Energy Choice Basics

Energy choice, also known as Energy Deregulation, allows open competition in energy markets, giving consumers the ability the power to choose their energy supplier.

An energy supplier, which may also be called an energy provider, a Competitive Retail Electric Service provider (CRES), or retail energy provider (REP) depending on the state you live in, is a company who purchases electricity from the wholesale market and sells it directly to consumers such as yourself at retail prices that they control.

Not everyone has a choice. It depends on the state and area in which they live.

Comparing energy plans can be very difficult. Which is why Personalized.Energy does the work for you. Just enter your address and we do the work for you. We collect information on energy offers available in your area, analyze your home and personal usage profile, and recommend the best energy plan for you. If you want to see more options, that is okay too; we provide you with an apples-to-apples comparison, showing you how much you will spend based on your usage information, so that you can choose your electricity plan and provider to best fit your needs. We make it simple and easy for you to find the best plan for you.

With a fixed-rate plan, your energy price and terms are locked in for the life of the contract. This means that if the wholesale price of electricity goes up due to a particularly cold winter, a hot summer, or an unforeseen event, you will be protected from these price spikes and market fluctuations. Fixed rate plans typically last anywhere between 3 months to upwards of 3 or more years. While the rate is protected for the length of the contract, fixed-rate plans also typically require you to do a credit check, may require you to pay a deposit, and often come with an early termination fee.

With a variable-rate plan, your rate may change month-to-month as the market prices fluctuate. While this puts you at risk for higher pricing if market prices go up, you also can take advantage of lower pricing if energy prices go down. Be aware, though, these plans can fluctuate widely and you may be paying the highest rates when you also have the highest usage. While these plans come with the benefits of no early termination fees, being able to switch providers at any time, and the ability to sometimes enjoy lower pricing, they also come with greater risk than a fixed plan.

Indexed Electricity plans, simply means that your electricity price is tied to another variable. Some energy providers tie the rate to a publicly available index, such as the NYMEX natural gas price; others may tie the rate you pay to things, such as time of day, day of the week, and so forth. For these plans, the underlying variable that is used to calculate what you pay must be fully disclosed in your contract. Be advised, though, not all markets have indexed plans. While these plans carry many benefits, it can be difficult to calculate what you should be charged and often require a lot of monitoring by you to ensure that you receive the highest savings.

A Time-of-Use (TOU) plan is simply an indexed plan tied to the time you use your electricity. For these plans, you must be aware of how much electricity you use and when. These work best when you are able and willing to shift a large portion of your electricity usage to when the rate is cheapest. It should also be noted, however, that the rate for non-discounted hours is often very high.

Utilities maintain infrastructure and deliver energy. They own and manage the electric wires, poles, and hardware that delivers electricity to your home. The Utility, which may also be called a Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP), a Transmission & Distribution Utility (TDU) or Electric Distribution Utility (EDU) depending on the state you live in, is the company that is responsible for getting the electricity from the generators to your home. They are responsible for maintaining the reliability of the grid and, if the power goes out in your area, they are the ones that are responsible for getting your power restored. Utilities are specific to an area and cannot be chosen by consumers. So, no matter what electricity plan you choose, or who is your energy supplier, your Utility will remain the same.

Not to worry, your service will not stop. Again, depending on which state and area your property is located in, you'll be automatically switched to a different provider or directly to your utility. There should be absolutely no interruptions in your electricity service.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is energy produced from renewable sources like the sun and wind. These renewable sources naturally replenish themselves and do not run out. Oftentimes, windpower, solar power, hydro power and other renewable energy shows up on your electricity bill as Renewable Content.

Renewable Content is the percentage of electricity generated from renewable resources. Plans that offer a high percentage of green energy are often called Green Electricity plans, Renewable Content Energy plans or Green Energy plans. While the electricity to your home is exactly the same regardless of the plan you select, your electricity provider will be required to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates based on Renewable Content percentage for your plan.

When a generator generates electricity, it goes directly to the grid in real time. This power is delivered to your home on demand. However, to encourage the use of renewable resources, the energy industry created something called Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The way it works is that for every 1 MWh (1000 kWh) of power generated by a generator that uses renewable energy, one Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is also “created”. These RECs are then sold separately from the power they generate to energy companies. In this way, and energy company can sell green energy and promote green energy plans and offers.

Many Retail Electric Providers offer green energy plans. Use Personalized.Energy and enter your ZIP code to explore renewable energy options like wind, solar, and other plans using Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for carbon offset.

Shopping for Electricity

If you are on a fixed-rate electricity plan with a contract term that has not completed, you may be charged an early termination fee. Before switching, check your contract expiration date (which should be located on your electricity bill) and the terms of your contract related to Early Termination Fees. With that said, if your contract has ended, or you are on a variable-rate plan, you are free to switch at any time without penalty.

Use Personalized.Energy to find the best plans to fit your needs. Just enter your address, and our AI technology will compare rates and plans from different providers in your area.

This will depend on your state and area regulations. In a state such as Texas, a Retail Energy Provider can change as often as they like. Therefore, you may see energy prices change daily, or even throughout the day. However, in other states, Energy Suppliers might not be able to change rates that frequently. In some states, pricing can only change once a month, at the beginning of the month.

The amount of money you save by switching to a new electricity plan or provider will certainly depend on your usage and the offers available in your area at the time you switch. However, the good news is that we provide you with an apples-to-apples comparison of the market offerings, so you can pick the best plan for your home. (Be advised, if you are currently in the middle of a fixed-rate plan and you have not completed the term of your contract, you may be charged an early termination fee.)

