One way to get the most from your energy costs is to choose another electricity supplier. Depending on your area you are not typically bound to a default option. This power to choose your electricity supplier can really cut your energy costs.

Before we get into how to do this, we should give you a clear definition of what an electric company does. The supplier is who you pay for your electricity service, the local utility company, who owns the poles and wires, is who gets it to your house or business. So, switching an energy supplier should be a way to lower your electric bill and save you money, not to improve unreliable service.

Here are some tips on how to find the best electricity supplier for your home or business.

Find your state’s list of licensed energy suppliers – Retail electricity providers must be licensed to sell energy through a public utility, and all states keep an online list. The public utility commissions for some states even post a complaints scorecard that compares each electricity supplier’s reputation within a market.

Know what you currently pay –  Find your utility bills for the last 12 months and find your price per kilowatt hour (kWh), any service charges, additional taxes for your area, and the average amount you paid per kWh. This gives you a baseline for comparison. It is entirely possible you are already getting the lowest possible rate.

Arm yourself with questions – Is the rate per kWh a fixed price? What are the monthly service charges?  Are taxes included? Will you have to sign a contract and are there fees if you break it? What are the terms and conditions? Who do you contact for billing issues?

Know what to avoid – Low introductory offers sound great at first but can skyrocket later. Also, if you have to sign a contract, you will want to avoid any auto-renewal clauses, especially if you plan to relocate.

Of course, if you don’t have the stomach or the time for all this legwork and auditing, Energeia Consultants will be happy to handle them for you. It’s never too late to review what you are paying and find a better option.

Other than turning completely to renewable energy and staying off the grid, your choice of energy supplier can go a long way to saving you a bundle on your energy bills.