If you have recently moved to a new area, you will most likely be confronted with several energy providers that you are not familiar with. Therefore, you will need to decide which one you are going to do business with. This is a big decision because choosing the wrong provider could cost you literally thousands of dollars that you would otherwise not have to pay. All of these companies are definitely not the same.

Energy providers like ACN can vary widely in their operational policies and the rates they charge. How do you determine which company to use and which companies to avoid? Here are some useful tips that will help you during your search for an energy provider.

1. How much will you be paying?

First of all, you will need to determine if the company offers a fixed or variable price. If the price is variable, how frequently can you expect the price to change? If the price they offer is fixed, how long will it stay that way? You should also find out if the price you pay is impacted by the amount of their product you use. Does the price they charge include the fees for interstate transportation and balancing?

2. Additional fees and contract

Find out is you will be required to pay an enrollment fee. The next thing you need to do is very important. It involves finding out about a contract. You will first need to find out if the provider requires you to sign a contract. If they do, what is the minimum term of the contract? Is there a fee if you break the contract? If so, how much is it?

Make sure you’re clear about how much you’ll be paying and how easily you can cancel the agreement. If it’s a fixed or capped price contract, you may be charged if you want to cancel it before it expires. Is there a standing charge? The standing charge is a fixed amount you have to pay for each day you are connected to a gas or electricity network, regardless of what you use. These are all things you need to know up front, rather than be surprised down the road.

3. Billing options

Many energy providers will offer several ways for their customers to pay. However, this is not always the case. Find out the billing options that are offered by each of the energy companies you are considering doing business with.

For example, some people like to pay their bill by using a budget plan. This spreads out their payments so their bills will not be too high during the winter when energy use will be the highest.

4. Payment options

All companies will accept payments by credit card and check. However, some people like to have their payment taken directly from their bank account. Others prefer to use Paypal. Find out what payment options they offer.

In case you want to switch to a new provider, these pieces of advice from the Citizens Advice bureau can be useful.

Before you switch supplier, follow these steps to ensure you choose the right supplier for you:

1. Work out how much you currently pay for your gas and electricity

2. Check the terms and conditions with your current supplier to see if there is a penalty for cancelling your current contract – this is likely to be the case if you have a fixed term or fixed price contract

3. Work out what kind of tariff suits you best

4. Compare the different tariffs from different suppliers – an Ofgem confidence code accredited price comparison service would ensure you get information about all the tariffs available in one go

5. Think about other aspects of service such as how the supplier deals with complaints.

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