All posts by Terra from the Shop My Power Team

You Fell Victim to an Electricity Scam! And Three Reasons Why it Will Not Happen Ever Again.

Bill Fatigue“Knock Knock, sir, “ Two happy go lucky grinning agents beam as they walk right past your do not solicit sign in official branded polos, “We are not here to sell you anything. We just want to make sure you are receiving the right electricity rate for your business. Just get out your bill, and we will take a look and make sure your rate is the correct rate and we will be on our way.”

YIKES. A “Door Knocker” is what we call a salesman who goes from business to business (or home to home) selling power contracts. Some are legit, and some are big fat liars. My buddy Mohan has been dealing with an unfortunate situation that has made me think of how we can help here at Shop My Power. It all started just the way you read above.

After being convinced by these cats that he was being charged the wrong rate by his utility, Mohan owner of Union Ice Cream in NY, got out his bill out (no!!) for the impostors to inspect. The “agents” told him he was over paying and would he like for them to adjust his rate? Of course he agreed and signed the dotted line. What Mohan didn’t realize was that these alley cats were from a questionable supply company…. and that he had been conned. That lower rate was actually the makings of a much higher bill, and he was locked in for years. You can read more about how electricity rates can be deceiving in a previous article.

I heard a similar story not two days later, and this time I heard from a supplier. He told me about a team of brokers who go door to door and offer what  looks like a three cent rate. The fine print will reveal that yes, there is a fixed three cent adder in addition to the market index price they are also being charged. OUCH. These brokers have a fleet of Ferraris out front. Now we know why!

Contracts are binding. Unfortunately, a contract you sign under a con can be as binding as a contract you sign with full disclosure. You are legally bound. Super Bound (bound with a cape.) Here are three simple truths that will go a long way toward keeping your wallet out of harm’s way.

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  1. Remember that there is no such thing as a ridiculously low now or never rock bottom rate. Prices are where they are (like interest rates!) and electric companies are going to make the profit they need to survive. Find out what the ball park market prices look like (or contact a good broker to find out) and look to lock in at the bottom range of the average range. If a price sounds too good to be true, then IT IS
  2. Never Never Never show a door knocker your bill. If they are who they say they are, they should already have your billing information and invoices on hand. They want to get your ESID or meter number, your billing address, your current contract end date, account number and other pieces of information that will be used later to steal your business. Only give that kind of information to someone you trust! Read my article about fear in the electricity marketplace for more on how to get a real rate with real savings at Shop My Power.
  3. Never agree to anything on the phone and tell your employees not to entertain calls about your electricity bills. Tell any caller to fax  you the contract and offers and you will take a look. I would not give your email. I’ll place my bet on the fact that the contract you receive will be scandalous.

The bottom line is your utility is NOT going to visit you in your store to sell you power. In fact, I have never once seen a good reason to get your bill out for anyone who walks on to your property.

They are not utility reps, they ARE salesmen and you can bet your bottom dollar they are soliciting so kick them out before they TAKE your bottom dollar! 

If you want to have some fun, get out your phone recorder and ask them to verify their identities one more time and watch them squirm. Send what you record to me at TRAY@shopmypower.com and together we can do our part to expose bad players.

Shut the Front Door! (and other ways to save on your electricity bill at home.)

Chase with Glasses
Summer is Coming! Are you Ready?

So here is the thing. I am an electricity broker. That is what I do, so you would think that the reason my home’s electricity bill has gone from an average of $400/mo to an average of $200/mo was because I got out there and used my ninja negotiating skills or bullied some suppliers into a cutting edge rate, yes? Well, not actually. I mean sure, I make sure to get the lowest residential rate by using the same platform we provide to our customers (www.shopmypower.com) and I am currently finishing out a 6 month plan at a great rate, BUT that is not how I cut my bill in half.

