Fact Sheets: Choosing an Energy Supplier
You may have the opportunity to choose your energy supplier. These suppliers are
called competitive service providers (CSP) and must be licensed by the SCC. Competitive
service providers are companies that generate, produce or contract for electricity
or natural gas for delivery to a local utility. The price for the supply of the
energy provided by the competitive service providers is not regulated.
Same Reliable Service – Same Delivery
Whether or not you decide to choose a new competitive service provider, distribution
service -- the actual delivery of electricity and natural gas to your home or business
-- will still be provided by your local utility. The utility will remain as your
local distribution company (LDC), and a charge for delivery service will still appear
on your bill. Delivery will still be regulated to ensure safe and reliable service.
You will continue to notify your local distribution company about safety issues
or service interruptions.
Price to Compare
Price to compare information may appear on your monthly bill. It is a benchmark
to help you compare what you currently pay for electricity or natural gas supply
service with any competitive offers that you receive.
Steps to Choosing an Energy Supplier
- Before you choose a competitive service provider, decide what is important to you.
Many people look for the lowest price first. But others may be looking for extra
services, flexible payment terms, a known brand name, or an energy source.
- Contact the competitive suppliers to ask questions and compare offers.
- Make sure you know all the details before you agree to change energy providers.
Carefully read and understand all terms and conditions of the contract.
- Contact the competitive service provider directly to find out how to sign up. You
do not need to call your local utility; your new competitive service provider will
do that for you. Remember that it is illegal for you to be switched to a new competitive
service provider without your permission.
- You have 10 days to change your mind without penalty. After that period, there may
be a penalty fee if you cancel your contract before it ends.
Questions to Ask a Supplier
- Do you have a license from the SCC?
- What is the offer price (per kilowatt-hour or per Ccf/therm)?
- Is the price fixed or does it change? If so, how?
- What other fees do you charge? How about if I cancel?
- What is the term of the contract? What about renewal?
- How am I going to be billed?
- Is there an incentive or special offer for signing up?
- Is a budget plan available?
- What sources are used to produce the energy?
- What other services do you offer?
- When can I expect service to begin?
What is Aggregation?
An aggregator is a person or organization that forms buying groups, which are formed
within a community, non-profit organization, or business association. Through aggregation,
you may be able to get lower prices through volume discounts for the group and its
members. Like competitive service providers in Virginia, all aggregators must be
licensed by the SCC.