You may have heard a lot of things about energy choice, competition and suppliers. You may also be confused about what to believe. Let us help you sort the facts from the fiction.
If I choose to purchase energy supply from a competitive energy supplier, my local utility won't respond to my energy emergencies, like power outages or natural gas leaks.
FACT: If you choose a competitive energy supplier, it is important to remember that the local utility will continue to be responsible for the reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas to the your home or business, and that the local utility will continue to respond to all service interruptions and emergencies.
I’ve always liked my utility, and if I switch to a competitive energy supplier I will hurt them by taking business away.
FACT: Utilities are regulated by state government (typically through public utility commissions), and their rates are controlled. Typically, utilities’ profits come from the delivery of your energy (known as “transmission and distribution”), not from the supply of energy. Switching to a competitive supplier will not harm your utility.
I can switch to ANY competitive energy supplier and save a lot of money!
FACT: Many suppliers do offer rates that are lower than the standard utility price. But energy choice is not solely about lower prices – in an open market, retail electricity suppliers can offer customers different products and services to meet individual energy needs, such as fixed or variable prices, renewable energy options, time-of-use rates, energy efficiency audits, and other value-added benefits. For some of these products, the rates may be higher, but what’s important is the value you get for your money.
I have to choose a competitive energy supplier or I won’t get electricity or natural gas delivered to my home or business.
FACT: If you choose to not switch to a competitive supplier, the utility will continue to deliver AND supply your energy. Remember, whatever you decide, you are making a choice – so it is worth your time to investigate all your options before making a decision.
If I switch to a competitive energy supplier, my bill will keep going up every month!
FACT: Energy is a commodity – the price can change daily, even hourly, based on many different factors. This is true whether your supply comes from a competitive firm or a utility. The price that the utility or suppliers pass on to you, however, is more stable, and typically changes on a monthly basis. This means the price can go DOWN as well as up! If you would prefer more certainty, many suppliers offer partially or fully fixed price plans, in which your price is guaranteed. This is just another option available to consumers in an open market.
If I switch to a competitive energy supplier, I will have to pay two bills a month, instead of just one – it will be a major headache.
FACT: In many states that have energy choice, customers can choose “consolidated billing,” in which their supply charges and delivery charges appear on a single bill. Depending on the state, this bill may come from either the supplier or the utility, but either way, you get one piece of paper and have to make just one payment. If you prefer two separate bills, in many states this is an option available to you as well.