We got a new air conditioner. We were forced to, of course. No force on the planet would have convinced me it was a good idea to upgrade until I am pouring buckets of sweat in my house after my 25 year old unit finally heaved its last. The savings I saw were about 40% of our bill GONE right away. Something else really interesting is that our utility (ONCOR) was doing this program that allowed us to get our home “sealed” for nothing. Free! They came in and added door jams, insulation and all kinds of nifty rigs to make sure the cold air is not air conditioning my bird house outside. So that helped our new bill by another 25%.. And finally (and here is the kicker) we repaired a window and my average bill went down another 24$ a month.

Sealing this window make a big difference in the way our bill shrank. My son (much older now and pictured above of course) put a ball through the window years ago. So what does a busy mom do? She duct tapes the hole. Don’t judge, I am trying to help you. So the “repair” got old and air starts flying out of my home again and voila! Big bill.

The point is, that we get so wrapped up in “rate” that we cannot see the forest for all the trees. The point here is to pay less, right? So let’s set aside our inner mobster negotiator and shut the front door before we get on the horn to haggle that new electricity rate at home. Better yet, if you want to conserve time and energy, let us do that shopping for you.

Here is another HUGE tip about saving money on your power bill – when “reps” come calling at your door……take my advice one more time, shut the door before they can swindle you and save yourself a world of heartache. Visit Shopmypower.com and enter your zip code to see a list of plans in your area from multiple suppliers today!

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Has the Monkey's Paw Taken up Fracking?

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In some stories, magic is described as this wonderful thing that can give you what you want, but at a price. Remember the story called the Monkey’s Paw? In that story you can wish on the Monkey’s Paw for anything, but it comes at a great price. I wish for beautiful hair, and I am suddenly wearing my sister’s head of hair and she is bald. Basically, there is always something the solicitor wants, but they don’t want to go through the normal channels (usually involving great thought, time, and cost), thereby avoiding practicing patience, honesty, openness, and the like to get what they want…..now. So they wish on the Paw. Doesn’t this thought remind you of our will? When we force our will onto a situation, especially when we are afraid we won’t get what we want, foregoing any consideration for the other parties involved (much like casting a spell) we play with this kind of “magic.” I may get what I want, but it will come at a price.

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I see this magical behavior every day in my industry. Our addiction to energy drives people to lose faith, to not trust, to not hear, and just scream for what they want until they get it, especially with pricing and natural resources, and this behavior comes at a price too, for both the individual and the collective.

As an individual pining for an even lower, even more rock bottom electricity rate for my home or business, I might pay for my clamoring with an unfortunate experience with a dishonest broker (If you call them, they will come!), contract language that is less than favorable, or by getting locked into a contract much longer or shorter than I should just to get to that “magic” number that may not be reflective of today’s market prices. I might have traded a seemingly lower rate for sand.

As a planet, our addiction to and cry for more abundant cheaper power NOW, might continue to cast a spell over law makers and politicians for years to come, but it might come at a great price. Perhaps it already has. Who ever thought Oklahoma would rival California for earthquakes? Which of these will shake my children’s futures? Come on, Millennials. It’s up to you to secure what you believe in. Like this:

Secure Your Beliefs
Maybe not EXACTLY like this.

I suppose I do put my hope in the Millennials to reassign the Monkey’s Paw as a rear view mirror decoration…if you ever decide to get your driver’s licenses, for Pete’s sake. The older generations have already um, consulted the Paw.

I Want a Pay-as-You-Go Electricity Plan and it’s Not What You Think.

I’m not broke. I have pretty good credit these days and I can afford to pay once a month for power. I have a social security number, a co-signer if I needed one (thanks, mom!) and access to all kinds of post-paid electricity products. So why the heck do I want to try a “pre-paid” or Pay as You Go plan for my very own home in C-Town, USA?

