Whether working by yourself or with a broker, here are some things to keep in mind if you’re looking to switch your energy supplier. You may be dissatisfied with the services you’re paying for, or it’s possible you’re just looking to save a few extra dollars per month. Whatever your rationale, switching your energy supplier can help your business cut costs and operate more efficiently. But making the jump without understanding the crucial details of finding a new energy supplier could cause an unnecessary headache. That’s why it’s important to have a firm grasp of what to look for in a great energy supplier before switching.
In some cases, finding an energy broker to shop for a new supplier relieves you of having to do it yourself. However, if you’ve decided to fly solo in choosing a new energy supplier, you’ll need to go beyond just considering the cost. Here are five key characteristics to look out for in a stellar energy supplier:
Exceptional experience and financial standing
Choosing an energy supplier that’s credible, reliable, and financially stable is simply smart business. Look for energy suppliers that can offer years of experience and deep-rooted industry expertise.
Likewise, a great supplier will also have firm credibility and a solid financial standing. A quick Google search can yield important insights into the supplier’s financial status, such as their current statements (or their parent company’s statements), a credit rating, and reviews from longstanding customers. You’ll also want to ensure that the supplier is reliable with their uptime and doesn’t have a history of supply continuity issues.
Transparency and outstanding customer service
Great suppliers possess outstanding communication skills. When shopping around, take notes on how responsive the suppliers you contact are. Are they easy to get in touch with, or are you constantly being left on hold? It’s also good practice to assess their online portals and account management tools — are they easy to navigate, or will they just cause you added stress?
Additionally, great suppliers always practice transparency with their clients. They offer clear explanations of costs, contracts, and market intelligence pre-sale. They should also provide the necessary resources for recommending savings programs and opportunities.
Depending on the size of your business and your energy consumption targets, a reputable supplier will also allocate adequate support to your account post-sale. Whether you have a simple billing question or require an entire overhaul of your energy strategy, a great supplier will be quick to serve your needs with a team of experts ready to help.
Diverse pricing options
Instead of employing a one-size-fits-all approach, suppliers should work with customers to ensure they’re getting the pricing scheme that falls in line with their business goals.
Some suppliers offer matrix pricing (mass market pricing), which varies based on factors like which state you’re in, the utility, rate class, demand, and annual usage. You’ll need to determine the threshold for matrix pricing (for example, a threshold of one million kilowatt-hours annually for electricity customers).
In other cases, suppliers will offer custom pricing, typically for larger customers who consume between 1-2 million kilowatt-hours per year. Some suppliers might offer custom pricing at lower thresholds than others, so it’s wise to double-check with the supplier.
You should also ensure your new supplier can help you choose between fixed or index (variable) pricing. Fixed price products allow you to determine a set price for the supply portion of your bill. No matter what happens in the market, your energy price will remain the same. Alternatively, index pricing changes regularly based on the market. This is the riskier option of the two, given that you may be subject to price increases should the market change. However, it also means you could potentially save on your monthly bill.
A broad product selection
Whether you need electricity, natural gas, or both, the best suppliers provide their customers with a broad range of options. Outstanding suppliers also offer solutions for procuring renewable energy, such as through renewable energy certificates (RECs). Most regions enable businesses to purchase some or all of their electricity from renewable sources.
A portfolio of additional services
You know you’ve met a great supplier when they offer services that go beyond simple energy procurement. These might include programs aimed at cost savings and efficiency, demand response, and load management to ease demand on the grid during peak usage periods.
A great energy supplier goes above and beyond to help clients procure their energy efficiently and economically — so don’t settle until you’ve found one that will do just that!
If you are still unsure how to navigate the energy suppliers’ world for your business, pick a great energy broker to help you out. They are experts and can do all the heavy lifting for your business.