Shopping for Electricity
What am I shopping for?
As a business in Pennsylvania, you now have the right to shop for the company that supplies your electricity. This consists of your generation and transmission charges, while the distribution charges continue to come from your utility. Electric Choice empowers the customers to make their own decisions about who supplies their electricity and at what price, rather than giving the customer a “socialized” price that applies to all users.
Why does the utility let me shop for my electric supply? Are they going to charge me in some other way?
The utility lets customers shop because it has no choice. State Public Utility Commissions do not want the utilities to have the monopoly on electric supply anymore, and therefore push the utilities to make shopping and switching as painless as possible for customers. There are no additional charges from the utility for switching to another supplier.
What is the utility price to compare, and what parts of the bill does it consist of?
The utility price to compare consists of generation (the actual cost of the electricity supply) and transmission (the cost of moving it from the generation facilities to the distribution facilities). Also built into the utility’s price to compare is gross receipts tax (GRT), which is sometimes included in a supplier’s price. It is important to know if the price a supplier gives includes or excludes GRT.
When EnergyObjective offers me an electricity price, how quickly must I make a decision?
Electricity pricing is extremely volatile and actually changes every hour. EnergyObjective shops for customers and requests pricing on a particular day to put all suppliers on a level playing field. But that price is only good until the end of that day (typically 4:00), and must be refreshed the next day if the customer does not sign. We are willing to request pricing for a particular date if the customer would like, but there are certainly no guarantees that the market will be kind that day.
In short, EnergyObjectve is happy to work with our customers and give you all of the time and refreshes you require — but any prices shown are typically good for that day only.
Shopping for Natural Gas
What am I shopping for?
As a business in Pennsylvania, you now have the right to shop for the company that suppliers your natural gas. This consists of the actual dekatherms bought for your needs, while the distribution charges continue to come from your utility. Natural Gas Choice empowers the customers to make their own decisions about who supplies their gas and at what price, rather than giving the customer a “socialized” price that applies to all users.
Why does the utility let me shop for my natural gas supply? Are they going to charge me in some other way?
The utility lets customers shop because it has no choice. State Public Utility Commissions do not want the utilities to have the monopoly on natural gas supply anymore, and therefore push the utilities to make shopping and switching as painless as possible for customers.
The utility does not charge customers for switching, but most Pennsylvania utilities do charge their customers a Gas Cost Adjustment Charge (also called Migration Rider) as part of the distribution charges. This charge is intended to true-up any shortfalls in their default supply pricing and is always included when a customer is not shopping for supply. When a customer does go with a supplier, they continue paying this charge for the first 12 months until it falls off the bill. So while it’s actually an eventual additional savings for the customer, it can look like a new charge depending how it’s itemized.
When EnergyObjective offers me a natural gas price, how quickly must I make a decision?
Natural gas is less volatile than electricity and contracts typically aren’t as time-sensitive. It is usually acceptable to return a contract within a week of issuance, but the expectation will be clear when presented.
Why is the utility not more competitive?
Although some utilities are affiliated with larger organizations that have generation facilities, they are often purchasing electricity in a similar fashion to other suppliers. Utilities often spread out their buying among many different sellers and buying tranches according to pre-determined rules. The price lands where it lands, and the utility must pass through the cost of this supply at no markup or discount to the customer. Because the utilities have no competitive interest in maintaining their customers’ supply business, they have no motivation to lowball the price.
I currently pay state sales tax on only a portion of my total bill. How do I make sure the supplier knows this?
The supplier will tax whatever amount you tell them to, and will default to the full state rate if not told otherwise. Customers must fill out a PA tax exemption form to be partially or fully exempt from sales tax. EnergyObjective is happy to assist with this.
Will I receive one bill or two?
This depends on the supplier with whom you are signing. In some cases, you will receive two bills: one for supply charges from your supplier, and one for distribution from your utility. But many contracts give you the option of choosing utility consolidated billing.
What happens if I cancel my contract before it ends?
If you close or sell the business, then in some cases there will be no penalty (depending on the supplier). But if you stay at the location and simply decide to cancel your contract, significant penalties will apply. In almost all cases, these penalties well outweigh the additional money a customer can save my “mid-contract shopping.” Please note that EnergyObjective does not have the ability to make exceptions to this; if you cancel early, the supplier will charge you.