver energy to your home or business. If there were a power line down or an outage, you would contact your local utility. You can’t change your utility.
What is energy deregulation and how does it impact me?
In a nutshell, energy deregulation offers consumers a choice of energy providers, which creates competition in the market.
Deregulation allows you to pick where you buy your electricity and gas. Now, you can shop for an energy plan the same way you would shop for a phone or internet service.
Energy deregulation is the separation of the delivery of energy and its production. In general, utilities are responsible for delivering and supplying the energy. However, deregulation helps to break it up so you are able to buy energy from independent providers.
Switching energy services can be confusing, so you may have questions, even if you have been through the process before. Millions of people have already been through the process and it made it easier for others. There has been a lot of research and shared knowledge for others to benefit when shopping and making decisions about their energy supply.
Millions of Americans now have the opportunity to shop due to many energy markets opening up to competition, leading to several opportunities for customers. It is possible that you may have questions about switching and how the energy market works in your state.
I’m having trouble signing into my energy account, can you help?
If you are having problems signing into your account, you should contact your supplier directly.
Why hasn’t my supplier responded about a question I asked?
If you have a specific question regarding your account or your bill, then you should contact your supplier through email, social media, or try calling them.
How do I pay my bill?
Depending who your supplier is, there will be different ways for you to pay your bill. Some suppliers offer the option of paying online, by phone, by mail, or in person. Please contact your provider to find out the best way to pay your bill.
Why is my energy bill so high?
Your energy bill is made up of the amount of energy consumed in a month, state and local fees, and your utility’s transmission and delivery fees. If you believe your bill is much higher than you expected it to be, check your consumption level to see if you used more than you expected. If the month wasn’t necessarily hot or cold, it is possible that you have an air leak, or a meter wasn’t read correctly. Changes in the energy market rates could also be a factor for a higher bill.
If I live in a home with very low consumption, what is the best plan?
If you live in a home with very low consumption, it could create issues with the minimum usage fee on some plans. The low consumption fee usually is triggered when there is less than 1,000 kWh of electricity in a month. If you live in a home with a low consumption rate, you should look at plans that don’t have low consumption fees or look at a plan with a higher per unit rate if there is no minimum usage requirement. There are also plans that are prepay, or a pay as you go plan that allows you to only pay for the energy that you have used.
Are there plans that allow me to pay an average payment a month to escape extreme ups and downs?
Although we do not offer a plan that has an average payment a month, typically, your local utility or the service that issues your bill offers an option called levelized or budget billing. Contact your provider to get more details. By signing up for a fixed-rate plan you can better predict your bill expenses month to month. With the fixed-rate plan your supply expenses will remain the same throughout the duration of your plan. Although you won’t be paying the same amount each month as you would with budget billing, you will have a better idea of the expenses for the upcoming months.
Is there a short- term plan for when my house is for sale?
There are three or six month contracts available, however a month to month contract would be ideal because there would be no early termination fee. You may also want a prepay plan which allows you to pay as you go and pay only for the energy you consume.
How do I transfer my energy service?
If you are moving but would like to keep the same energy provider, then you should call them and inform them about your new address. If you are moving outside your local energy service area, we can help you choose a new supplier best suited for you.
Am I able to switch suppliers if I am with a co-op?
There are exceptions in the state deregulation laws that allow customers to have a choice of their energy supplier. Typically, if you are with a municipal utility or co-op, then you can’t choose a new supplier. Contact your co-op directly to check the rules and regulations regarding your specific situation.
Why can’t I find my current supplier on your site?
The Energizer® Power Portal does work with a wide variety of suppliers, but not all suppliers included in all markets. We have high standards for the suppliers we provide, ensuring high quality and value plans for the customers.
Are all the suppliers reliable?
There are state laws that require competitive suppliers to have certification commission or be licensed by the state’s utility to ensure customers that if the company they are using goes out of business, they will still be provided with heat and lighting. Rest assured, if they are on our site – they are a very reputable company.
Who trims the trees surrounding the utility lines?
Usually, your local utility is responsible for maintaining the area around the utility lines and keeping it from tree limbs and debris. You can contact your local utility to find out more. It is important to remember that these electric lines can be very dangerous and that it is best to stay away from them.
Remember, emergency services are still provided by your local utility company. Any outages, downed lines, smell of gas, etc. should be directed to your local provider.