The story starts with two Payless Power employees coming into the office this morning to chat over coffee about why Pay as You Go is a great addition to our site. We already wanted it. My (albeit simpler) thinking was that there is a whole world out there of folks with no credit and that a no-deposit, cash option, pre-pay, or pay-as-you-go electricity plan would be a good option for those folks… but now I want it for my family, and its not JUST because you get a cool text each day to tell you how much power you use or because you can call customer service for free and talk to a real person. It might actually be great for our planet. (Plus you get a cool text each day and get to talk to a real person for free.)

Phillip Armenta, Director of Sales at Payless Power mentioned explained the process to me. He explained that it isn’t really pre-paid anymore, “Literally, it is paying as you go one day to the next based on household needs and customer awareness.” He went on to explain that his customers get notified of their consumption via text, which means that, “with real time readings, I could make changes immediately that I can see within a day or two.” Therefore, pay-as-You-Go users are engaged and cognizant of their usage and so they use less power over all. It’s like they put a little pink post-it on your phone every morning.

Little pink post-its

 

Phillip says their pay-as-you-go plans offer “real time readings for real time savings.’” Of course!

Many of us want that magic pill right? If I am going to lose weight, I do not want to eat less food or move my body, I wish for a pill to make me not only thin but toned too. If I want to pay less for power, I don’t want to watch consumption (turn the bathroom light off, Terra!), I might prefer to just find a cheaper electricity rate. Sometimes the obvious way seems….hard. But Pay as You Go option makes it all seem pretty simple.

Candidates for Pay as You Go plans may not have access to the lowest electricity rate in town so what do they do? They use less power. THEY USE  LESS POWER!

These savvy customers may find that their bills are equivalent to that fancy post-paid plan holder’s bill AND they are helping the grid by conserving energy. Doesn’t seem like a “second rate” rate after all, does it?

 

 

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Find your new “together forever” Electricity supplier at Shop My Power

Shop My Power Forever
We know. You have been hurt. You have been confused. You have been outraged! Maybe you have been bitten by electricity companies in the past. Perhaps you have had good relationships, but the loyalty is waning? Maybe you need something special like a short term gig or maybe even something variable for just one blissful month (scandelous!) Come on right over here and sit down and let’s talk about it (pat pat). Shop My Power is here for you and  in for the long term. We aren’t here to use you. We want what is best for you.

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You want a new forever home for your electricity plan and to settle down and think about other things. We want to help.

We will never slap you around or abuse you. Our customers need an extra dose of love to get settled in and that is exactly what we are here to do. When you start to doubt our love for you, click on over to our blog Be reminded that we only have eyes for you. Give Shop My Power a try for all your electricity procurement needs and soon you will be gazing out your window office thinking about your broker with a big goofy grin on our face more than you care to admit. Don’t worry about it one bit – we are thinking about you too. It’s cool if you want to carve our name in a tree.

Shop My Power Tree Carving

Thank you for giving trust a try at Shop My Power today. We hope you will be our Valentine.

Is Your Business Imprisoned in a Long Term Electricity Contract?

Poles and wires sky

We have a customer whom we shall call Steve to protect his identity (and also because that is his name. Hi, Steve!) Years ago, Steve signed a contract with an electricity provider for a very long term. In fact, his contract will not expire until 2018. Rates are about a penny lower per kWh these days and he wants to know his options.

The building in question consumes about 300,000 kWh/year. This means that with rates so low, he could save $3,000/year by switching to a lower rate with Shop My Power! So now his questions become:

  • What will it “cost” to get out of my current deal? Or in technical terms: What is the early termination penalty?

  • What are the other consequences of doing so?

First thing to do is look at the contract language,then find something that says “Early termination” or “cancellation fee.” Here is Steve’s pulled off his contract:

cancellation_fee

Oh  you can’t see it because it is so tiny? Imagine that. Well basically the supplier is saying, “Hey! You told us you wanted us to buy power for you for umpteen years, so we went out and bought it in advance (maybe). Now you want out and that’s cool, but you have to pay me what I am out, here.” Now there is the word “PLUS.” Do you see it? It’s underlined on the bottom line. This sentence says, “Oh, and on top of paying us what we are out, we can charge you whatever the heck else we want to (cough.)”

