Acquiring the best possible deal on your expenses, be they personal or business, means having the option of shopping around. And nothing is more frustrating to the frugal business manager than having only one option when making a purchase.
For years, that was the case with electricity. The firm or cooperative that set the poles and strung the wires was also selling you the electricity.
Fortunately, that is changing. Now it’s more than just good utility management that can cut your electric bill. Much like long distance became a free-for-all (remember 10-10-321 and all those dime-a-minute providers?), electricity can now be purchased from a supplier of your choice.
So if you’re an individual or business in, say, Archer City, Texas, you won’t necessarily be acquiring your electricity from whatever entity connected your service.
No, a change in provider won’t mean new lines strung to your meter. Instead, your share of the power that has energized the grid in your area will be bought from the firm you have chosen.
The process of selecting your provider is well covered by others from the dollars and cents perspective. You should consider associated fees, length of contracts, contract renewal policies, and the other issues involved.
But to see the entire picture of what you’re doing, there are a couple of other points you might consider as well.
Who’s Got Green Juice?
No, not some wheatgrass health drink, but who’s got electricity that’s generated in a cleaner way? Currently the fossil fuel system still provides the cheapest energy, but if you want to vote green with your checkbook, you might be interested in paying a little more as a show of support. This can also be a strong marketing angle for energy firms.
Who Provides Non-Electrical Help?
Many rural cooperatives have a tradition of providing energy-saving tips for customers. Their non-profit structure means there is no incentive for them to sell more electricity than the customer will truly use. If you are interested in having some assistance with weatherproofing your home or office, or in learning unique ways to save, you might like to seek out a provider that does that.
Who is on Solid Financial Footing?
Research the firms you’re considering and find out which ones are most likely to remain solvent over a long period of time, or at least over the length of your commitment to them. The aforementioned 10-10-321 is still afloat despite bargain pricing, so try to find an electrical provider that stands to do the same.
Who’s Ready for What’s Next?
You should also investigate which providers are positioned for change. Deregulation is continuing throughout the country, and a provider that is situated to increase its customer base will be more likely to save you money with its growth.
Additionally, be wary of committing to a firm that is likely to be crushed when bigger competitors enter your market.
Utilities are not a fixed cost. You can manage usage and efficiency, and now you can shop out your patronage to the best provider available. Look at both the cheapest and the best fit before signing up.
When did you last review your electricity provider?
Image by Tom Haymes