Author Archive

Electricity Suppliers in PA to Consider Beyond Just the Standard Brands

Monday, May 9th, 2011 | Permalink

As electric choice competition has spread in Pennsylvania we see new electric suppliers defining themselves as leaders among some familiar brands.

Most of us have heard of PECO and Penelec but how many of you have heard of MXEnergy, Champion Energy, and Gateway?

MXEnergy will soon be bought and merged with Constellation NewEnergy which is one of the largest electric companies in the US. Champion Energy and Gateway are smaller providers but still formidable and reputable suppliers many commercial and industrial companies have chosen to do business with.

These companies are all aggressively advertising in PA and are convincing people to switch away from PECO and Penelec and on over to their electric company.

Some of the electricity suppliers that are offering electric service that came in from another state are using some gorilla sales tactics to accomplish this task.

You may find yourself having your door knocked on in the middle of the day by one of the the alternate electric companies in Pennsylvania trying to snatch you away from the big brand energy companies.

There are some important things to consider before you switch providers in regards to the sales tactics they might use.

Door to Door Electricity Sales Tactics

  • The salesmen may refer to themselves as having been sent from PPL or Penelec.
  • The company may mention a notice through the mail that you might have received letting you know they were coming.
  • The company may guarantee that the electricity price would be lower when this might only be the case the first month.
  • The sales guy helps to confuse you as to if you will be switching electric companies.
  • They may make it seem that you are only changing your rate plan as your bill will still be coming from Penelec or PPL.

Do not fall for any of these slight of hand tricks as you most definitely will be switching away to a new PA electricity company. There are in fact ongoing lawsuits regarding this type of door to door scheme by some of the alternate electric companies in PA.

Switching to a new low PA electricity price is a good thing to do if it will save you money but no one wants to be lied to about it. Chances are that if a sales guy is lying to you about who they are the price may not actually save you money, as what keeps them from telling the truth about that?

We are not saying that all electric companies that knock on your door are bad it just pays to know a few things that have been happening in advance so you do not fall for the same tricks.


Dallas Electricity Suppliers Offering Bait and Switch Plans

Friday, April 29th, 2011 | Permalink

Hello Dallas Texas re-locators and just those shopping for a good electricity rate. We want to offer you some good tips for finding the right electricity supplier and rate plan in the Dallas TX area.

Pay attention as your electricity rate could be a bait and switch rate plan that jacks up the price after the first month. We want to give you some solid information to prevent Dallas consumers like yourself from falling for some of these bad electricity plans.

The problem for most people is that they look for the rate that seems to be the most competitive. For providers it is very easy for them to make the most expensive electricity rate look as though it is the cheapest.

This rate manipulation is done by the suppliers offering a very low priced variable electric rate that is usually good for the first month only. After the first month you might see a price spike with your energy company. Sometimes the supplier that offers this plan will raise your rate a little slower over the course of several months but either way they are pulling one over on you.

We have even had a supplier ask us not to disclose to the public about their scheme of slowly creeping up their price on people after they were caught. Of course we exposed them as well as removed them from our website as soon as we found this out.

The solution to this problem is to never go with a 1 month variable rate plan in Dallas Texas. Yes, some electric companies offer these plans and keep their rate somewhat competitive but you have no guarantee of this.

Rather than choose the variable plan compare multiple fixed electricity rate offers in Dallas. By looking at these long term plans you can accurately see what the cost really is from many companies without worrying about little gimmicks here and there.

You can compare providers on your own but be sure to look through the terms of service with each contract and ask the providers if there will be any additional fees on top of what they quote you irregardless if they are passing them through. Each electric company has different terms of service that goes along with their rate plan and sorting this all out can make it difficult to do an accurate apples to apples comparison.

In situations where you have bad credit you may be asked for a deposit. In this situation you may have to call to pay a deposit amount but beyond this there are no additional steps in getting those lights turned on.

Once you have ordered electric service your Dallas electricity supplier will send you a bill each month. If there is a power outage there will be a number on each bill with the outage number to call. In Dallas the electricity power company that handles outages is Oncor Electric Delivery although they do not sell electric service but instead only manage the pole and wires infrastructure.

Prior to your contract end date your chosen electric company will send you a reminder to renew your electric contract. You may renew with your current electric company or go out shopping again.

You may prefer to use a broker or energy consultant. The benefit of using a Dallas energy consultancy is the unbiased nature of a comparison that shoots for the bottom line consideration for most people, PRICE.

You get a customer advocate rather than an electricity sales guy working for a single electric supplier. Don’t be fooled as some consultanting companies are simply brokers working for 1 – 3 providers and are more of an independent sales outfit for as little as one provider.

When calling an energy consultant rather than a pizza guy support person sometimes outsourced from another country you get a real expert.

A Dallas energy consulting company should be run ethically and with a company culture that not only treats customers right but also the energy professionals who will be talking to you if you decide to call.

With an online comparison chart created by a consulting company you can spend just a few seconds comparing and finding the lowest price rather than spending hours sifting through contract details and rate plans.

Before using an online chart consider that some charts are built to shape customers to a certain preferred provider. Always be aware that the providers in the top 3 spots in a chart may not always be the cheapest on some of these charts.

Sometimes it is more important to look for trusted providers with a good score with existing customers even if you pay a little more just to avoid possible problems or tricks later.

The time saving value of using a consultant to do your research will give you the bonus of doing something else with your time such as moving your furniture into your house if your relocating or simply spending a little more time with your family.

Most often a consulting company can find you a Dallas electric price without a hidden cost. If you do not use a service like this you will likely spend a lot more time on the computer so I encourage you to allow a consultant to get you those bottom line dollar saving numbers for you.

