April 27, 2016
Under the auspices of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority or PURA, the State of Connecticut has established EnergizeCT, a robust, well-designed and consumer-friendly electricity shopping website that routinely posts competitive generation supply products offered by licensed retail electricity suppliers.
A review by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) of EnergizeCT shows more than two dozen competitive retail energy suppliers actively posting 212 different product offerings at prices highly competitive with default rates offered by the state’s utility companies.
The review shows there are a significant number of competitive pricing plans with terms of service that vary from six to 12 months that offer Connecticut electricity consumers the opportunity to beat the current Standard Service rates by 20 percent, 25 percent and in some cases over 30 percent.
“A wealth of competitive electricity products offer Connecticut consumers the opportunity to realize savings on their bill,” observed Marc Hanks, RESA’s New England chairman. “But there are also a wide range of value-added product offerings, the most prominent among them being ‘green’ energy products that offer consumers an opportunity to buy electricity that meets their environmental preferences.”
The vast majority of the competitive offers on EnergizeCT – 181 or roughly 85 percent – provide the customer with some percentage of “green” renewable energy. Of those 181 “green” offers, 47 (or 22 percent of the total 212 offers) provide the consumer with 100 percent renewable energy.
In addition to “green” electricity products, competitive suppliers are offering value-added energy products such as energy-savings “smart” thermostats, HVAC warranty plans, reward points, gift cards, and more. These value-added product offerings are not available when consumers elect to receive utility default electric service.
“Electricity suppliers are competing on price, but they are also working strongly to differentiate themselves from their competitors in other ways. This is driving innovation and value for consumers,” Hanks said.
RESA strongly encourages consumers to be smart, educated shoppers and pay close attention to the terms and conditions of the contract they enter into, just as they do when shopping for cell phones, Internet service plans, cable television packages, or home heating oil.
Responding to interest among consumers and state regulators, RESA has developed a Consumer Education Guide designed to help customers make informed decisions when shopping for competitively priced energy products. RESA’s guide is easily accessible and provides general information on competitive suppliers, what to look for when considering a contract offer, pricing and product options, and what to expect from legitimate sales interactions.
Shopping for electricity requires “due diligence,” said Vic Neumann, an Avon retiree who saves by frequently shopping for his home’s electricity supply. “It does not take an inordinate amount of time and energy to investigate competing offers, weigh enrollment fees and cancellation fees and other factors you should consider,” Neumann said.
Accordingly, it is important that Connecticut electricity consumers know and appreciate that utility Standard Service rates are adjusted twice a year on Jan. 1 and July 1 when assessing the competitive rate plans that best serve their energy needs.
“Some consumers may shop based on price, while others may shop based on budget billing options or product types, such as obtaining energy from environmentally friendly sources like wind and solar power,” said Hanks. “Connecticut’s competitive retail energy market provides customers with choice, and as competitive suppliers we want the state’s consumers to be wholly satisfied with their shopping experience. RESA member companies desire a robust and sustainable retail electricity marketplace where we continue to offer innovative products.”
RESA is the nation’s leading association of competitive energy suppliers dedicated to creating and sustaining vibrantly competitive electricity and natural gas markets for the benefit of consumers.
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