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James Davis
James Davis

Where To Buy Electricity [PORTABLE]

When it comes to finding a power supplier for your home, shopping around is often the best way to find the lowest price and the best value. Not everyone has this freedom, however, as deregulation is not the case in all 50 states. Thanks to deregulation, though, many people can choose where to buy their electricity. That means you, the customer, are in control.

where to buy electricity


If you're already under contract with a an electricity supplier, you should review your contract to determine what penalty, if any, exists if you leave that company before your contract expires. In some cases, you could be assessed an expensive early termination fee that nullifies the benefits offered by a new provider. This fee can depend on the length of the contract and how recently you started services.

This is the unit price for the cost of electricity, which is priced by the kilowatt hour (kWh). To add context, the average U.S. household uses 911 kWh per month, though it's important to remember that many factors can increase or decrease your electricity usage. These may include season, the number of family members living in the home, and how many energy-efficient appliances you own.

  • Before you choose, it's important to understand that you could potentially be doing business with up to two entities to get your electricity.Default utility: This company owns and maintains the power lines and delivers the electricity to all customers in their territory. You can also purchase electricity from this company. In some states, their rates are regulated by the public service commission. In either case, a portion of your payment would go to the default company to pay the transmission fee.

  • Competitive supplier: These companies sell electricity to customers, often purchasing it from the electricity wholesale market. While they are required to register their business with the public service commission and follow certain requirements, their rates are not regulated.

First, start with your state's public service utility website to find out who your default electric utility is. In most states (except Texas), you will need to sign up here first, since the utility company for your area owns the power lines and delivers the electricity. You can also purchase the electricity from the default utility.

An electric utility, such as Eversource (previously NSTAR) or National Grid, delivers electricity, while a competitive supplier supplies electricity. It might be helpful to think of electricity like the post office delivering a package from a store to your home. The post office delivers the package (like an electric utility delivers electricity), while the package itself is provided by the store (like a competitive supplier supplies electricity).

Competitive suppliers offer fixed and variable rates. A fixed rate remains the same during the length of your contract, which could last for a few months or several years. However, many fixed rate contracts will automatically renew at a variable rate. A variable rate typically changes from month-to-month according to the market and the terms of your agreement with a competitive supplier. The rate for Fixed Basic Service, the electricity supply offered by your electric utility, changes every six months for residential customers.

Be especially wary if your home has central air or you use window air conditioners during the summer, because air conditioning often results in high electricity supply consumption, which could amplify any difference between a year-long rate locked in with the competitive supplier and the lower rates that electric utilities typically offer in the summer months.

Your utility will not send representatives to your door, or call you on the phone to talk about electricity supply rates. If a representative contacts you about electricity supply rates, this person most likely works for a competitive supplier.

You can take advantage of clean, renewable energy by buying "green power" or by making your own electricity with a small home renewable energy system. Learn the purchasing options available in your area, or learn how to plan your own system and choose the right technology for your location and electricity needs. Explore the following topics:

Any electric or gas customer in New Jersey is eligible to shop, but those with higher usage may have an even greater incentive to do so. Commercial and industrial customers with peak loads of 750 kilowatts or more are subject to a retail margin of one-half cent per kilowatthour if they continue to buy their electric supplies from their utility. Those customers with peak loads of 1,000 kilowatts or above are also subject to hourly pricing (i.e. their supply costs change hour-by-hour to reflect the actual cost of generating electricity in that particular time period).