Choosing the Right Energy Plan
Picking an energy plan that meets your needs doesn’t need to be complicated. Energy Harbor can help you navigate confusing jargon and understand what factors you should consider when comparing energy plans from different companies.
Here are some things to consider to determine which energy plan best meets your needs:
Compare electricity prices
While pricing isn’t the only factor you should consider when selecting an energy plan, it’s usually the place people start, because, let’s face it, we all want a good value. So, how do you compare electricity prices?
Energy choice is a program that allows consumers to shop electric and natural gas rates and compare plans from energy suppliers on the supply portion of their bill just as they would other goods and services. Unless you live in Texas, your local utility is typically the default supplier of energy. When considering competitive energy suppliers, compare the rate other suppliers offer against your local utility's current Price to Compare (PTC). It’s clearly labeled as a cost per kilowatt hour (kwh) on your most recent electricity bill. Depending on where you live, your utility's PTC can change multiple times a year.
Taking advantage of energy choice is a simple and easy way to select a customized energy solution for your home, and could help lower energy costs.
Variable vs. Fixed Energy Plan
Just like a mortgage on a house, you can purchase an energy plan with a fixed rate (rate won’t change over the period of your contract) or a variable rate (rate will fluctuate based on the changing cost of energy in the market, and other factors, during the period of your plan).
How can this impact what you pay for your plan?
Let’s say you sign an 18-month contract at $.07/kwh. If, during that time, energy costs escalate, you’ll pay less— because you’ll be paying your locked-in lower rate at a time when energy prices you could buy in the market are more expensive. But energy prices are affected by even more factors that are often unpredictable. Who would have thought that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) would lead to national stay-at-home orders and contribute to an 8.4% increase in household usage? Unpredictability can lead to rate volatility. That's why locking in a fixed rate can help you better predict and plan for the future. While variable rates have some benefits, with fixed rate plans you can count on a stable rate for budget certainty."
BOTTOM LINE: The fixed rate plan option protects your bill from unexpected price changes. The variable option may be right for some buyers, but can be affected by changes in energy markets.
Determine how long you want your fixed rate plan to be
The price you pay may be influenced by the length of your fixed rate plan. To meet customer needs, companies offer a variety of contract durations, ranging from a few months to several years.
With a short-term plan, typically 6 to 12 months, customers have the freedom to compare plans more frequently. These plans are best for more active customers who are always looking to try new plans or search for the best deals. There is, however, more risk involved. As prices fluctuate, there's no guarantee that a better rate will be available when it's time to select a new plan.
Customers with a long-term plan, typically 18 months or more, have the freedom of not having to worry about price changes on the supply portion of their energy bill for an extended period of time. This is great for customers who enjoy the peace of mind that comes with long-term rate stability, and who would prefer spending less time shopping for electricity. Regardless of seasonal price fluctuations, this rate is guaranteed to remain the same.
Source of Energy
Just as you have a choice in price, you also have a choice in the type of energy supplier you select. For instance, if you'd like to support sustainable energy that’s generated from a low or non-emitting source, you may want to consider choosing an energy company that produces wind, solar or nuclear generated power.
In addition to wind energy products, Energy Harbor has affordable plans that provide customers with access to clean energy through Emission Free Energy Certificates (EFECs). These certificates register the production of emission free generation and provide consumers with the comfort of knowing they made a cleaner, more sustainable choice.
In some states community aggregation programs are available that allow communities to choose their energy provider as a single group. By acting as a single group, municipalities are able to secure a low rate from an energy supplier for homes and businesses within the community. Search our community partner page to find out if Energy Harbor offers savings to your community through aggregation.