Well, OK then. At this point, you get on the horn (smile and dial!) and ask your supplier  to provide to you in writing exactly what it will cost to get out of your deal and ask them if they are willing to restructure your agreement to better reflect  today’s prices. Most often, the answers will be super expensive and no, they will not deal. A little tip though – you will kill more flies with honey here.

Next Question: What are his options with his current supplier?

Enter broker! A broker can usually tell you if the supplier you are stuck with even pursues termination fees. Some suppliers have the language in their contracts but have no internal processes in place to pursue early termination. Sorry, Steve. Your big boy supplier will pursue.

Now we look at options WITH that supplier. If your broker has a supplier contract with your supplier (we do, because we have one with almost every player around these parts) Then we can usually get them to do a “blend and extend.”

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Blend and Extend: (V) to add term length to your current deal at today’s lower rate, then take an average of the old rate and the new rate and start saving today with the new averaged rate applied immediately on your next billing cycle  in exchange for a longer term.

Only, does Steve really want to lock in until his grand kids have grand kids for a little bit of relief today? I dare say, no. This brings us to Steve’s  final inevitable thought on the matter: If I break the contract and run, how much can I save over the term and what will happen to me and my credit?

Let’s tackle the easiest questions first. When it comes to how breaking the contract will affect your credit or financial reputation depends on how big of a business you are. For Steve, he is a medium sized commercial building and probably won’t be talked about in the electricity circles. I have a customer from a couple of years ago who was notorious for contract termination and by the time they got to me, no one was willing to book their deal without a hefty deposit and steep rate. Same thing goes if you break contracts and do not pay the ETF at all. In some states outside of Texas, if you do not pay your supplier fees, you cannot get power from anyone because the utility puts a switch hold on your account. This means for some areas, pay your bill if you want to have light to read your bill.

Let’s do the simple version: Looks like Steve would at least owe the cost of his power through the rest of his contract to his supplier if he terminates. If you do the math, that’s over $9,000.

So if you are in a contract that is very long and you can’t comfortably wiggle out of it, then read this article about why your neighbor’s seemingly lower rate might not be as low as you think. It might make you feel better. Remember, the 0.053 rate he has is still a decent rate he can be happy with. 2018 will be here before we know it, and we will be here waiting for your call in late 2016 or early 2017 to start shopping for your future starting contract.

“Forget electricity rates. What can you do about these PASS THROUGH CHARGES?!”

The one question I hear every week looks like this: “What can you do about my pass through charges?! They are so HIGH!” Or “My delivery charges are more than my electricity supply!” A quick look at your usage file (ordered from your local utility) can tell you if the pass through charges on your bill match the amounts charged by your utility for the delivery portion of the bill. The chatter about suppliers ‘pulling a fast one’ regarding delivery charges is a result of all the fear in the electricity marketplace and here at Shop My Power, we get it. We try to ease that fear whenever we can by educating our customers, so let’s talk about what it all means.

There are a number of items that can be called “pass through charges” so let’s get clear on that first by understanding a function of your retail electricity supplier. In Texas, your supplier is like a collector for three separate parties. Think of it like your water/trash bill at home. You might pay one bill and the city will divvy it up, right? It’s similar with your commercial power bill. Most folks get one bill for their business electricity from one entity (usually the retail supplier) and on it are three separate sections: Taxes, Delivery and Supply. You pay the bill, then the supplier pays the government their taxes and the utility for the delivery of your power. This is why business owners cannot “shop” their taxes or delivery charges. And YES – quite often businesses pay more for the delivery of their power than they do for the power (or supply,) especially now while electricity prices are so dang low! Unfortunately these two sections (taxes and delivery) are what most folks are talking about when they say “pass through charges”. You cannot shop for better tax or delivery rates as there is no competition for your government or your “poles and wires” company (your local utility). What you can shop is your supply (the amount you pay per kWh – i.e. your RATE.) But rates are not presented to you apples to apples. Oh no, there are pass through charges in rates from suppliers too, and those are the pass-throughs we can manage together.

