FAQs About Energy Switching And Energy Choice

We get a lot of questions about how to switch energy suppliers and how to compare energy plans as we work to help our customers make the best choice for their homes. Here, we share some of the most common questions we hear.

 

BGE Budget Billing: My bill suddenly went up from a lower number each month to a much higher number. Why did that happen?

What happens when my electricity or gas contract term ends?

What happens if I move before my energy contract is over?

What is energy choice?

What should I know before choosing a supplier?

How do I know if energy switching or an alternative supplier is right for me?

How does energy switching/energy choice work?

What is the difference between rates on your site versus the suppliers’ websites?

Will I be notified when my contract is ending?

I am already under contract, but I want to switch to a rate I see on your site, what will happen if I enroll in the rate I see on your site?

When do I have to pay an early termination fee?

What are the pros and cons of an energy contract term?

Are my gas and electricity contracts separate?

What are the hidden fees when I sign an energy contract?

Is PointClickSwitch a utility company?

What is PointClickSwitch?

Can I use PointClickSwitch if I’m a renter?

Does PointClickSwitch work in all states? What states are deregulated for energy?

How does PointClickSwitch make money?

How is PointClickSwitch different than other energy shopping websites?

Where can I get more information on PCS Contract Watcher and PCS Bill Advisor?

 

BGE: I am on budget billing with BGE. My bill suddenly went up from a lower number each month to a much higher number. Why did that happen?

With budget billing, BGE holds your energy bill steady at a specific amount over a period of time so that you can predict what your bill will be each month. To do this, they estimate what you will owe on average each month and charge you that average. Some months that average will be greater than what you used, others it will be less. When your budget billing amount changes, that is to adjust your monthly charge to be more in line with the actual cost of the energy you have been using. You can find more information here: BGE Billing Options

 

What happens when my electricity or gas contract term ends?

About 30 to 45 days before the end of your contract, your supplier may send you a notification to tell you what rate, term, and fees they will convert you to after your energy contract ends. We recommend that you return to PointClickSwitch.com and compare that offer from your current supplier against other offers in the market. You may switch energy suppliers at any time, but keep in mind that if you switch before your term is complete, you may incur an early termination fee. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions of your energy contract to find out what that fee is.

 

What happens if I move before my energy contract is over?

Be sure to read your Terms and Conditions to find out what your energy contract plan’s rules are for if you move during your contract term. Many energy plans available on PointClickSwitch allow you to transfer your contract to your new home or terminate your contract without a fee in the event that you move during your original contract term.

 

What is energy switching/energy choice?

Energy switching or energy choice is where residential and business customers can elect to have a company other than their utility provide power to their property. Companies who provide electricity and gas under energy choice are called suppliers. Typically, your utility owns and maintains the power lines to your property and also provides the power that you use. In energy deregulated states, residential and business consumers can choose a supplier to send them their electricity and natural gas instead of the utility’s default option. The benefit of energy choice is you may choose a greener power provider or simply choose a company that is offering a traditional energy source for a lower cost than your utility.

 

What should I know before choosing an energy supplier?

The most important thing you need to know before choosing an energy supplier is your current electricity and gas rates. These are a cost per kilowatt hour and a cost per therm. On your bill, look for any line items that say “Electricity Supply” “Gas Supply” “Cost to Compare” or “Generation Charges”. These will typically have an equation that looks like this, “XXXX kWh x $.0XXX” or XXXX therm x $.XXXX” where the number of kWh or therms are the total amount you have used for that billing period. These line items will tell you how much the actual electricity and natural gas you receive costs you. Whenever you are choosing an energy supplier you will want to know how their rate compares to the rate you are already paying.

Having trouble finding your current electricity or gas rate? Email us your bill and we’ll help: [email protected].

 

How do I know if energy switching or an alternative supplier is right for me?

Energy switching and alternative suppliers are the easiest and cheapest way to save money on your energy bill. With 3 minutes on PointClickSwitch.com you can save 15-20% on your monthly energy bill without having to change your lifestyle. For many households, energy choice is the best first step in the journey to reducing utility costs and energy usage.

 

How does energy switching or energy choice work?

Think of energy choice a little like a cell phone. When you buy an iPhone, Apple is the maker of your phone, and you go to them anytime you have issues with actually using the phone itself. To make calls, send texts and use apps however, you need a service provider for your phone like AT&T or Verizon. Your service provider allows your phone can make calls and connect to the internet.

If you think about your house, it is connected to power and the grid by your utility. When you have issues with using your electricity, you go to your utility. For people living in deregulated states, you have the added benefit of being able to choose where the electricity and gas comes from for your home instead of being required to use the utility’s supply of default power. When you choose an electricity or natural gas supplier, you get to choose to have green power, or just power that is just cheaper than what your utility offers. For most deregulated states, when your house is built the utility is required to provide you with their default electricity and gas, but you can switch from that default to an electricity or gas supplier of your choice anytime.

