The current economic situation has lead many of us to seek ways that we can lower our necessary monthly expenses. From coupon clipping to taking the bus, we are changing our life styles to afford the payments due on monthly bills. We make choices every day of whether to buy name brand or generic brand grocery items, whether to drive 3 extra miles to pay 1% less per gallon of gas, and choosing which diapers are going to be most cost effective. Few people realize that in over half the states in the US, you have a choice of who you pay for your energy supply. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the mission of removing barriers to free-market competition of energy (thus breaking up energy monopolies) which will lower the cost to the customer. Each state has it’s own method for developing what level of deregulation they decide will work best for their state.
With the deregulation, the market opens up for retail energy supply companies to come in, and with competition, the customers of the free market can dictate how much they will pay for energy, and what types of energy they will buy. This is reflected in the choices that are made. A good example of the free market influence is detailed in the article Free Market The Power of Choice. When electricity customers have a range of choices they not only influence the way companies do business, but they also are more likely to find an energy plan that works best for their individual life style-fixed rate plans, Green Energy plans, guaranteed savings plans, etc…. The New York State Public Service Commission even has a tool where customers can put in their zip-code and get a listing of the energy suppliers in their area, which can then be sorted by average price for the last month, rate per kilowatt hour, plan options, etc…
There are many different retail energy providers, some older, some newer. Some are working hard to establish themselves for the long term, thus relying on being honest with their customers, while other companies are looking for a quick profit rather than long term stability. If you truly want to live more frugally and save money every month on your utility bills (which fluctuate with the market every month), it is worth your time to look at what choices you have in your area. Watch the fine print, and when someone offers you savings, make sure there is a guarantee for on-going savings not just one time sign up specials.
It is worth your time, energy, and frugal sensibilities to look at what choices you have, and compare them to other plans available in your area. Frugal living and the free market go hand in hand, but only if you exercise your right to choose. Remember, YOU have the power to CHOOSE, you have the POWER to SAVE! Exercise your CHOICE.