Think of it like mailing letters. You cannot do anything about the cost of the stamps (delivery) but you can sure go buy cheaper stationary (supply). At Shop My Power we help you weed through the supply rates (which can be about as clear as mud) to find a bill you can fully understand and feel good about.

What’s the difference between the suppliers who supply power and the utilities who deliver it?    In order to wrap your head around what is arguably the first important “get” when shopping for electricity in a competitive market, you need a small history lesson (sorry) here goes. I will make it quick.

 Deregulation; a history lesson: The electricity market before deregulation and retail electricity suppliers existed: (This is General as all states are a little different.)

For many years, electricity was produced and delivered by the same company. This company can be called a Utility. Here are some examples of those utility companies:  ConEd in New York, ComEd in Illinois, ONCOR and Centerpoint in Texas, JCP&L in New Jersey. These utilities historically provided both these services: Supply and Delivery:

  • Supply – Think of power plants generating power. This power itself, the electrons, is the electricity supply.

  • Delivery- Look outside at the poles and wires delivering your power and the people reading your meters. This is a delivery system. The utility still oversees delivery exclusively.

What is electricity deregulation? Before deregulation, there was no choice as to whom we could buy our power from, hence power supply and delivery were both regulated. About 14 years ago, the laws began to change in certain states. These changes in law allowed business owners to choose who they bought power from. Today, almost half of our United States is deregulated for the supply portion of either natural gas or electricity. In two words, deregulation means: ELECTRIC CHOICE. Delivery is still regulated. When deregulation laws were passed, that did allow for customers in deregulated territories to purchase their power (supply) from anyone they liked (Retail electric Service Providers or REPS), however the delivery of that power is often still managed, maintained, and billed to you by your utility company, depending on your state.

The Birth of Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) and ELECTRIC CHOICE:

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Retail Electricity Providers (REPs):  When deregulation laws passed, utilities were forced to sell their generation (power plants). These plants were bought by retail companies that planned to sell the supply (electrons) from those power plants to customers in that territory. It is their prices for power that Shop My Power will present to you. Why pay more for the same electricity?

These new supply companies have many names; in the south they are called REPs (Retail Electricity Providers), in the north they are called ESCOs, and in the Midwest they are simply called suppliers. Some examples of suppliers: Direct Energy, Constellation New Energy, Just Energy, and Liberty Power. There are hundreds of these REPs in every deregulated state. How will customers know which one to choose?

Energy Consulting: With so many REPs to choose from (none of them presenting pricing, contract language or fees the same way,) it became very confusing for business owners to shop rates for their supply, compare apples to apples offers, and read contract language. A professional community emerged to simplify the process for business owners. We call this community the ABC community: Aggregators, Brokers, and Consultants. The ABC community helps business owners by finding them the best deal for their electric and natural gas supply. In the more mature markets like Texas, over 60% of commercial businesses recognize the value of utilizing an electricity professional to shop for their power. Shop My Power is ready to simplify your procurement today.

 

What Gives? 13 Reasons Why Your Neighbor (Seems to) Have a Lower Electricity Rate

 

What changes rates from business to business in the same zip code? Or, as my customer put it, “What gives? Am I paying a higher rate than my neighbor?”

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Great question. Knowing that we shopped his rate with 13 suppliers who like muti-metered accounts (this customer is an RV park owner discussing a neighboring RV park up the road), I suspected that his neighbor’s “lower rate” does not necessarily mean he has a lower bill. The way to know for sure is to get from the neighbor a bill copy, a utility usage file, and a copy of the contract he signed. This might be intrusive unless you are really great friends so in the end it can be hard to know for sure.