 

What is the difference between rates on your site versus the suppliers’ websites?

People choose PointClickSwitch because we transparently share rates from multiple suppliers. We make it easy for you to compare rates and we provide unbiased guidance to our users for selecting a rate and supplier. This works just like when you go to a site like Kayak.com or Priceline to compare airfares. Because we bring together prices from multiple suppliers and can help consumers learn about those suppliers and energy choice, we can offer some preferential rates that may not be available on suppliers’ websites.

 

Will I be notified when my contract is ending?

Your supplier should send you a notification 30 to 45 days before the end of your contract. This may come by postal mail or email. As a service to our clients, PointClickSwitch offers “PCS Contract Watcher” which can monitor the dates of your contract and send you an additional notification when your contract is about to end. In that notification, we can update you on what the best rates are in the market so that you can choose between your current supplier and those options.

 

I am already under contract, but I want to switch to a rate I see on your site, what will happen if I enroll in the rate I see on your site?

When you enroll in a rate on our site, your current contract is automatically terminated. Make sure that your current energy supplier will not charge you a termination fee before switching, or that you will save enough on your new rate to make it worth it to pay that termination fee.

 

When do I have to pay an early termination fee?

Rules for early termination fees will be explained in the Terms and Conditions of your chosen supplier’s plan, be sure to read these carefully. Typically, you will have to pay an early termination fee if you end your contract with your supplier before the end of your signed contract’s term. The amount of a termination fee can vary from supplier to supplier. On PointClickSwitch.com, you will see the termination fee stated clearly in the line item for that plan.

 

What are the pros and cons of an energy contract term?

Energy contract terms can vary from as short as 1 month to as long as 36 months. Which term is right for you depends on your needs. Because the price of electricity and gas are market based commodities they can change sometimes drastically on a day to day basis. If you are good at tracking your contract end dates, and checking for the best rates, you may prefer a shorter term. If you want to “set it and forget it,” a longer term may be your best choice. In either case, you could end up paying less or more than the average for that time period. To help even this out, PointClickSwitch has created PCS Bill Advisor, which will not only monitor your contract like our Contract Watcher product, but if we find a better rate (even when your termination fee is factored in), we can automatically switch you so you can take advantage of the savings without having to visit the site. Currently, this product is only available to existing PointClickSwitch customers.

 

Are my gas and electricity contracts separate?

Yes, unless the Terms and Conditions of your contract state otherwise, your electricity and gas contracts are separate.

 

What are the hidden fees when I sign an energy contract?

Because energy plans are contracts, you must be sure to read through the fine print to know what you are agreeing to. PointClickSwitch makes fees transparent so that you can make your decision with the best possible information. Some common fees are listed below. Please be advised this is not a comprehensive list.

  • Service Fee: Some suppliers will charge a service or administrative fee on top of the cost of the energy they supply to you
  • Early Termination Fee: A fee charged for canceling your contract before the end of the term

 

Is PointClickSwitch.com a utility company?

No, PointClickSwitch.com is not a utility or an energy supplier. We are a third-party energy shopping website, dedicated to providing transparent, easy to use information on electricity and gas rates. Our products are consumer-first to help you make the best energy decisions for your home and your family.

 

What is PointClickSwitch?

PointClickSwitch.com is an energy shopping site where renters and homeowners can search, select and enroll in electricity and natural gas plans. We are unaffiliated with utilities and suppliers, and our interests are only aligned with the consumer, to help you find the best rates and contracts for your home.

 

Can I use PointClickSwitch if I’m a renter?

Yes, renters and homeowners in deregulated states are all able to take advantage of energy choice by enrolling in electricity and natural gas contracts. As long as you have a utility bill in your name, you can enroll in an energy contract for a better rate or greener power.

 

Does PointClickSwitch work in all states? What states are deregulated for energy?

PointClickSwitch works in the following states:

Energy deregulation has also taken place to some degree in: California, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas.

 

How does PointClickSwitch make money?

When consumers use our site to enroll with an energy plan, we are paid a referral by the supplier. You, as the consumer, do not pay us to use our site or enroll with a plan.

 

How is PointClickSwitch different than other energy shopping websites?

Every site has their own strength. Here at PointClickSwitch, we are consumer-first. Our customer service and products are all about making sure you as the customer are getting the best information, rates, and advice possible. Sometimes that means you won’t enroll with a rate on our site. For us, what’s most important is that you get the information, rates and products that are right for you. Our PCS ContractWatcher and PCS Bill Advisor products are made to solve some of the most common issues customers face, namely higher cost energy rates after the end of a contract term. With these and our high-touch customer service, we act as consumer advocates every step of the way.

 

Where can I get more information on PCS Contract Watcher and PCS Bill Advisor?

Call (888.826.1316) or email us at [email protected]

 

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