This will depend on the type of energy plan you choose and the energy provider. If you have any concerns about paying a deposit, we encourage you to look at the terms and conditions, also sometimes referred to as Terms of Service (TOS), of the plan. If you still have questions, please contact the provider directly.

The length of time to switch service varies depending on the state you your home is located in and your provider. While in some states you may be able to switch in one to two days, in other states it may not happen until your next billing cycle.

No, your electricity will not be interrupted and your lights will not go out because you are switching energy suppliers. Your local utility will be notified by your new energy supplier that you are switching, and the Utility will coordinate the switch with your current and your new providers.

No. As a matter of fact, we recommend that you don’t. Your local utility will be notified by your new energy provider that you are switching, and the Utility will coordinate the switch. If you notify your current provider and provide them with a date prior to the date you enrolled with the new supplier, you could run the risk of losing power.

The main change will be the price you pay for electricity and who gets paid for supplying your home with that electricity. Whil, in some states such as Texas, you will receive your electric bill from your new retail electricity provider, in most states, you will continue to receive your electric bill from your local utility. However, no matter where you live, your local utility company will stay the same. If there is an outage in your area or any issues with the power line, you will continue to call your local utility.

The electricity provider you choose will not impact the delivery and reliability of electricity. Regardless of who your energy provider is, your local utility will be responsible for the reliability of your electricity service.

There are different rules in different states. For example, in Texas if you are switching retail energy providers, you have up to 3 business days to rescind the offer without penalty. If you change your mind, call the new energy supplier as soon as possible to discuss your options with them.

Energy Billing

Depending on the state you live in, you will either pay your local utility company directly, or you will pay your energy supplier. To confirm who to pay, please look at your bill, where you will find payment remittance directions. Please do not send your payment to Personalized.Energy.

While you have the power to choose your plan in deregulated areas, you should be aware that there are fees for the transmission and distribution of electricity to your home that will be charged by the utility company regardless of which plan you choose. While some energy providers will “bundle” these rates into the price they quote, more often than not, you will see these rates as a line item on your bill. These fees are used to help manage the electric wires, poles, and hardware that delivers electricity to your home, and help to fund the services provided by the utility company.

If you are asking this question, you probably live in Texas. In Texas, the Public Utility of Texas (PUCT), who regulates the market, requires Retail Electricity Providers display the rates on an Electricity Facts Label (EFL) at usage levels of 500, 1000, and 2000 kWh. You will notice that the prices may vary at the different usage levels. This is due to additional fees such as Base Fees, Minimum Usage Charges, and Usage fees, rates, or credits. Your usage will vary month-to-month, so these are just for display purposes and these are solely example prices. With that said, when you input your address at Personalized.Energy, we will take your home’s usage profile and display for you a customized rate tailored to your home and usage regardless of what state or area you live in.

How much you pay for your electricity is a function of how much energy you use and the energy rate and fees specific to your electricity plan.

No, certainly not. Depending on your utility, typically about half of your bil, though sometimes more or less depending on where you live,l is actually what your utility is charging for the transmission and distribution of the electricity to your home. On top of that, the energy provider has to purchase the electricity that you used from the wholesale market and has to pay the generators for that electricity. Whatever remains after your utility is paid and the energy supplier pays for the wholesale electricity, the energy supplier will keep to pay their own bills. In other words, while most people think that the energy supplier makes large margins because the customer is paying high bills, in reality, they are not. A retail energy provider typically makes enough to stay in business, but are not making nearly as much as you might think.

Who to Contact and When

Contact your local utility company. Your utility company’s name and their toll-free number should be located on your electricity bill.

This depends on where you live. In Texas, you will contact your retail energy provider. However, in other states, you may need to contact your utility. To know who you should contact for billing and customer support issues, please look at your bill. Your bill should provide you with billing and outage customer assistance information, including who to call and their contact information.

If you have questions about Personalized.Energy’s website, please feel free to reach out to us at: 1-855-EIQ-DIGI (1-855-347-3444). We simplify the process and provide you with a simple and friendly way to view electricity offers based on your usage. However, we do not create or maintain the plans or prices, and we cannot assist you with issues once you have enrolled in a plan. For questions about plans and pricing, or for issues with your bill, please contact your energy supplier or utility as appropriate in your area.

About Personalized.Energy

Personalized.Energy is in the business of helping you select the best energy plan for you and your needs. Our foundation is built on the extensive expertise of professionals in both the energy and technology sectors. We are dedicated to simplifying the process of selecting the right electricity plan for your home, aiming to make it a personalized, simple, and stress-free experience. Drawing inspiration from the personalized shopping experiences offered by platforms like Netflix and Amazon, we utilize your personal and home energy usage history to provide tailored energy plan recommendations. Our unique ‘Apples to Apples’ comparison approach uses your specific energy usage data, ensuring you can make an informed decision effortlessly.

Personalized.Energy is different from other energy brokers. We have the most comprehensive collection of offers in your market and take a process that can be confusing and make it simple and hassle-free. We do the work for you by analyzing your home location and personal usage profile, allowing you to compare the offers apples-to-apples, and finding the plan that best-suits your needs. Best of all, we do not charge you to use our services.

Personalized.Energy only can display energy plan options in deregulated markets. With that said, while we are quickly expanding, we are not available in all energy choice markets just yet. If you are looking to compare energy plans and you live in a deregulated area but don’t see any current electricity offers for your on our site, check back again soon.

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