Using an energy consultant has always made sense to me simply because the plans advertised by these providers combined with the resulting confusion and horror stories by others left me feeling like most providers were going to screw me over.
When you feel like the rate plans and providers are all out to get you an energy consultant is a breath of fresh air as they can often shed some light on questions you have about a provider or rate term.
When I first decided on an electric company when I moved out of my college dorm and into an apartment I called up my friend who was an energy consultant and asked who was a good provider.
My friend knew who was good at the time for a commercial business but when it came to residential he didn’t have a good idea.
He finally mentioned that he thought Gexa Energy was probably okay. Now why would an energy consultant have not a clue who was the best residential electric company?
The reason my friend could not give me a thorough and educated answer on which provider was the best residential electric company had a lot to do with how these rates work.
He new a lot about commercial rates because he could effect the prices and provide a service that actually made things cheaper for the customer. With residential he was hands off as there are predefined cut and dry plans and no options available for consultants to personally negotiate lower prices for their customers. There simply was no efficient reason why he would be in the residential side of things as he would have to sign up several hundred of these small accounts to make a living.
Many of the residential rates at the time were 6 months fixed or shorter and then changed over to a month to month variable plan. You couldn’t get a consultant to come in a work out the most optimal terms of service, etc. because this type of service is not available.
What you need when shopping residential is a guide of preexisting plans and an explanation on what rate and term makes sense based on what your expectations are.
The tricky part residential rates like this is that unless you were willing to sift through the terms of service in the agreement and truly take time to understand what the variable rate could do you really were in the dark about the price and what the price could soon become.
Even if you were to look at 10 different glossy ads showing a different electric company along with their rates and each one was a different price the situation was confusing. Simply finding the cheapest price didn’t always give you the best end result.
In the situation with this many choices the cheapest one almost looked too good to be true and the longer term rates seemed too high or had high monthly service fees attached to them.
You would assume that after the 1st month the price would go up quite a bit on the rates that expire after the first month. The slightly more expensive rates seemed to have longer fixed terms but then some might have a $5 – $10 monthly fee on top of it.
When my friend suggested Gexa it was not the best rate and it wasn’t the worst rate but I had slightly more confidence that when the rate expired I might be dealing with a professional company that would send me a letter letting me know of the expiration.
Sure enough I got a reminder letter and I was able to go back online and renew into a new fixed rate contract and keep my price low.
These days energy consultants are still around but even now they are not well versed on residential rates and plans and exactly who is the best. Energy consultants focus on working with commercial and industrial customers because they actually assist in creating a custom terms of service in the agreement and getting the price down based on specific requirements that business they are working with has.
Retail electric companies are accustomed to working with energy consultants because a large volume of retail sales comes through the channel of energy consultants and energy brokers.
If an energy consultant has enough customers they work with each year they have a lot of leverage in working the price down when providers bid on a new commercial account.
These consultants create proposals that show these rates and the terms they are for and present it to the customer in a way that educates them about each choice and which one will make the most sense to that business.
With residential accounts some energy consulting companies like Electricitybid.com have streamlined the process of offering our advice on residential electric companies by having an online tool for comparison.
We do not present all residential electricity companies in existence in our chart because there are many bad ones out there.
We do have a comparison chart that offers several good choices and a variety of long and short terms electric rate terms.
The companies in our comparison tool are real good in getting back with you regarding when your rate expires and making sure you get locked back in to a new low rate.
Check out our comparison chart at the top right if you’re a residential customer or choose commercial if you’re a business and click on “compare” and fill out a short form.
Residential customers can sign up immediately online and commercial customers can work directly with an energy consultant to assist you through the process.