10 Things You Need to Do and Know When You Shop for Electricity Suppliers:
- Find out the rate – cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) – you are currently paying for electricity.You will find this in your most recent power bill. If can’t find it, call your supplier for help.
- Identify the means by which your supplier is generating your power – via coal, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, etc. View a report on each utility on its website.
- Determine how much of your electricity you want to come from renewable sources such as wind energy. The more support for clean energy sources, the faster the industry will grow and the faster prices will fall.
- Determine whether you want to consider suppliers with operations in or close to Maryland. If not, limit your choices accordingly.
- Determine if you want to work with energy suppliers or energy brokers, of both. Suppliers generate their own electricity or buy Renewable Energy Certificates representing clean power generation. Brokers and marketers act as agents for suppliers because they cannot source power on their own. These businesses are sometimes called aggregators.
- Learn how electricity rates are trending – and whether a supplier’s rates are likely to remain competitive over the length of your service agreement.
- Understand Renewable Energy Certificates—what they are and the role they play in earning credits for cleaner supplies of electricity. Go to the “Green Electricity” page for a brief explanation.
- Determine whether you want to commit to a fixed-price contract or assume the risk of a variable-price contract where the price you pay could change each month.
- Determine whether you want to commit to a contract with a fixed term or whether you want to be able to cancel service after any month.
- Check for any “teaser rates” and charges associated with the service, such as an enrollment fee, cancellation fee or late payment charge.
Contracting for electricity supply involves a legally binding agreement between you and the supplier. Know the terms before you sign an agreement!
If you have questions, help from the Maryland Clean Energy Center is just a phone call away: 443-949-8505. To share lessons you have learned, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.