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Most people choose the electric supplier that the previous homeowner used or the biggest name in the area. Switching providers seems like hard work and most people don’t realize they can shop around to find better options. However, you could save money and help the planet by looking into different energy companies. Follow these tips to choose key electricity providers in your area.

1. Find companies with favorable rates.

One of the most important things to look for when searching for electric services is the rate. By changing suppliers, you could reduce your electric bill and use that money for other home improvement projects.

Use an electricity compare tool to evaluate different rates in your area. While many companies claim to offer the lowest price, some might be more expensive than you realize. The main metric to look for is the kWh (Kilowatt-hour). The cost of kWh often changes throughout the day. It gets more expensive at peak times—like the hottest summer hours when everyone is running their air conditioning units—and drops when fewer people use electricity.

While certain kWh rates might be favorable most of the time, a supplier can dramatically increase the costs when demand is high. Do your research on the kWh of different providers so you can find rates that are favorable.

2. Learn what is available for your zip code.

Just because you find an alternate supplier with a favorable kWh doesn’t mean you can sign up for their electric plan. Not all companies serve national audiences and some providers aren’t even available across whole states. Before you start the process of changing supplies, make sure the company you are interested in services your zip code. You can even see if there are any neighbors that use this alternate supplier and seek feedback on their experience.

The last thing you want is to find out a supplier doesn’t provide electricity for your area, causing you to return to the drawing board to find a new option.

3. Look for companies that use renewable energy.

More consumers than ever are in favor of using renewable energy. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 80% of Americans are in favor of investing more in solar power and 70% of Americans want more investment in wind power. Conversely, people want less investment in fossil fuels like coal and oil, with 50% and 43% of respondents respectively wanting less emphasis on these energy sources.

This drive toward renewable resources is good news for residential customers who want alternative suppliers for their energy. They can look for companies that speak to their core values and pull their energy from solar or wind systems.

As you search for new providers, ask how they get their energy and whether or not they prioritize renewable resources over fuels like natural gas.

4. Read customer service reviews.

If you have a problem, how quickly can you reach out to your electric company and ask for help? If your kWh spikes, can you call a customer service representative for answers?

Customer service is a key part of choosing an electric provider. You need customer care to easily pay your bill and address outages. This is particularly true for residential customers in storm-prone areas. For example, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey a few years back, many Houston residents were without power for several days.

You need to make sure your lights stay on—and are restored quickly in a crisis. Make sure you keep this in mind as you shop for providers.

Shopping around for a new electricity provider doesn’t have to be difficult. If you can find providers that serve your zip code and know how to read kWh rates, then you can choose the best supplier for your needs. Take steps today to save money and have a better utility experience.

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