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What to Look for When Selecting a Supplier
September 03, 2019
The ability to choose an energy supplier provides a great opportunity for everyone with a home or business in a deregulated state. However, knowing what to look for when selecting a supplier can be challenging. There are several retail energy suppliers out there, and you’ll want to find one who is eager to help you and to do the right thing. Here are a few tips to help you identify the supplier who is right for you:
- Transparency – Suppliers and utilities are not the same entities, although some suppliers are subsidiaries or affiliates of utilities. A transparent supplier will make it easy to identify who they are to avoid confusion.
- Historical Rates Comparison – An excellent way to assess a supplier is to review their historical variable rates. This is a comparison of their monthly rates to that of the utility. It is an easy way to forecast if you will maintain a savings percentage with the supplier if you transition to a variable rate. If you can’t locate it on their website, ask a representative to see it.
- Hidden Fees – When gathering information about a supplier’s offers, ask about hidden costs, such as “monthly fees” and “cancellation fees”, which may not be obvious at first glance. Along the lines of “hidden fees”, it is important to verify that the agreed upon rate is fixed for the duration of the term, and you understand if and how the rates are split. Sometimes, the advertised rate may be valid for the first month or first few months and then change to a different rate for the remaining length of the term. If it looks too good to be true, it very well may be.
- Variety of Products – Most suppliers can offer a variety of fixed rates, term lengths, billing options and renewable energy or Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that the utility cannot. This is where the power of energy choice puts the ball in your court!
- Competitive Rates – Utilities determine their pricing based on the average usage patterns of their customers within a designated territory. Suppliers closely monitor energy prices and purchase electricity for customers based on current market prices. This price can be locked in for the consumer over a period of time to avoid high energy prices during the year when energy demand has increased. Finding a supplier with a history of competitive rates who also offers a variety of products is key.
- Better Business Bureau Rating – Of course, what others have to say about a supplier speaks volumes. The Better Business Bureau is a great source for customer reviews.
- Public Utilities Commission – Another source of information in selecting a supplier is the Public Utilities Commission in your state. PUCO in Ohio offers this list of questions to ask suppliers before signing up.
- Your Best Interest – Most importantly, you’ll want a supplier who has your best interest at heart and gives recommendations that are best for you, even if it means losing your business or not enrolling you on flow. A bad customer experience hurts everyone in the long run.
AEP Energy believes creating a great customer experience is key to being an excellent supplier. It begins with transparency and doing the right thing every time, for every customer and every employee. Contact AEP Energy at 1-866-258-3782 or online at AEPenergy.com to learn how we can tailor an energy plan that’s right for your home or business.