Before the 1970s, everyone was on the same energy provider and just had to pay whatever figure their bill said. Today, we’ve got a lot more choice and can shop around for better prices and better service, but that doesn’t always mean we do so.
The problem is, if you stick it out with one energy supplier, you may be paying more than the average tariff for your home and your area, which means you’re essentially pouring money down the drain.
So, how can you go about switching your energy provider and what should you think about when you want to switch electric companies?
How do you change your energy supplier?
There are a few different ways to find a new supplier, from recommendations from friends, ads, and online comparison sites. Changing your electricity supplier is actually pretty easy, and doesn’t take long, either. Once you’ve found an energy supplier that’s offering you the tariff and service you want, all you need is your current supplier details and your personal details and your new supplier will do the rest when you confirm you want to become a customer.
Can you switch electric companies?
The first thing to find out is whether you live in a deregulated area. Some states are not yet deregulated. Some are deregulated for both electricity and natural gas, some for either one, and a few are partially deregulated.
At the moment, the following states are deregulated either for electricity or electricity and gas. The list includes those that are partially deregulated:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
If your state is only partially deregulated, you’ll need to check to see if you are allowed to switch.
Can you switch electric companies if you owe money?
This is a barrier when you want to change electric company. It is not possible to switch electric companies if you owe money. There is something called a Switch Hold, which electricity providers place on a property when money is owed on the bill. When a Switch Hold is in place, any new plan set up will be canceled. If you pay off what you owe in full, however, you will be able to switch.
What happens to your balance when you switch energy suppliers?
If you are in credit with your old supplier, they should transfer the money directly to your bank account once you have received the final bill. If they don’t return your money within 2 weeks, chase them for it.
However, if you still owe money when you want to change, then you need to sort this out, or the transfer will likely be stopped.
How do you choose a good electric company?
How you choose a good electric company depends on why you are swapping. It might be that this is purely down to price. If you feel that you are paying too much a month for your electricity, then compare the price and the reviews of other companies and see if there’s one that can offer you a better deal.
There are many websites, based both nationally and locally, that will compare prices for you. Simply fill in your details, and they will bring up a list of suppliers and the costs of their plans.
There are a few points to consider when comparing energy suppliers:
- Examine your last few bills from your current supplier, and write down what exactly you have been paying. Don’t forget that your usage varies a lot throughout the year, though this might be evened out in your payments. That depends on the plan you are on. This will give you a figure to judge other electric companies’ pricing options.
- Do some research. Make sure the company you are looking at is licensed for your state, then find out if it’s well-established and reputable. You’ll soon find out whether people are satisfied with a company’s customer service, and take a look at the negative reviews. Are there any major red flags? Most businesses will have at least a few bad reviews, but you can usually tell if the customer is someone like you or not.
- Spend some time looking at the pricing plans carefully. They can be complicated. Read the terms and conditions, and find out what is included in the price quoted. Is there any state tax, or are there any hidden charges?
The actual charge isn’t the only thing to take into consideration. Here are a few other things that deserve examining:
- How will you/can you pay, and how regularly will you get a bill to pay? Does this suit you? Are there other options?
- How can you communicate with them? Does this suit you?
- More and more people seek alternative energy suppliers because they want to make a difference to climate change. You can choose an electric company that promises power from clean, renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar power. It doesn’t have to cost more. There’s no better reason to change, and we can help you switch in just 5 minutes and you’ll get a personalized monthly subscription fee.
Can an energy company stop you switching?
As long as you’re in a deregulated area of the country, the only reason an energy company can prevent you from switching is that you owe them money. You need to pay any outstanding amount to them before they allow you to move suppliers.
Can you switch energy suppliers at any time?
Usually, you will have a contract with an electricity supplier for a fixed length of time. If you decide to switch electricity supplier, your current supplier can charge you what is called a termination fee. Generally, the longer there is until the end of the contract, the higher the fee. Nationally, this fee can’t be charged if you are moving to a new home.
The laws regarding termination fees vary from state to state. For instance, in Connecticut, the maximum amount an energy company can charge for an early termination fee is $50. In Texas, there is a law that says if you are within two weeks of your contract end, then a termination fee cannot be charged.
Across the country, the typical amount of a termination fee is around $200 for a 12-month contract. Many companies work out the fee based on how many months the contract has left to run. $20 per month is the sort of fee you can expect.
If you’re out of your contract term, there’s nothing to stop you switching unless you owe the company an outstanding balance. Pay that off, and you’re free - and with Inspire, there is no early termination fee, making it completely risk-free to give us a try!
Is it easy to switch energy suppliers?
Once you have chosen a suitable provider, often, all it needs is for you to fill in a form online or make a phone call. It really is that simple! There will be no disruption to your electricity supply and no change to the way electricity enters your home. When you switch to renewable energy with us, it typically takes 2-5 minutes to fill in our form.
What happens when you switch energy suppliers?
You should notice nothing except that your bill looks different. The electricity is the same, and no new meter is required. Your new company should take care of everything for you. You need to have no further communication with your old provider.
If you switch to renewable energy with us, you’ll continue to receive your billing from your current provider, but we’ll be listed under your “supplier”. (Find out more about this here.)
How long does it normally take to change an energy supplier?
The change-over happens in the background and is likely to be completed very quickly after the date agreed. This does vary with the companies involved. There will be no interruption in your electricity supply, and the new provider will inform your utility company of the change of supplier.
How quickly can you switch energy suppliers?
From the date you decide to switch energy suppliers until the change-over is finalized should be a matter of days. As soon as you decide which energy supplier suits you best, you can contact them, and put the wheels in motion.
Should you switch energy suppliers?
It may be that you are already with the supplier that suits you best, on the right plan, and paying the right amount. But, as with insurance, shopping around can save you a ton of money. No one should be complacent.
In 2020, energy provision is not just about cost. If you care about the planet, then how the energy is sourced should be more important than the dollars and cents.
Inspire is a renewable energy company that allows you to choose clean, renewable energy on a plan that suits your home and lifestyle in just minutes. Sign up online or with a quick phone call, and we do everything else. You have the peace of mind that you are supporting the green energy movement, and doing a huge amount to reduce your carbon footprint!