Important Questions To Ask A Connecticut Electricity Company

by admin on January 6, 2010

When determining which Connecticut electricity company to go with you can’t just go with the provider offering a no deposit choice or you may get hooked into a false promise. If you still end up having to pay $500 a month for electricity service you really only postponed the nightmare a little longer.

A more important consideration is to first understand the advertised electricity price the Connecticut electric provider is advertising to you. As a rule of thumb the sales guy on the phone is usually much more loose with the promises regarding your electric rate than what you see in writing. Always read through the electricity facts label before signing or agreeing on the phone to a contract.

Note: A recorded phone contract is just as legally binding as when you sign a piece of paper. If you received a different electric rate from a CT energy supplier than what the guy on the phone promised you should be able to get out of your contract but not without some yelling and arm twisting.

Things to Look For And Ask Your CT Energy Supplier

  • Ask the Electricity Company, CL&P or UI if its energy proposal is all-inclusive or not all-inclusive, so you can compare their electricity rate offer with a competive electric company accurately. Energy Suppliers, CL&P and UI in Connecticut are required to disclose this information to you in their energy facts labels as well as competing electricity companies in CT. If you have not been shown an energy facts label for the electricity rate you are being quoted be sure to ask to see one. Look to make sure the rate is an all-in bundled electricity price.
  • An all-inclusive bundled Connecticut electricity rate includes all Transmission and Generation charges and fees related to the generation portion of your electricity bill included in the price of the Generation Service Charge (GSC). An unbundled electric price does not bundle in all charges including GSC charges which will make the rate look much better than it really is. Along with GSC charges are your “Energy Only” charges which is what the competitive electricity company is responsible for.
  • Make sure your energy contract specifies if the electricity price is a fixed rate or variable rate. A fixed electric rate is the most popular price because you know what you will be paying and can budget it. A variable electricity rate can change based on market conditions including fuel prices on the commodities market. It is not uncommon for a variable rate to double in price at certain times of the year. Tricks some Connecticut electric providers may try would be to offer you a fixed rate but have a stipulation that a fuel surcharge has been added which can allow the fixed rate to change. This would not be a real fixed rate. A variable rate trick would be to advertise a low variable price but specify in the details of the CT energy contract that the beginning variable electric rate will be what the variable price is as of the day the customer switches. This allows an energy company to advertise one rate while charging something different.
  • Verify what the fixed electricity rate term will be. A term is simply how many months your electricity rate is fixed for in which it will not change in price. Some energy companies will over you a very good deal on a short fixed term of 3 months only to drastically increase your rate once it comes off the 3rd month. This allows a Connecticut energy provider to double their profit margin simply by leaving it to the customer to remember to lock in their electric price before the contract expires.
  • Determine if there will be a monthly meter fee or customer service fee. These fees when averaged into your average electricity usage each month can add an additional 1 – 3 cents to your per kilowatt hour rate. So if you were quoted 8 cents per kWh but have a large monthly meter fee your rate might really be 10 cents per kWh.
  • Every Connecticut electricity company will want a deposit if you have bad credit or no existing credit history. If you think you fall in the bad credit risk customer category our energy consultants may be able to help. You can speak to one of our consultant regarding your no deposit choices for commercial or residential Connecticut electricity companies in your area. Call us at 1-800-971-4020

Other questions you can ask a potential supplier:

    1. Is the CT Electricity Provider licensed by the CT DPUC (Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control) http://www.ct.gov/dpuc?
    2. When you choose a CT electric supplier ask the Energy Supplier to estimate your electric generation costs relative to CL&P’s/ UI’s and to explain other possible benefits of switching your commercial or residential electricity service. The average residential customer in CT uses 700 kWh per month. This would be a good comparison starting point. Some examples of the possible benefits are cost savings, budget certainty, risk management, product offerings and renewable energy.
    3. How does the CT Electric Provider bundled energy price compare with an equivalent CL&P or UI GSC charge?
    4. Does the CT electricity company have an option hidden in the contract that allows them to change a “fixed rate” if the CL&P or UI GSC generation cost changes? A true fixed electricity rate hedges their energy price so the fixed rate cannot change regardless of what generation costs do.
    5. If I switch to a competitive Connecticut electricity company, will my Generation Service Charge (GSC) still be on the CL&P/ UI bill or will I receive a separate bill from my new electric company?
    6. Will my new Connecticut electricity company charge a late payment if I do not send in my bill by the due date? How long do I have to pay my energy bill and what is the cost of the late payment? When will electric service get cut off for failure to pay my bill?
    7. Does the CT Energy Company provide green and renewable energy options besides electricity produced from coal, natural gas, and nuclear? Are their any carbon neutral electricity choices using carbon credits or carbon offsets?
    8. What is the electricity supplier’s contact information if I have questions and will it be located on the bill in case of an electrical outage?

The questions above will help you in picking a reputable honest electricity company in the deregulated Connecticut electricity market. The main thing to watch out for are tricks and gimmicks used by prepaid and pay as you go electricity companies. The initial electricity turn on fee offered by no deposit prepaid electric companies is only a small portion of the total monthly charge. Get a good estimate of what the total charges will look like before agreeing to anything or you may end up paying more than a deposit you declined with a cheaper Connecticut electricity provider.

You will also want to pay close attention that your electricity rate is a total bundled rate that does not include any other fees and charges. If there are additional unclear charges or fees have the electricity provider average these into the advertised rate for you based on your estimated electricity usage. Most Connecticut residences only use about 700 kWh a month. If your total electricity rate was .08 a kilowatt hour than that would be a $56 monthly charge. If there is an additional $10 meter fee and a $12 customer service fee that the energy company did not tell you about that would increase your bill cost to $78 a month. Be sure to check on any hidden fees with your CT energy provider before signing or agreeing to a contract.

If you would like to explore other US states that have no deposit choices for their electricity service than please visit our Texas and Pennsylvania pages.

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