If you’re feeling ready for a new electricity company, you’re not alone. In 2015, more than 6 million Americans switched their utility providers. We’re bombarded with options for services day in and day out, which makes rates and service much more competitive for those service providers. Shopping around different electricity companies can be a great opportunity to explore new relationships, but why risk breaking what doesn’t need to be fixed?
In order to ensure that you’re making the switch at the right time, we’ve compiled this list of key questions to ask before flipping the switch on your old electrical company.
1) When was the last time you switched?
If you have never switched your energy provider before, then there's a good chance that you have been paying more than you need to for years. This is because when you sign on with an electrical company, you are offered a lower rate only for the first few months or up to a year.
If you have switched previously but haven’t done so in the last 12 months, then it is definitely worth comparing prices. Chances are, your rate has expired and you may have been shifted to the supplier's standard rate.
2) Has the introductory deal that you signed on for expired?
If you started an account with a company for a low introductory rate, keep a close watch on the calendar for when that rate is due to expire. Quietly, the company may then shift your account to the standard rate for service. Therefore, it’s always important to ensure that you’re aware of your billing cycles.
3) What time of year is it?
Energy needs shift between seasons. Here’s a basic timetable to keep in mind:
January: rates continue dropping
February: rates continue dropping
March: rates bottom out during the middle of the month, due to low demand for electricity in the spring
April: rates begin to climb
May: rates continue to climb
June: rates reach a mid-high point for the year, due to high demand for electricity (air conditioners)
July: rates begin to drop
August: rates level off until late in the month, where they reach their lowest point
September: rates remain
October: rates begin to climb
November: rates continue to climb, due to high demand for electricity (heat)
December: rates begin dropping
Of course, keeping your location in mind is critical as well - if it doesn’t get very hot in the summer months in your neighborhood, chances are the mid-high point would stay lower than other, warmer locations. If you don’t get any snow where you live, it’s likely that rates will stay more level as you close in on the end of the year.
Switching to another deal is the best way to play the market, ensure you avoid being forced to pay standard rates, and continue to benefit from the lowest prices for your gas and electricity. In doing so, you're ensuring that the market remains competitive, as suppliers must compete with one another to win our business every day.
Ready to begin the process of switching electricity companies? Learn more about Spark Energy’s home electricity plans here