In order to make well-informed decisions, energy customers retain the right to exercise their consumer rights. The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA), recognizes the importance of consumer protection, especially when it comes to energy shoppers in competitive markets. RESA strives to help educate shoppers on their options when it comes to choosing a retail energy supplier that best meets their individual needs.
In states that have competitive energy markets, consumers may choose from one of many retail suppliers competing for their business. Unfortunately, many shoppers do not know about the various programs, or about the vast consumer protections put in place within the electric industry and do not exercise their freedom of energy choice. RESA is helping energy consumers identify six rights when it comes to choosing an energy supplier:
- The Right to Prioritize: The first step in making an informed decision is determining your priorities. Do you want to find a supplier with a renewable energy product? Do you prefer gas or electric? Maybe you want to find the least expensive plan available. In a competitive energy market, the choice is yours! So, in order to find your ideal energy provider, you must first identify what is most important to you.
- The Right to Analyze: Use your current provider, as a point of comparison, and review your bills from the past year in detail. Are there any charges on your bill you don’t understand? How much have you been paying each month? Does your current provider offer good customer service? Once you understand the cost of energy and service for your residence or business, it will be easier to identify what you may want in an ideal supplier.
- The Right to Research: If you live in a state with a competitive market, you have the power to choose an energy supplier that suits your needs, at a competitive price. In order to choose the best provider for your home or business, diligent research on credible websites and platforms is imperative. Explore the states section on our website and your state-run shopping website to learn more about your state’s available energy options, contacts, state news and more.
- The Right to Understand: There are many options to consider in the retail energy industry, including rates and plan length. Fixed-rate and variable rate are two examples of product plans. In a fixed-rate plan, you will pay the same rates for your service throughout the plan contract. The only factor that will vary is usage, which you can control. With a variable rate plan, your rates change monthly depending on the current market price. Furthermore, most energy providers offer different plan lengths, ranging from 3 to 36 months. To determine which products and services make the most sense for you, you will need to understand what the energy retail supplier is offering.
- The Right to Credibility: Once you have completed the initial research into your state’s energy options, dig a little deeper into the reputation and credibility of the retail energy supplier. Does the company have a respected history? Is it well-established? Be sure to look at reviews from the company’s customers, review the company’s website and read the Better Business Bureau’s reports.
- The Right to Choose: As an energy consumer in a competitive market, you have the right to choose your own energy supplier, so exercise your rights and be sure to explore your options!
Understanding your energy rights is one of the key ways to protect yourself as an energy consumer. Wondering if your state offers a competitive retail energy market? Click here to view our list of energy suppliers.