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Energy Providers Energy Providers 

In most areas of the country, you have the right to choose an energy provider to service your home. There is usually a primary provider who maintains the lines and services most of the homes and businesses. However, there are usually some smaller energy providers that also service the same area using the primary provider's lines. When there are multiple energy providers servicing your location, you have the right to choose which of the providers you are going to use for your services. Making the right decision about the service provider can save you a considerable amount of money if you keep a reign on your energy use and do your homework about the providers.

Consider the Size of the Energy Providers

While the size of the energy providers may not seem like a big factor, it can actually be a huge factor when you are considering switching providers. A smaller provider may not be able to react as quickly as a larger provider if your services are knocked out by a natural disaster. This doesn't necessarily affect all smaller providers, as some have contracts with the larger provider to service the lines in the area. This is sometimes the case when a very large primary provider owns the lines in the area. In this case, the smaller energy provider pays the larger company to keep all the customers on line.

Consider the Electricity Rates the Provider Charges

Energy rates can vary greatly from one provider to another, so you have to look into the rates of all of the energy providers. A quick call to the provider or to an energy advocacy group is all that is needed to find out the current rates that the provider is charging. Don't stop at checking out the current rates. You should also check the past rates of the provider and how they compared to other providers. Ideally, you will obtain two to five years of historical data. Some providers make comparisons such as this available on its website.

Consider the Customer Charge of the Energy Provider

A customer charge is a monthly charge that you must pay just to be a customer of the energy provider. In most cases, this fee isn't much; however, some smaller energy providers may charge considerably more than larger companies. When you are checking out the customer charge, try to get an amount per energy unit that you will pay based on your unique energy usage. Do this for every provider you are considering by dividing the customer charge by the amount of energy you use in a month. Add that amount to the energy rate you are charged per unit. This gives you an estimate of the actual charges you will pay per unit.

Consider the Customer Satisfaction Rate of the Energy Provider

Even if a company is the least expensive company, they may offer excellent customer service. You have to check out the customer satisfaction of the companies you are considering. You don't want to choose a cheap energy provider if you won't be able to get a customer service person on the phone when you need one. You have to weigh the energy providers' fees against the customer satisfaction to determine which one is the best choice for you.