Instead of staying awake at night scolding yourself with what you should have done better to get a lower rate, try this instead: Realize that maybe you have a great rate, after all. There are plenty of good reasons why rates vary between businesses!

So here it is, 13 Reasons Your Neighbor Might Seem to Pay Less for Their Power:

  1. Number of Meters – The number of meters you have can make your location more or less desirable to a supplier depending on who the supplier can better service. Some suppliers are better suited for multiple metered facilities. Generally the more meters you have, the higher the rate (unless there are per meter fees.)
  2. Seasonal Usage – If you use most of your power in a few months, your rate can be higher. This information can be found on your utility usage file.
  3. Load Zone – This has to do with where the power is delivered to. Even if just a few blocks away from each other, supply charges can vary based on location.
  4. Load Profile – This information is also found on your utility usage file. If you have a “low load” profile and your neighbor has a “high load profile” then his pricing might be lower.
  5. kWh used – Generally the more kWh’s your business consumes, the sharper the rate.
  6. Meter Fees – As I mentioned above, there might be hefty meter fees as high as $15/month per meter, hiding behind that seemingly lower rate.
  7. Portals or Other Ease of Use Tools – These handy supplier tools are not free! If you can log in and turn meters on or off in a portal to avoid hefty delivery charges when the meters are not in use, that can save you a fortune over time in delivery charges, but calling the supplier and the utility every time to manage this can be really difficult. Some suppliers offer programs for users with multiple/seasonal meters, and the pricing for programs like this can be higher.
  8. Billing Differences – some states give you an option to bill with your utility (Single billing) or get a separate bill from your supplier (Dual billing). Generally the rate will be lower if you opt to let the supplier send you a separate bill (Sorry Texas, not you guys!)
  9. Credit – if you are less of a risk, you will have less of a bill! Be sure to know how you fare with Dunn and Bradstreet.
  10. Contract Language – some suppliers offer a dirt cheap rate, but there are items in the contract that allow for them to change the rate without any reason at all – and sometimes, they do! It is always better to go with an established supplier if the rates are comparable.
  11. The contract is with a bad player. Bad players might not hedge properly, are gaining market share for an upcoming acquisition, or plan on changing your price or selling your contract in the months to come. Supplier reputation matters!
  12. Term – if your neighbor signed for a different term, they will have different pricing. A lot of the time, a longer term means a higher price, but this is not always the case. Also on certain days, there is sweet spot pricing where an odd term is significantly cheaper. It is important to get back to your broker when they reach out to you with offers – you may miss the boat if you wait even a week. A good broker will be keeping an eye out for your renewal prices up to a year before your end date to make sure you get the best deal waiting for you when your current contract ends.
  13. Start Dates – If your neighbor had a more favorable start date for their contract, or bought at the right time in the past, they could have had access to cheaper pricing. You can’t compare your pricing to your neighbors unless you have similar usage profiles, and signed for the same product, term and start date at the least.
  14. Type of Product - Are you fully fixed? Did we go with a block product? Is your neighbor enjoying a blend and extend product? Index? Even if they say they are “fixed” that can mean different things.

I understand the feeling of trusting your broker only to find out that you may have been “had.” Because our power bills can be our main expense, it is the one place we can really save money. Locking in for two years on a wing and a prayer can be exhausting. But take heart! Just because your neighbor is bragging about his rate does not mean you did not also get a fabulous deal. They say the devil is in the details, but so are the savings! It is important to know where these savings can hide, and Shop My Power wants to make sure you feel good about your contract so that you don’t get rattled by fear in this marketplace. And by the way, if we find your neighbor has a great deal with a supplier we don’t work with, we will actively pursue that supplier to include their pricing in your future offers.

 

 

How Trust Can (really!) Get You a Better Electricity Rate.

