Frequently Asked Questions

General

Who is Choose Energy?

We are a San Francisco-based startup committed to helping you find an energy plan that fits your needs. Our easy-to-use online marketplace makes it easy to find available suppliers, compare plans, and make the switch — all in a matter of minutes.

Where does Choose Energy operate?

Currently, we serve customers in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. To find out what options are available in your area, enter your zip code in the search box above.

Why should I choose Choose Energy?

We take the hassle out of shopping around for new energy services. All you need to do is enter your zip code to start comparing plans.

By choosing a plan from our selection of vetted and trusted suppliers, you can rest easy knowing you’ll receive reliable and uninterrupted energy service.

Even after you’ve switched, Choose Energy keeps working for you. We keep track of when your contract expires and will let you know when it’s time to start shopping for a new plan again.

Switching Plans

What happens when the plan I sign up for ends?

You should receive a notice in the mail from your supplier at least 30 days before your contract expires, alerting you that it’s time to renew your contract or shop for a new one.

If you do nothing, you will likely be moved to a plan your provider picks for you, which may not the best available deal.

Who will I pay my bills to if I switch?

It depends on where you live. Even if you change suppliers, your local utility is still responsible for delivering the energy. So, you may receive a single bill from your utility that includes the cost of both delivery and supply. Or you may receive one bill from the utility for delivery and another from the supplier for the actual energy used.

Will I have to get a new meter or buy any new equipment?

No. The energy will run through the same lines that already go to your home or business—the only thing that changes is where the energy comes from.

Will I have to pay a deposit or get a credit check?

Some plans offered through Choose Energy do require credit checks. Depending on your credit score, a deposit may also be required to begin service. Please check with your supplier to find out their credit check and deposit policies.

Are there any “hidden fees” when signing up with a new supplier?

Some plans offer low rates, but include “hidden fees” that can end up costing you significantly more than other energy plans. Choose Energy makes it easy to avoid added costs by clearly listing all the fees associated with each plan.

To find out if your current service has hidden fees, you should look in the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) and Terms and Conditions (T&C) documents that came with your plan.

Will I lose power during the transition?

No. You will receive uninterrupted energy service before, during, and after the switch.

How long does it take to switch my service?

In most cases, your new plan will go into effect within one to two billing cycles. The length of billing cycles vary by location, but are typically 30-90 days in length.

Do I have to call my old supplier to cancel service?

No. Our sign-up process will let your previous supplier or utility know that you’re switching to a new energy provider. Once your utility or old supplier receives your application, they will cancel your previous service on your behalf.

How do I know if I have a contract with my current supplier?

If you don’t have a copy of your plan, you will need to contact your current supplier to see when your contract expires and if they have any Early Termination Fees.

Will I have to pay any fees to leave my current energy supplier?

If you don’t currently have a contract with a provider or have one that is month-to-month, then you can cancel your current service free of charge.

If you have a contract and switch service before it expires, you may have to pay an Early Termination Fee—just as if you were breaking a cell phone contract.

Please check with your current supplier to see what their cancellation policy is.

When can I change plans?

If you’ve never changed energy plans before, you can switch anytime.

If you currently have a contract with a supplier, then you may need to wait until your contract expires before switching. Most, but not all, plans charge customers an Early Termination Fee for canceling the contract. Contact your provider or check your account details online to see your plan’s policies.

Month-to-month or variable rate plans do not have Early Termination Fees, so customers on those plans can switch at any time.

When you change providers, you can indicate when you want the switch to take place.  Usually, if you schedule the switch within two weeks of the contract’s expiration, you won’t be charged an early termination fee.

What should I look for in an energy plan?

Electricity and natural gas work the same no matter where they come from. So, when shopping for plans, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • The reputation of the supplier
  • The length of the contract, which can range from three to 24 months in length
  • The price of the energy
  • The percentage of energy that comes from renewable resources such as wind or solar

Can I really switch my energy suppliers?

It depends. More than 20 states and Washington, D.C. allow residents some choice in selecting their energy suppliers, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and others.

As other states move to give residents more choice in their energy service, we will be rolling out service into new areas. So stay tuned to see what your options are.

Shopping

Why do your rates look different from the ones on my bill?

The rates on our site are written in a simple decimal system to make them easier to understand. So, for example, a plan with a rate of $0.099 per kilowatt hour would show up as 9.90 cents per kilowatt hour on our site.

I signed up for a plan several weeks ago and haven’t heard anything. What’s going on?

If you signed up online with Choose Energy, you should have received an email confirming the switch. If you didn’t receive that email, you should be sure to check your spam folder, as the confirmation email may have been sent there. If you can’t find the email in your spam folder, contact customer service to have it re-sent.

Where can I find the rates, length, and other details of the plan I signed up for?

You can find all of the information about your plan including the rates, term length, and other details in the confirmation email you received after switching suppliers. If you can’t locate your confirmation email, check your spam folder, as it may have been sent there.

How can I find out my current electricity or gas rate?

Beyond taxes and fees, your energy bills are generally made up of two main sections: Supply Charges and Delivery Charges.

Supply Charges refer to the portion of your bill that goes to pay for the actual energy you consume. The electricity rate is measured in cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and the natural gas rate is measured in cents per therm or cubic feet. Once you’ve found these numbers on your bill, you can compare them with the prices offered by energy suppliers online.

The Delivery Charges refer to the portion of the bill that goes to your local utility to pay for maintaining the lines and infrastructure that brings energy into your home or business. This portion of your bill will remain the same no matter which supplier you choose.

What is the “Price To Compare”?

If you purchase gas or electricity from your local utility, you can find the “Price to Compare” as a line item on your bill.

The “Price to Compare” is the benchmark you can use to compare the costs of different energy plans. For electricity, the “Price to Compare” will be measured in cents per kilowatt hour. Depending on the state, the “Price to Compare” for natural gas will be measured in cents per therm, or per hundred, thousand, or million cubic feet.

If you can find electricity or natural gas rate lower than the “Price to Compare,” it may be advantageous to switch your energy supplier.

When comparing plans, how is the cost per month calculated?

The cost per month is calculated by multiplying the rate by the average amount of energy consumed in your area. If your usage differs from the average, then you can change the numbers at the top of the page to give you a more accurate account of what your monthly bill would be.

So, how does switching service work?

It’s easy. Just enter your ZIP Code and compare the plans available in your area. Once you find the one you want, click the “sign up” button and follow the prompts to enroll.

You should receive a confirmation email once your application is complete. Please be sure to check your spam folder in case the email is sent there by accident.

The best part is that you don’t have to cancel your current service — your local utility will handle that for you.

Service

Who will supply my energy when my contract expires?

30-45 days before the end of your contract, we will send you a notice alerting you that your contract will shortly expire and that it’s time to shop around for a new energy plan. If you do not sign up for another plan, you will continue with your current supplier onto a month-to-month plan.

Who do I call if my power goes out?

Your local utility is still responsible for maintaining your electric service. You will still call them in the event of an emergency or outage at the number provided on your bill.

Will my energy service continue to be reliable with the new supplier?

No matter which company you choose, you can rest assured that you will continue to receive reliable energy service.

While the suppliers provide the energy, your local utility owns and remains in charge of maintaining the infrastructure that brings energy into your home or business.

Suppliers

My current supplier is now offering a lower rate than I signed up for. Can I get that lower rate?

Unfortunately, no. Those are promotional rates and are only available to new customers. When your current contract expires, you can shop around for a lower rate.

Will my power go out if my supplier goes out of business?

No. If a supplier goes out of business your local utility will ensure you’re covered until you can choose a new supplier.

How do you select the supplier plans you offer?

With Choose Energy, what you see is what you get. We only offer plans that allow consumers to make an informed choice about their energy options. No ballooning teaser rates, no hidden fees.

Why isn’t my current supplier available on Choose Energy?

We have high standards when it comes to choosing the suppliers we work with—and not all of them make the cut. If you have one you feel would make a good partner for Choose Energy, please contact us and let us know.

Why don’t I have a choice of energy suppliers in my area?

Currently, over 20 states and Washington, D.C. allow residents to choose energy suppliers. However, suppliers may not operate in every region of the state. Additionally, many utilities in these states do not offer you a choice of suppliers.

Plan Types

How do I figure out if I have a fixed rate or variable rate plan?

Compare the price per unit of energy over your past two bills and see if the rate changed during that period of time. The price per unit of energy for electricity is cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and for natural gas is cents per therm or million cubic feet (mcf).

Does my utility offer fixed rate or variable rate plans?

It depends, some utilities offer residents variable rates. Other utilities offer residents fixed rates, which change every six months or so.

What’s the difference between fixed rate & variable rate plans?

  • Fixed Rate Plans. When you sign up for a fixed rate plan, you’ll pay the same rate for your electricity or gas for the duration of the plan. Fixed rate plans protect you from spikes in the price of gas or electricity.
  • Variable Rate Plans. When you sign up for a variable rate plan, the price you pay for your electricity or natural gas varies month to month based on the market price. While this means you may get a great deal when electricity or gas market rates are low, it also puts you on the hook if rates suddenly shoot up.

Solar

Why should I get solar panels for my home?

There are lots of good reasons to go solar.

  • Environment. Home solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Savings. With home solar, you can save on your energy bill and protect yourself against future price increases by generating your own power.
  • Reliability. Solar energy systems improve the reliability of your service. They can provide power during a power outage

How much can I save on my energy bills with a solar energy system?

That depends on the size of your home, your typical energy use, and the efficiency of your appliances.  For an estimate on how much you can potentially save with a home solar installation, please visit our solar page and enter your zip code.

Will solar panels work on my home?

Once you enter your zip code and request your free quote, our solar suppliers will inspect your home and determine how best to install the solar array.

Typically, home solar installations work best when:

  • There is good southern exposure. Orienting the panels to the south makes the energy collection more efficient and allows for more energy production.
  • There is not too much shade. Shade from nearby trees and buildings dramatically reduces the effectiveness of solar panels.
  • The roof has a pitch of less than 60 degrees. Most roofs in this range can easily accommodate solar panels.

If a roof installation is impractical, our local partner suppliers can discuss other options with you.

Can I get solar panels if I’m a renter?

Unfortunately, no. Solar plans and financing options require a contract between the provider and the property owner. Choose Energy offers a number of options for renters to go green and save on their energy bills. Enter your zip code to see what plans are available in your area.

What is net metering?

Customers with home solar panels draw electricity from the utility only when their solar energy system does not provide enough power to meet their needs – for instance at night or on overcast days.

When your solar energy system produces more energy than can be used in your home, that electricity is then sold back to the utility. You pay only for the “net” amount of energy you use: the total amount of electricity you draw from the utility minus however much energy you sell back.

Depending on location, you may receive a cash payment at the end of the month or year for the energy you sell back. Or the excess power generated may cause your energy meter to run “backwards,” giving you a credit on your energy bills.

What financing option is best for me?

Since everyone’s goals are different, the “right” financing option is different for each person. While owning the system provides the best overall value, it might be in your best interest to go with a solar lease or PPA so as to avoid paying upfront costs.

What’s the difference between a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and a Solar Lease?

PPAs and solar leases are more similar than not. In short, with a PPA, you’re paying for the energy produced by the solar panels. With a solar lease, you pay a monthly fee to rent the equipment.

With either option, you will get the benefits of solar without any upfront costs and the solar supplier will stay in charge of monitoring and maintaining the equipment.

What are my financing options for the solar installation?

There are a number of easy ways to finance your solar energy system.

  • Purchase the panels. Purchasing your solar panels outright can give you the greatest return on your investment. Local tax incentives and rebates can help reduce the upfront costs for the panels and the solar installation can add significant value to your home.

For those who cannot or do not want to pay upfront for home solar, there are other financing options available, which typically don’t require any money down:

  • A Solar Power Purchase Agreement. With this option, the solar supplier installs the solar energy system on your roof and you agree to purchase the power that is generated at a below-market rate for the length of the contract, typically 15-25 years.
  • A Solar Lease. A solar lease is very similar to a PPA. Rather than purchase the power generated from the solar array, instead you get the power for free and pay a monthly fee to rent the equipment. That monthly fee is typically lower than your utility bill. At the end of the contract, usually 15-25 years, you will have the option to purchase the system outright.

If you’re wondering which option is best for you, check out the table below, which will help you easily compare the main differences between these three options.

Ownership Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Solar Lease
Upfront Costs $15,000-$30,000 $0 $0
Long-term Savings Owning provides the best return on investment through lower rates and increased home value You can lower your electricity bills by 15-30%. However a PPA won’t increase your home’s value because you won’t own the system. You can lower your electricity bills by 15-30% However, a solar lease won’t increase your home’s value because you won’t own the system.
Maintenance You are responsible for maintenance and upkeep. The supplier is responsible for maintenance and upkeep. The supplier is responsible for maintenance and upkeep.
Tax Incentives Tax rebates and credits may reduce the upfront cost by up to 50%. You are not eligible for any tax credits. You are not eligible for any tax credits.
Terms Unless you pay cash, a solar loan is typically from 5-20 years with interest rates between 4% and 8%. 15-25 years. 15-25 years.

Will I need a building permit to install a solar energy system in my home?

You do need a permit to install a solar energy system. However, our solar suppliers will take care of the permitting process and inspection.

How do I get my free solar quote?

It’s easy. Just enter your your zip code here, follow the prompts, and you can start generating your own clean solar energy in just three simple steps:

  1. That day: our preferred solar supplier will call you to collect more information about your house and to set up an appointment for a home visit.
  2. Within one week: our expert solar supplier will complete the home visit, inspect the roof, finalize the design, and collect all the necessary permitting information.
  3. Within three weeks: our solar supplier will install your solar energy system (usually done in a single day) and you’ll be able to start using solar energy that day.

Deregulation

What’s a supplier?

A supplier is an independent company that generates or purchases energy to sell directly to consumers. That energy is delivered to you through your local utility. In the case of an emergency or power outage, call the utility, not the supplier.

Choose Energy works with only the most trusted and reputable suppliers to ensure the quality and reliability of service.

What’s a utility?

A utility is the company that maintains the pipelines, power lines, poles, and wires and is responsible for delivering the electricity or natural gas to your home or business. The utility remains your point of contact in the case of a downed power line or power outage. You cannot change your utility.

What is energy deregulation and how does it affect me?

In short, deregulation allows you to choose where you purchase your electricity and natural gas from. That means you can now shop around for your energy plan the same way you do for phone and internet service.

Energy deregulation separates the production of energy from its delivery. Utilities have typically been responsible for both supplying and delivering energy. Deregulation breaks up this monopoly, allowing you to purchase energy from independent suppliers.

Miscellaneous

Where can I see energy trends in my state?

If you are interested in learning more about energy trends in your area, Choose Energy’s State Empowerment Reports are a good place to start. All of our state reports show real time pricing information and illustrate how rates have changed over the last 12 months.