In this digital age, gas and electricity companies now have online customer portals as a way to streamline the process of signing up for their services. Smart meters that monitor gas and electric usage, smart thermostats to keep tabs on home temperature, and apps for monitoring usage are just some of the new technologies that utilities are employing to make life easier for customers. However, moving your utility account online doesn’t make things any less confusing. There is still an abundance of pricing plans, terms, and conditions that consumers must sift through in order to find the best service providers for their needs. Read on to learn more about gas and electricity in the US today!
How do I choose a gas and electricity provider?
When you’re looking for gas and electricity providers in your area, it’s important to understand that you are dealing with two separate entities. In most cases, you will have a natural gas provider and an electric utility that supplies the power to your home. One gas provider cannot also offer electricity services, and vice versa. When it comes to choosing a natural gas provider, your first step should be to call your current company. Your provider will give you a general idea of how much you’re paying for gas, both in terms of a rate per unit and a total cost per month. From there, you may want to take a look at how other providers compare. Since electricity rates are often much higher than those for gas, providers are typically much more competitive when it comes to getting new business. You may also want to take a look at how other providers compare in terms of the standard service rates that they offer.
What are the most common gas and electricity plan types?
When it comes to electricity service, you may want to consider a Simple Plan, a Tiered Plan, or an Economy Plan. While the names of these plans may sound rather straightforward, some providers actually offer a variety of plan types under these general headings. It’s best to read through each one carefully to make sure that it meets your specific needs. For gas service, you may want to consider a Fixed Price Plan or a Variable Price Plan. Keep in mind that the Fixed Price Plan guarantees that you will never pay more than a set price per unit for gas, regardless of any changes in the market. With that said, your rate for gas might also be less than what you’re currently paying. In contrast, a Variable Price Plan is adjusted according to changes in the market, which can be helpful if you are looking for lower rates.
What is a kW/h and how does it relate to gas and electricity?
A kW/h is an abbreviation that represents the amount of electricity that your home is using on a given day. It’s a great way to keep tabs on your electricity usage without having to resort to a manual process that involves counting your watts. When you sign up for gas or electricity service, your utility provider will calculate how much power you are using in kW/h. This number is then converted either into a rate per unit or a total cost per month.
What is a Depreciation Fee and why do some providers have it?
As the name suggests, this fee is charged to utility providers to cover the cost of their equipment and the resources (like labor) that are required to maintain and repair the infrastructure. These charges are passed along to customers and are generally included in the total rate that you pay for each type of service. A depreciation fee is also sometimes referred to as a “deferral account” fee. It is charged for the time period when there is a lag between when the utility provider installs a new piece of equipment and when the equipment starts generating revenue.
I’ve heard of demand fees. Why don’t all providers use them?
The demand fee is a particularly contentious issue among utility providers. Basically, it is a charge that is levied if your home has a high demand for electricity. This could be due to having one or more high-power devices (e.g. air conditioner, water heater, etc.) turned on that are sucking up a lot of energy. When your demand is high, your utility provider has to activate backup generators to make sure that your home doesn’t lose power. This means that you are adding to the cost of service for the entire neighborhood. When demand fees are in effect, they are typically levied on customer accounts that use the most power. They can be an effective way to discourage customers from over-consuming energy and causing problems for the entire grid.
Are there any hidden fees when signing up for these services?
When evaluating potential providers, it’s important to read the fine print and look for any hidden fees. You may want to ask your potential providers if they charge a termination fee, a “free” trial period, or if they charge a fee for switching providers mid-month. You should also find out how long you will be locked into a contract with your provider. An overly long contract can make it difficult to change providers if you find a better rate.
Should I lock in my rate for a long period of time or go month-to-month?
If you are happy with your current gas and electricity providers, there is no reason to make a switch. You can also feel comfortable with a variable rate that is adjusted according to changes in the market. When you are shopping for new providers, you will likely run across promotional offers that lock you into a fixed price for a set period of time. These are often referred to as “teaser rates” because they are often lower than what the provider would normally charge.
How can I be sure that switching won’t cause me problems with my current provider?
Good customer service is important no matter which provider you choose. If you are worried that your current provider will be upset with you if you switch to a new company, avoid making the change during a billing cycle. You might also want to get in touch with your current provider and let them know that you are considering making a change. Let them know what you are looking for in a new provider and see if they can meet your needs.
Is there anything else that I should know about switching my gas and electricity providers?
Before you make the switch, make sure that you have all of the necessary information for your new gas and electricity providers. This includes information for setting up online billing, contact information for customer service, and account numbers for your new service providers. When you make the switch, you will likely have to provide proof of ownership for your home. This may require a copy of your most recent utility bill, proof of ownership, or another similar document.