Shopping for an electric plan does not have to be hard.  The key to finding the best price is ensuring that you have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.  Once you have educated yourself, all that is left is signing up to receive the service.  Having the ability to choose your energy company means that you can compare different companies and choose between price, perks, fixed-rate plans, and quality customer service. 

Before you Start Shopping

As with most things in life, when looking for something new there is a certain amount of knowledge that is required beforehand.  You need to think about the type of energy you need.  Does your home use natural gas, electricity, or a combination?   When you know the type of energy needed to run your household, you have taken the first step in selecting the energy plan that is best for your home.  You also need to consider the current plan you have.  Look through your pat bills.   See what you are currently spending per unit for energy.  This is noted as kWH when talking about an electric bill and per therm when talking about a gas bill.

Next, you should look at the current patterns of energy use.  You can do this by looking at your bill.  Try to figure out what times you are utilizing the most energy.  Typically, the amount of energy used is going to be higher when you are at home more.  You may be able to practice conserving energy to reduce your energy bill.  If you can identify when you are using the most energy and change your habits, it can help reduce your bill and assist in your budgeting.  You can also take this time to see the changes in rate from months to months.  Variable-rate mean you cannot budget for the bill effectively until you get the bill.  Fixed-rate plans to tell you what you are paying per unit. 

Finally, you need to find out if energy is deregulated where you live.  Deregulation laws along with the energy choice market exist to give consumers the option of choosing their energy supply.  This provides more options than just the utility service.  This does not eliminate the utility bill because they are still responsible for maintaining the pole and lines.  However, it does make prices more competitive and provides consumers with more options.

Shopping for Plans

So, you have the critical information needed to begin the process of shopping.  There are still some things you must look at when you begin searching or the right company.  You want to make sure that you are choosing the right plan based on what you need.  If you have never shopped for electricity or gas, you may not know-how.  If you are unsure how you may end up with subpar rates.  Each supplier is different.  Some may be better than opens.  Fixed-rate and variable-rate plans are the most common plans for residential consumers. 

Fixed-rate plans are sometimes considered the best you can find in terms of benefits.  Fixed-rate plans provide the opportunity to select a specific rate of energy price that coordinates with your budget and the contract ensures you pay this set amount until the contract ends.  This gives you the peace of mind of knowing how to budget for your energy bills.  Variable-rate energy plans are what most utility companies provide.   Some energy suppliers may also provide this type of plan.  These plans mean the rate you are paying can vary based on changes in demand for energy and even the weather.  It is important that you carefully read the details of the plan, so you know what you are signing up for. 

You have the energy rate down, so now you need to find suppliers and compare prices. You also need to consider additional costs.  There are some costs to your control.   Some energy costs also vary based on location.  Keep in mind the term of the contract if you are looking at a fixed-rate plan.  The length should be based on your budget and how flexible you are.  You also need to know when the right time to switch is.  You may be able to swap from a utility at any time.  However, if you are under another contract and terminate before the contract ends, you could be faced with termination fees.

 Electricity Shark makes comparing plans easy.  The website provides you with plans from top electricity providers so that you can easily compare and select your plan online.