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Energy Choice: Choosing an Energy Supplier FAQs How to Switch Your Energy Suppliers What to Ask Suppliers Suppliers and Aggregators

Frequently Asked Questions

 


 

Who are competitive energy suppliers?  
A competitive energy supplier is a company other than the local electric utility that sells electricity to New Hampshire homes and businesses.   A competitive energy supplier generates or provides the electricity that you use in your home or business.  Competitive energy suppliers must register with the Public Utilities Commission before selling electricity to customers in New Hampshire. 

While the Commission has established some consumer protection requirements that competitive energy suppliers must follow, the prices offered by these suppliers are not regulated by the Commission.  If you are considering choosing a competitive energy supplier, here are some questions you may want to ask.

If I choose a competitive energy supplier, what part of my service will change? 
If you decide to choose a competitive energy supplier, you will still be a customer of your electric utility for the delivery of electricity to your home or business.  The utility will still be responsible for restoring power if there is an outage.  What will be different is that you will now also be a customer of a competitive energy supplier for the actual electricity that you use in your home or business.  You may receive one bill, sometimes called consolidated billing, from your electric utility for both the delivery and the energy.  Or you may receive two bills – one from your electric utility for the delivery of the electricity and the other from the competitive energy supplier for the electricity you used.  Everyone’s bill is different, but a rule of thumb is that about half of the total bill is for delivery and the rest is for the electricity you use. 

Will I still receive reliable service?
Yes.  If you choose a new competitive energy supplier, the quality, reliability, and maintenance of your electric service will not change. Your current electric utility will continue to deliver the electricity you use and will maintain the poles and wires that deliver the electricity to your home or business.  

Who do I call if the power goes out?
You should still contact your local electric utility if your power goes out.  You will receive the same priority for restoration of power whether you buy your electricity from your utility or from a competitive energy supplier. 

How do I find out what competitive energy suppliers are available to me?
Competitive energy suppliers must register with the Public Utilities Commission before selling electricity to customers in New Hampshire. Follow thelink below for a list of registered competitive energy suppliers is available below.

What’s the difference between a competitive energy supplier and an aggregator?
A competitive energy supplier provides the electricity that you use in your home or business.  An aggregator shops for a competitive energy supplier for you and can enter into an agreement on your behalf to buy electricity from a competitive energy supplier. 

Do I have to choose a competitive energy supplier?
Choosing a competitive energy supplier is just that – a choice that is available to you.  If you do not choose a competitive energy supplier, you will receive energy service from your electric utility as you always have. 

If I choose a competitive energy supplier, am I guaranteed to save money?
No, there is no guarantee that buying your electricity from a competitive energy supplier will save you money.  While many New Hampshire residents decide to choose a competitive energy supplier to save money, others choose a competitive energy supplier that makes a greater investment in renewable products. Regardless of why you decide to choose, before you shop for a new competitive electric energy supplier, do your homework. 

If I sign up with an aggregator, how will I know that they have chosen a competitive energy supplier for me?
Before agreeing to be a customer of the aggregator, read the terms and conditions of your agreement with them.  If it does not tell you how you will be notified that they have selected a competitive energy supplier for you, ask the aggregator.  Typically, the aggregator will send the competitive energy supplier’s contract, also known as the supplier terms and conditions of service, to you via email or US Postal Service mail.  Once you receive the supplier terms and conditions of service, you have three days to review or five days to review, depending on whether you received it electronically or through the mail.  Unless you contact the competitive energy supplier within that three or five day period to say you do not want to be their customer, your electricity supply service will be switched to the new supplier at the time of your next meter read. 

How do I switch to a competitive energy supplier?
Once you’ve made the decision, switching to a competitive energy supplier is easy. 

Where can I find information on competitive energy supplier prices? 
The price charged by competitive energy suppliers is not regulated, and each supplier's price can be different. To find out pricing, you should call the competitive energy suppliers or visit their websites.  Remember, suppliers may offer fixed prices or variable prices.   Be sure to ask whether the price you are being offered is fixed or variable and, if the price is fixed, how long it is fixed for.    

Fixed prices, variable prices – what’s the difference?
A fixed price offer is one where the price per kWh will be the same each month (for example 8.0 cents per kWh) for the contract period.  The price will not increase or decrease over the term of the contract.  If the market price of electricity increases during your contract term, you will not be subject to that higher price.  On the other hand, if the market price of electricity decreases during your contract term, you will not receive the benefit of the lower price. 

With a variable price offer, the price per kWh may vary from month to month based on the wholesale price of electricity.  You may be unable to predict the amount of your bill for electric usage because the price may change.  While you may save money if the price decreases, you may pay more if prices increase.  Ask the supplier for historical price information to see how their price has varied over the past 12 to 24 months.

As you shop for electricity, ask how and for what reasons your price can change, and select a plan that best fits your needs and budget.  If you choose a fixed price offer, be sure to ask what happens at the end of the contact period if you take no action. 

Is there a charge for choosing a competitive energy supplier?  Are there any penalties for switching suppliers? 
There is no charge when you choose a competitive energy supplier.  If you already receive your electricity from a competitive energy supplier, there may be a penalty for cancelling your contract with your current competitive energy supplier.  Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of service to see if there are any penalties for early cancellation.  If you have any questions about whether there is a penalty, call your current supplier. Be sure to ask your new supplier if they have any fees or penalties for cancelling service before the end of your agreement and how long that agreement lasts. 

When I change my competitive energy supplier, do I have to notify my electric utility?
No.  Your competitive energy supplier will notify your electric utility for you.

How long does it take to switch my energy supplier?
Whether you are changing to energy supply service provided by a competitive supplier or changing back to the energy supply service provided by your electric utility, the change will occur at the time of your next meter read provided the request to change is received by your electric utility a few days in advance of your next meter read date.   Because your electric bill is for the service provided in the approximately 30 day period before the meter is read, you would not see the change until the following bill. 

I receive bill assistance from the Electric Assistance Program (EAP).  Will my assistance be affected if I switch to a competitive energy supplier?
Yes.  If you currently receive an Electric Assistance Program (EAP) benefit and you switch to a competitive energy supplier, you will lose the EAP benefit on the energy supply portion of your bill.  The amount you save from choosing a competitive energy supplier may be offset by the partial loss of the EAP benefit, so look carefully at your bill to determine what your savings will be before you make a choice.  

Are competitive energy suppliers regulated?
While the Commission has established some consumer protection requirements that competitive energy suppliers must follow, the prices offered by these suppliers are not regulated by the Commission.  If you are considering choosing a competitive energy supplier, here are some questions you may want to ask.

What happens if my competitive energy supplier is unable to continue to provide me with energy service? 
Your energy service will automatically transfer to the energy service provided by your electric utility.  Your lights will not go out, and there will be no penalty or fee to you.  When you receive your next bill, you will see two prices for energy service – one for the period of time when the competitive energy supplier provided your energy service and the other for the time when your electric utility provided your energy service. 

Can I end my contract with my energy supplier if I’m not satisfied?
You can always cancel your contract with your competitive energy supplier.  There may be a fee if you cancel your contract before a certain date though.  Review your agreement with your competitive energy supplier to see if there are any penalties for cancellation. If there are, call your competitive energy supplier and explain why you are not satisfied.  Ask if they will waive any fees. 

If I sign up with a new supplier, will I be treated differently by my local electric utility?
Absolutely not. If your power goes out or you need assistance from your local electric utility, you will still receive the same reliable service as you have in the past. In addition, even though you are selecting a new supplier for your energy, you are still making the same investment in your utility’s transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Someone called me about switching to a competitive energy supplier.  Is this okay?
Competitive energy suppliers may contact you by phone, through the mail or through door-to-door sales. If a competitive energy supplier contacts you and you are thinking about switching, do your homework first.  Check the list of registered competitive energy suppliers on the Commission’s website to check that the supplier is authorized to do business in New Hampshire.  Ask questions to be sure you understand the terms and conditions of the offer from the competitive energy supplier and that it is the right choice for you.  Do not provide the account number on your electric utility bill until you have decided to make the switch.

Where can I find more information about the environmental impact of the energy supply I am buying?
Whether you buy your electric energy service from your local electric utility or from a competitive energy supplier, you will receive an environmental disclosure statement once each year that shows you what fuel sources are being used to generate the electric energy being supplied.  Electric utilities and competitive energy suppliers also provide their disclosure statements to the Commission each year.

Additional information about environmental disclosure statements can also be found on the Commission’s website.