SMP Hearts its Customers

I remember moving to Lubbock, Texas when I was in the fourth grade. My dad threw down the electricity bill and cursed. I think that was the only time I heard him curse until we were adults. As a monopoly, LP&L the local power company was at it again, you know, socking it to us. We believed that anyway. I think it is that feeling of growing up in monopolies; peppered by how little control we have over how we were treated by utilities as a whole, plus the addition of bad players in today’s market leads to a crippling amount of fear and distrust by consumers in the energy market place. And by crippling, I mean that tactics consumers use like with-holding information, refusing to provide documents, or concealing other offers through fear that they will show their cards, can cause a shopper to shoot themselves in the foot.

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I see it all the time. While shopping for rates, customers are vague about offers, about start dates, about how many meters they have. They dance around saying what the competition is offering and what is included in their prices (if they even know). They exaggerate what the neighbors are paying.

Why do normally honest folks resort to such desperate behavior? Perhaps it is because there is nothing worse than being had. No one wants their hard earned money to fall into the seemingly bottomless pockets of rich power companies;  and maybe by fully cooperating, we are opening ourselves to being suckers. There is fear in the energy market place. Maybe we haggle like mafia over our power bills because our employees/employers are counting on us and every penny counts. You bet it does. Let’s talk about some concepts and practices that might lower your blood pressure a bit.

Expect to find a fair and good rate. Not a miracle.  Let’s start with expectations. There is a cost to doing business for suppliers and that money will be made. Period. From my experience, I believe that the customer who screams the loudest for an even  lower rate, sometimes does get a seemingly lower rate from the supplier BUT that customer’s bill can be higher due to added fees, meter fees, and contract language. That supplier made their money back somewhere. Folks, there is range to  currently going fixed rates and a good broker can help you find an offer at the bottom of that range, but clamoring for even more will only cause deception. Lesson number one? Look for a good rate. Not a miracle.

Consider how you spend your research time. Using that time shopping multiple suppliers is a mistake. Procurement is complicated and relationship oriented and also masked in strange language (I like to call this language “Elec-tron.”) Many try and shop for their own business by calling 12 companies and asking for a price. What they do not know is many prices are like Caesar salads – they look like they are good for you, but they are not. You have to watch market conditions, compare contract language, look at components, supplier history, and haggle in a very special way. Besides, once you give 12 suppliers your email you will NEVER stop hearing from them all. It is a nightmare.  To satisfy our urge to research, I suggest researching a great broker. ONE BROKER.

Understand the competitive shopping process and play fair. Prices are given (from suppliers) first come first serve to businesses and brokers. In order to understand why else this matters, it is useful to know how brokers, suppliers’ reps, and door knocker agents get paid. This bit about “first come first serve pricing” is a huge piece of information. Basically, if you are asking 3 brokers to get you pricing, only one of them can get pricing from each supplier. What a mess. Now if you want a truly inclusive list you have to deal with an army of brokers all with a different idea of “fair price.” Oh my. What if my buddy at supplier XZY wants to give me a rock bottom rate, but another broker requested a quicker matrix price first? This is a difficult concept to explain so you can really understand, but it is key. If you spread yourself out shopping around, it is like applying for 12 loans…you may get a loan but your interest rate might be penalized by all the shopping.

Consider giving one broker the information, documentation and responsiveness you demand from them. This concept alone will save you a fortune.  Instead of giving a little bit of information to multiple channels, why not give ALL of what is needed from you to get you a great rate to one person? Without a bill copy, looking at your historical usage, reviewing some credit information and possessing all your account numbers, all those rates you are racking in on your own are…GUESSES. The agents trying to win your business know that it is unlikely customers will give them what they need for a sharp price so they get a price off of a matrix somewhere instead of shopping for competitive BIDS and customer ends up paying more for a quick turn around.

Here is your Reader’s Digest “What your electricity broker wants you to know” confession: If I know I have a customer who:

  • Understands that frantically calling a dozen companies is confusing, futile, and exhausting for all of us and that this behavior will get in the way of the great rate they want
  • Has chosen to trust me due to testimonial feedback or respect for our industry knowledge
  • Allows me to do my due diligence by giving me what I need from the get go
  • AND is available to sign the deal when it is time to take action?

