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Energy Choice | March 2, 2012

Say What? I can actually shop for electricity?

It’s true. In many states, you now have the opportunity to choose from whom you buy your power, and often how it’s generated. You’re no longer limited to the local utility company. You can choose to buy your power from an energy supplier, like Constellation, that sets energy prices based on competitive market forces.

For you, this could mean lower prices. After all, competition drives innovation, provides choice for customers, and keeps energy prices as low as possible.

But shopping for an electric supplier is like purchasing any other consumer product. You need to do your homework. This might seem a bit daunting — especially if you’ve never bought energy services before. But it doesn’t have to be intimidating if you know what to look for and what to ask.

Here are a few pointers on choosing an energy supplier that best meets your needs:

— Not all states have developed competitive energy markets. To find out if yours does, visit your state’s public utility or public service commission website. If you live in a competitive energy market, your public utility commission should list all licensed energy suppliers.

— Once you know this information, see what you’ve been spending. Pull out a recent statement from your utility company or current energy supplier. Review your bill to see what you’re paying for electricity.

— Energy suppliers typically offer different plans. Fixed-price plans lock you into a fixed price for a specific period of time. While this helps with household budgeting, you may have to wait until your contract expires to enjoy a lower price if market prices fall. Prices under indexed or variable-price plans, on the other hand, may go up and down and are based on seasonal prices.

— Knowing a supplier’s rates, and comparing those against what you’re paying now, will tell you what your savings would be should you buy power from an energy supplier.

Ask questions. Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions offered by an energy supplier. At Constellation, customers can call Customer Care at 1-877-997-9995 or email at home@constellation.com.

 Once you’ve made an informed decision, remember that nothing else changes. Your utility company will continue delivering your energy without disruption. Service components, such as wires, meters, and transformers, remain where they are. Your utility will respond to power outages.

All you need to do is enjoy the savings.

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