This post is brought to you by ElectricityPlans.com and NaturalGasPlans.com. All opinions are my own.
In some states you can select your own natural gas and electricity suppliers for your home or apartment. But for many, the thought of negotiating utility suppliers sounds daunting. There’s a lot of fine print involved with comparing offers and contracts when you are figuring out how to save on utilities.
In fact, there is often so much fine print that I recently made a mistake when negotiating our electricity supplier, leaving us paying extra fees for the next six months. But now I’ve learned of two websites that very well could have helped me avoid that mistake. They make the utility selection process less complicated and more transparent.
How to Save on Utilities
Shopping for the Best Utility Rates
The websites are ElectricityPlans.com and NaturalGasPlans.com and both are totally FREE to use. Each site is dedicated to showcasing the best rates for electricity and natural gas. They display providers in a way that makes it easy to shop.
Any hidden fees or terms and conditions are revealed so you know up front what you are agreeing to when switching utility suppliers. Using these sites is one way to find the best natural gas rate in Cleveland and the best electricity rate in Cleveland.
My Electricity Shopping Mistake
In Ohio we have a deregulated market for both electricity and natural gas. This means you can select what company you want to purchase your utilities from. By shopping for utilities you can save money and know up front what your costs will be. This is especially helpful if you live on a budget.
Many people may neglect, however, to shop for new utility providers because the process sounds intimidating and confusing. It wasn’t until becoming homeowners that I decided to try this myself. And now, even years later, I found myself making a simple mistake while shopping.
What happened was I signed a contract with a new electricity supplier and agreed to pay a fixed rate for the electricity (like I normally do) along with a monthly administrative fee. The administrative fee is where I screwed up. This has caused our electric bills for the next six months to be higher than I anticipated.
The contract is legally binding so I have no way to get out of it now. I need to wait until the contract expires. Then I can look for a new supplier again.
More About How to Save on Utilities
Using ElectricityPlans.com and NaturalGasPlans.com to shop for utility suppliers is one way to avoid such a mishap. The sites were founded in 2017 by a husband and wife team in Texas. They also found shopping for suppliers to be confusing and wanted to make the process easier for consumers.
Shopping for utility suppliers does not have to be anxiety-inducing. These websites were created to help consumers find better options for their electricity and natural gas in deregulated markets such as Ohio.
The sites only suggest fixed rate deals. This lets you lock in an electricity or natural gas price and know what you will be paying. Fixed rate deals are also great for budgeting!
Understanding Your Utility Bill
Cleveland and some of the surrounding areas are part of the NOPEC Aggregation Program. This is an opt-out aggregation. This means if you didn’t raise your hand and say “not me” you were switched to NOPEC’s supplier already. But there is no need to be alarmed.
If you’re in the aggregation program you can leave at any time with no penalty. The rate you were placed on is a variable rate, which is a price that changes every month. If you look at your utility bill it will indicate if you are in the aggregation program along with what you are paying each month.
How to Select Your Utility Supplier
In order to change your supplier, first you will want to gather your natural gas and electricity bills so you have your account or customer number handy. This number will be needed to change suppliers. Here are next steps…
• When you visit either website, you will see a simliar format. Both sites are easy to navigate. First select your state from the drop down menu and then enter your zip code in the search box. This will show offers for your area. Below are direct links to Ohio offers:
• Next, compare plans from multiple providers. You can search by plan type (such as green options, renewable energy for electricity or carbon neutral for gas). You will also find any applicable incentives listed. You will see plan details and pricing in a simple to read format. You can shop for electricity and shop for natural gas.
• Click the sign up button for the provider you have selected. Alternately, you can call the provider and enroll via phone. Both sites list the phone number for each provider.
• After you enroll with a new provider you will receive email confirmation of your new agreement (if you signed up online). After enrollment you will also receive paper confirmation in the mail from your new supplier.
• You will continue to receive your bill from your local utility company. Here in the Cleveland area for me it is Dominion Energy for natural gas and The Illuminating Company for electricity. Be sure to shop every year to make sure you always lock in the best power or natural gas rate.
Negotiating Utility Rates Outside of Ohio
If you are not an Ohio resident, please know that you might still be able to shop for new suppliers online.
- ElectricityPlans.com is also available to residents in Connecticut and Texas.
- NaturalGasPlans.com is also available to residents in Michigan and Georgia.
More about ElectricityPlans.com and NaturalGasPlans.com
When I learned about these websites I wondered how they were different from other utility aggregation websites, and how providers are selected, so I asked these questions. The suppliers featured on the sites have a commission-based relationship in order to be featured.
The homepage highlights deals from vetted suppliers. Recommended providers are limited to those with solid financial backing and good reputation in the industry. However, for you as a consumer, the price offered on these sites is no different than prices offered elsewhere.
Using these websites is FREE to you and your data will not be collected. The sites also serve as a resource for consumers. If you would like to learn more about saving money on utilities and selecting providers be sure to sign up for their newsletter, which features these tips.
How to Save Money on Utilities
Negotiating your natural gas and electricity suppliers is a great way to save on your utility bills. Selecting a fixed rate can also help if you live on a budget. By comparing available offers, plans and rates you can be a more informed consumer when selecting which utility plan is best for your household.
- You can find ElectricityPlans.com on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- And find NaturalGasPlans.com on Facebook and Twitter.
What is holding you back from choosing a supplier?
Disclosure: I partnered with ElectricityPlans.com and NaturalGasPlans.com for this post and received compensation in exchange for writing a blog post about selecting utility providers and highlighting the services provided by both websites. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.