There is a growing number of energy suppliers on the market, which has been significantly deregulated. More and more companies are vying for the customers’ attention, and the choice is becoming extremely difficult. Besides, the terms and definitions become more and more confusing and perplexing, making it difficult for the customers to understand how the market functions.
There are many reasons why you may ponder about switching energy suppliers. Some of them include dissatisfaction with price, low level of service, non-responding customer service, grievances over the fact that most (or all) of the energy comes from fossil fuels, and much more. This article will explain what’s the difference between energy suppliers and energy providers, as well as it will answer all questions about how to switch to a new energy supplier.
What Is the Difference Between Energy Providers and Energy Suppliers?
In deregulated gas and electricity markets, energy suppliers and energy providers play different roles. While energy providers deliver electricity (energy) directly to your house (and so you pay for the actual energy delivery services), energy suppliers actually produce and store that energy. So, energy suppliers produce (and, when necessary, store) energy and, then, transfer it to the energy providers, which, in turn, deliver it to your house.
In heavily regulated markets, however, certain companies – or state monopolies – can act as both a supplier and a provider of energy. In most cases, that tends to be more inefficient and offers a very limited choice to the customers.
How Can I Switch Energy Suppliers?
In the majority of American states, switching energy suppliers is a fairly simple and straightforward process. Moreover, there is a guarantee that you will not lose your energy supply in the process. Also, you may choose to switch one of the following suppliers: electricity only, gas only, or both electricity and gas. With the latest, you can take advantage of the dual fuel deal.
When you decided to switch energy suppliers, you should compare the alternatives. For that purpose, you can use energy comparison services (there are quite a few), though you will be asked to answer certain questions. Obviously, you should know the answers to those questions in order to get the most exact results. Once you are done with that, you will see a breakup of tariffs available to you – now, you can find the right energy deal for you.
Eventually, you will get to fill out and submit an application to a new energy supplier. Don’t be surprised if you won’t hear from the company for a while – there is likely to be a 14-day cooling-off period. Once you will receive your last bill from your current energy supplier, pay it off. If the company owes you anything, you should contact them and ask them to credit the funds to your bank account.
When Is It Best to Switch Energy Suppliers?
In fact, there are certain moments when it would be best to choose another energy supplier. Even though determining such an exact time might sometimes turn out to be tricky, here we tried to cover all potentially beneficial options for switching to a new energy supplier.
Before the winter season. If you are not on a fixed tariff, it would be wise to think about switching to a new energy supplier before winter arrives. Most people don’t think about the electricity and gas bills in summer, whereas they consume much less energy in warm periods. But sticking to a shady energy company in winter may rake in a pretty jaw-dropping amount of money.
After you have been with your current company for 12-18 months. Most energy suppliers offer intro deals for the first 12-18 months. After that period expires, however, it might be wise to look for another company.
When you suppose that the prices might jump soon. You may occasionally hear in the news about a predicted rise in energy prices. If you jump on this ship and sign a fixed-price tariff contract, you may get a fixed price for the next 1-5 years, without having to pay the soon-to-be-raised prices.