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Over 60% of Texans use a broker according to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Texas is not the only deregulated market Shop My Power transacts in of course, but it is a mature market and over time, markets head toward a broker. This is due to the facts that prices can be dicey, contract language can be quite fowl, that there are plenty of bad players, not to mention the sheer numbers of suppliers available. There are weather trends, emergencies like moves or expansions, and power outages that drive customers to seek help from people who know more than they do about electricity and natural gas contracts. Most business owners are already getting pricing directly from suppliers or another broker when they come to the internet for more options, so let’s talk about that.
Is your current broker/supplier a member of a multi-level marketing company; does this person have a “down-line”?
Avoid these sales people like the plague. They may claim to “broker”, but most of these cats sell for one supplier (presenting offers from different brands of the same supplier at often ridiculously high rates or bad terms) and they know as much about this industry as I do about the inner workings of my Dyson.
How many suppliers does your broker work with and how many of those offers will you see?
Shop My Power works with over 24 suppliers nationwide and generally will present between 3-6 offers to you depending on what your needs are. This is a good time to note that companies like Direct Energy and Constellation New Energy own quite a few brands. You don’t want a broker who is presenting you 3 different faces from the same parent company. We need variety to make good choices about power.
Is your broker a member of TEPA?
TEPA (The electricity professionals association) is an association that helps promote ethical fee standards, educates brokers and suppliers, and otherwise betters the industry. Check out a list of TEPA members. Shop My Power is a proud member. Not all the suppliers we work with have chosen to join, but most have.
Can your broker/supplier representative provide you with the testimony or contact information of customers in your size range that they have brokered for multiple terms who would be willing to vouch for them?
Some fast talkers get one deal and one deal only per customer. This is because the business owner would rather sue them than fall victim to another bad deal. For example a well-known broker shop I know of will offer customers a “fixed rate” of 3-4 cents/kwh for electricity; get a signature, and poof! dis-a-peer. Why? Come to find out that was 3 cents fixed plus the index price of electricity. That fixed 3 cents was the sales man’s commission! Where is that guy now anyway? Far gone, my friend. In a Ferrari. Shop My Power has a 90% retention rate amongst its customers and that is without requiring exclusivity from 95% of our book. That means our customers like us, even if we drive up in a mini van.
Does your broker require an LOE from you to get pricing?
An LOE is a Letter of Exclusivity. LOE entitles your broker to exclusive pricing from suppliers. To be clear this means that the guy you were talking to directly at the supplier won’t be able to give you pricing anymore. Pricing will have to go exclusively to your broker. Alllll pricing. So any other brokers that try to gather pricing for you will not be able to. Some good brokers use LOEs and some don’t. Shop My Power uses them about 5% of the time when they have a good reason to. Signing an LOE can really help you if you sign it with the right broker. The take away here is to look for the word “exclusive” an anything you sign (sometimes there will be a portion asking for exclusivity on the bottom of a customer information form) and be sure only to grant this power to a broker you have a trusting relationship with. Shop My Power is grateful for the opportunity to earn your trust.
Will your broker/supplier send you a list of included price components and a contract that you can review with all pricing?
You would be surprised what folks sneak into an artificially low price Know what the price is for (get a list of all cost components,) the exact term, and bandwidth (in other words, watch that contract language!) Next, use what you gather to compare pricing responsibly in that apples to apples way that is so very satisfying. Shop My Power can do this for you. We know our apples.
What documents does Shop My Power need from you?
Most brokers have to pull teeth to get the information they need from clients to do their due diligence. We prefer to work with clients that will give us what we need to serve them best. In order to get the sharpest pricing possible, some suppliers require a bill copy, some need 12 bill copies, some need your usage file (to look at the way you have consumed power in the past, a broker can order your usage history file from the utility with a form you sign called an LOA –Letter of Authority means you have given us authority to ask your utility for your usage history) Further, you might be asked to fill out some kind of customer information form. We offer those here too and use them a lot in Texas, New York and New Jersey. It is good to know what to expect. Different types of power users will need to provide different documents. There is no way around this, and we cannot provide you true (and lowest possible) pricing without documents from you. Be wary of those that claim to. Shop My Power will ask for information from you to do our due diligence, and the requests will vary by state. Our Promises to you: