Perch raises $30M from Nuveen to expand access to community solar savings for all Read >

How to Switch Your Energy Supplier: Get Greener, Affordable Electricity

Thanks to the rise of deregulated energy markets, consumers in some U.S. states can choose cleaner, renewable electricity sources to power their homes and businesses—often at a cheaper rate than their current utility company offers. Here’s how to switch your energy provider and why you might want to.
Person typing on a laptop with a cup of coffee  on the side

The energy market is changing—and energy users are gaining a new power. 

Over the last few decades, many states across the country have gradually begun to deregulate their energy markets giving rise to third-party energy suppliers who can compete with utilities to offer greener, cleaner, and cheaper energy plans. The result today is a more competitive market where homeowners, renters, and everyday energy users have the ability to choose where their electricity comes from. In other words, if you live in a deregulated state and you pay an electricity bill every month, then chances are you could be saving money on your electricity costs.

Of course, the world of energy providers, utilities, and electricity bills is confusing. Most homeowners are content using a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to their utilities and their electricity. Luckily, third-party energy suppliers are working to address this problem by offering better, more accessible, and cheaper energy. Use this guide to help you take full advantage of all the benefits of energy deregulation and switching energy providers.

Why switch energy suppliers?

So why switch energy suppliers anyways? Why move on from your tried and true utility company?

Cheaper electricity bills

The first answer is simple: you could be saving money on your electricity costs. Due to the increased competition between electricity suppliers in deregulated markets, most third-party energy suppliers can offer better prices and energy plans than your utility.

Clean energy options

Another reason third-party energy suppliers can offer cheaper rates is that they can take advantage of the recent boom of clean, renewable options which are becoming cheaper by the year due to advances in technology. That means that in addition to offering cheaper electricity, these alternative energy providers can also offer cleaner energy—much better for the planet. So when you go through a third-party supplier, you can select to receive clean energy, which helps support our renewable energy revolution. 

Better customer service

Third-party electricity suppliers know that one of the main challenges that energy users face when it comes to electricity bills is that they’re complicated and hard to understand. Not to mention, utilities notoriously have bad customer service too since they historically had so many customers to service and keep happy. New energy suppliers in deregulated markets are making customers the priority, offering personalized plans, more transparent and accessible billing structures, and reliable customer support.

Steps to switch energy suppliers

1. Find eligible energy providers in your area

The most effective way to save on electricity and take advantage of deregulation is by looking for the cheapest rates in your zip code, and switching to those cheaper plans when you can. The first step is to find out what your options are. Most deregulated states will have state websites that showcase their electricity supply options.

Deregulated electricity markets are available in all or part of the following states:

If you live in one of these states, then you might be able to save money by switching energy suppliers. 

Map of energy deregulated states in the US

These websites will tell you how much each supplier is currently charging for electricity, what the mix of energy consists of (renewables or coal or gas-powered), and other information like the length of contracts and any promotions. The first step is to simply look for providers that operate in your zip code and see what your options are.

2. Compare deals and choose the one that fits your energy priorities

Once you begin seeing what your options are, you’ll want to compare your options. Some suppliers might offer sign-up bonuses that look enticing, but you’ll want to make sure that the plan aligns with your preferences and needs, especially after any signup incentives. Decide what is most important to you when choosing an energy plan. Do you want the cheapest available plan, or do you want to prioritize clean energy options? Information about fees and plans should be pretty accessible on each company’s website.

3. Compare the new energy plans to your current plan

Many energy suppliers will offer calculators to help you determine if a new energy plan will actually save you money. Make sure to do your due diligence and check if your new estimated plan is actually going to be cheaper than your current plan.

4. Watch out for fees or multi-year contracts

Bad actors in the energy space were more prevalent in the early years of deregulation and clean energy. Most of those companies have been pushed out by more competitive, transparent, and reliable energy providers. But like with every decision you make, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting a good deal. 

Look out for anything for things like supply charges, price hikes, and contract length to make sure the deal you’re getting aligns with your needs. For example, if you’re planning on moving in the next year or two, you might want to choose a provider that offers a more flexible cancellation policy to avoid early termination fees.

5. Begin onboarding with your new supplier!

Once you have found an energy supplier that you really like, you can simply begin the sign-up and onboarding process with your new provider! Your new electric supplier will take care of all the hard stuff, like contacting your utility and switching over your plan. The onboarding process will look similar for most energy providers. You’ll likely have to upload an image of your utility bill or manually enter it in your account info so that your new third-party energy supplier can switch over your energy plan from your current utility. Once you upload your info, this process will take a few days. All you’ll have to do is enter in some information about your address and your current electricity supplier. It takes 5 minutes or less!

6. Enjoy cleaner, cheaper energy with no service interruptions

Once you switch energy providers, you’re good to go. The process will be pretty seamless, and you won’t notice anything different in your day-to-day life. That is to say, your lights will turn on like always, and you’ll be able to watch TV whenever you want. The only difference is that you’ll receive a new bill from your new provider each month with cheaper rates. And if you choose a plan that supports clean energy, then you’ll be able to access details on your environmental footprint as well!

What’s the catch?

There is none! But while the process of switching energy suppliers isn’t necessarily complicated, the problem is that it can be rather time-consuming. The most effective way to lock in savings is to actively look out for the cheapest rates and switch your plan to the cheapest option as frequently as you can. Of course, few people have the time to monitor energy markets and switch providers monthly in order to guarantee savings.

That’s where Perch comes in. Perch helps you save time and money by monitoring the electricity prices in your area, and continuously shopping for you so you are on a plan that is affordable and aligned with your preferences. Perch can help you put deregulation to work for you—without the hassle of having to monitor the energy market yourself. When you sign up, you’ll let us know what your energy preferences are and our automated platform will do the rest of the heavy lifting for you!

Get matched to a local solar farm and save on your electricity costs.