Well, I will barter like a mobster for that customer. Those are the customers we want, and who will ultimately get the best rates from suppliers as well. Give trust a try today.

 

 

Electricity Rates are Deceptive as Caesar Salad.

 

Generally consumers want a rate that will produce the lowest bill. So off they go, calling electricity companies and comparing rates. They haggle down a nice tasty fixed rate, and lock it in. But what many business owners and home owners alike do not know is that the rates they sign up for can be deceptive. Those low-looking rates at a seemingly rock bottom price may look appetizing, but it might be full of hidden gotchas, making for a fatter bill.

Think of salad. When the healthy bug bites us, we may want to eat well for a spell. So we look at the menu. There are burgers, ribs, and Caesar salad. “Oh good,” we exclaim, “A good choice for my caloric budget. Yes, I think I will have the salad.” Nope. That tricky salad with all the croutons, cheese, and dressing has more calories than the Burger. That’s right you could have eaten a burger and consumed less calories! Ugh. That is about as depressing as getting an unexpectedly high electricity bill at the end of a summer month.

Usted tendrá que completar un cuestionario y prestar la receta médica, también se requiere la estimulación de los órganos sexuales antes de la actividad sexual, ya que garantiza que mejore la erección a un ¿Es seguro comprar Viagra Original online? máximo de 36 horas. Esto permite que haya más sangre, pero estos medicamentos tienen distinta fórmula química, claro está y siempre lo llevaba encima porque le transmitía mucha seguridad, un hombre verdadero. Es en PDF sea tan bueno, las farmacias online sin receta necesitan más tiempo para procesar su pedido, que es el libro que el día de hoy estás a punto de conocer, los ensayos clínicos han demostrado que en la mayoría de los casos.

And so it is with power rates (electricity or natural gas). This idea holds true whether you are shopping rates for your home or for your business. Let’s get to it then. Where are some of the calories hiding in your rates?

  • Meter Fees – Also called Customer Charge and Meter charges, these nasty little fees are hiding in both residential and commercial accounts and can be as high as $10-15 per meter per month! Some meter fees are justified, but most are not and can really add up. For a small business, a $10.00 meter fee each month is equivalent to half a penny per kWh on your rate (the difference between 5 cents and 5.5 cents per kWh!) and you worked so hard to whittle that price down! Gulp. A commercial business with 4 meters at ten bucks a pop, will over-pay by $480 per year on meter fees alone. Ouch.
  • Unnecessary cost components are passing through from the utility to you! That’s right. You may be paying a cool five cents per kWh, but what other line items are tagged on to your bill in separate line items? Oh dear, another bite out of your wallet.
  • Contract language – There are many reasons to watch your language. One of which is contract termination language. Some commercial contracts will automatically renew at a much higher rate unless you notify them (in writing…through snail mail….60 days prior to your contract end date) that you want your contract to terminate. If you do unknowingly roll into this renewal, you could be slapped with a hefty early termination fee if you try to switch.

It looks like that while you were negotiating that super low rate, that supplier could have been raising your meter fee, adding croutons to your contract, and even removing expensive cost components from your “fully fixed” price to cover the distance. Why is this allowed, you may ask? Because suppliers’ prices, in large part, are not regulated; suppliers can present pricing however they want to. (Read more about the difference between utilities and suppliers.) There is really no such thing as “apples to apples pricing” right out of the gate, but a good broker can get to the meat pretty quick.

Obviously the market has become complicated enough to warrant some folks to become experts (like us!) and those experts can be your budgetary dietician if you will.  (Want to know how to choose an electricity broker?) Shop My Power knows where the gotchas are, who the good suppliers are, and other wonderful things like where is the best place for a (really though) light lunch in the metro. Click or visit us in Allen today. Continue reading Electricity Rates are Deceptive as Caesar Salad.