Washington Gas Energy in Maryland

Sunday, April 24th, 2011 | Permalink

Washington Gas Energy Services is the company that knows energy. Washington Gas Energy Services served its first customer and has steadily grown into 377,700 customers in Maryland, Virgina, Delaware, DC, and Pennsylvania since that time.

As of August 2011 their website says they have over 350,000 natural gas and electric service customers in these states. It would appear that they may be seeing a decrease in total customer count as deregulation has taken effect in these states.

Washington Gas Energy Services is a subsidiary of WGL Holdings and an affiliate of Washington Gas.  Based on its experience understanding of the current energy market and utility tariffs, Washington Gas Energy Services believes it can offer a simple solution for all its customers energy needs. Washington Gas Energy Services offers residential service based on the following guidelines:

Homeowners and residents that pay their own utilities:

  • Detached Homes
  • Townhouses
  • Condominiums
  • Apartments

Electricity features offered:

  • Fixed Priced Supply Contracts, provides security in regards to a price that will not change for the term of the contract.
  • Discounted Supply Contracts
  • Clean Wind Power

Fixed rates were 9.00 cents per kWh with 10% wind as of April 24 2011 and are 9.2 cents per kWh for a 1 year fixed agreement as of Aug 2011 and 9.8 cents at 50% wind power.

Fixed rates were 9.90 cents per kWh with 100% wind as of April 24 2011 and 10.5 cents per kWh for a 1 year fixed at 100% wind power as of Aug 2011

Viridian Energy in Maryland, MLM Reps and Understanding the Price

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | Permalink

Viridian Energy provides power with a purpose according to their slogan and operate in many states including Maryland. The purpose is to provide an alternate energy option to the local utility. This company also offers a work from home type of opportunity to sell energy similar to Ignite and Ambit Energy. The creation of direct sales energy companies has really taken off as of late as even Spark Energy has entered this market with a company called Ampegy. The only problem is that a lot of buzz and setup must be done and maintained through a group of experienced direct sales leaders to make a company actually grow a large customer base using this method. This type of viral marketing requires quite a bit of skill, luck, and execution on almost every level to work.

Viridian wants you know that they have differntiated themselves from other competitors by trying to do the right thing when it comes to the environment. Bringing back the spirit of caring into business is not something many companies venture to far into and often remains on a surface level but Viridian has outlined some of their promises in this regard.

Beginning in 2009, Viridian Energy is the electrical supplier for the environmental conscientious, by allowing them to do their part to protect the environment at an affordable price. Viridian Energy stands out compared to other renewable energy competitors because it is willing to take a lower profit in order to see green electricity sold at a reasonable price. These core values stand as the foundation of Viridian Energy’s promise to its customers:

  • Environmental Sustainability- Viridian looks to not just create opportunity to take care of the environment, but also create a “culture” that will see its passion reflected in its customers
  • Empowerment- This company hopes to create opportunity for its independent Associates to impact the environment and improve their lives
  • Reliability- They work to have the same reliable service as other utilities yet with superior customer service
  • Integrity- They want to hold the highest standard of ethics in both business and environmental stewardship
  • Customer focus- They offer helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable service to fit each customer’s specific need.

The interesting aspect to this company is that they sell their electric service through an MLM business model like Ambit and Ignite. They offer their electricity in multiple states and in order to sell their service you must pay them a membership fee.

The fees you must pay them are $99 to sell in one state with one product, $299 to sell all of their products, and $399 if you want to sell in all states with all of their products offered. They offer different levels of how you want to come into the company and as far as customer perceptions I see it being one of customers learning about them through word of mouth.

The frustrating aspect to this type of company is that customers usually get their information on the company from people who have little experience in explaining an energy agreement and related charges. The people choosing to sign up to help a friend also end up finding out a few months later that their friend they helped out isn’t even in the business anymore.

Regardless of whether or not you spoke with someone who knows how to go over the energy agreement with you in a professional manner I recommend taking time to look at the terms of service for yourself to see if all charges are disclosed in what you were told.

Do not sign the contract until you have compared the price you were told you will pay with what the actual fine print agreement says you will pay. There is almost always some difference between the super excited price the MLM sales recruit tells you and the all-in total bundled rate you will actually be billed for.

In regards to the price issue this is not something we are trying to blame Viridian for as all providers have the challenge of explaining the entire price to their customers it is jut a little easier for the details to get lost when a really excited person is trying to get their grandmother to sign on the dotted line.

Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec)

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | Permalink

Penelec electric utility was previously known as Pennsylvania electric company and has been around for over 100 years. Now this electricity utility is known as Penelec and is owned by First Energy.

If you live in the Penelec electric utility area you will always use Penelec to service your pole and wires and handle outage requests but you may pick a competing retail electricity supplier or continue staying with this provider.

You are not required to switch energy companies and if a door to door sales men tells you differently keep in mind that this is a common tactic used when pounding on doors but is a lie. Again, you do not have to switch companies if you are happy with Penelec.

Penelec Electric Utility Area Map

Penelec Electricity Utility Map
Penelec Utility Area Color Code

Some of the popular cities in the Penelec Electric Utility area are Erie PA, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Gettysburg. If you live in these areas of PA or surrounding cities you have the power of electric choice.

There are quite a few alternate residential and commercial electricity suppliers in the Penelec utility area but before switching away there are a few important points to consider.

  • Penelec can act as your retail electric provider but they do not show their prices online.
  • This company actively advertises and encourages you to compare and choose the lowest price provider by utilizing an online comparison service through a company called AllConnect
  • This company will always service the pole and wires at your home or business and if you choose not to use the customer choice program they will also sell you a retail electricity rate.
  • If you choose to go with a new provider in the Penelec utility area you will still call this utility during a power outage. The outage phone number will also be listed on the electric bill you receive regardless of the company switched to.
Electricity Suppliers