The following is a guest post from Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. That’s where she writes about her bills, saving for the future, and making sure that they fit in fun stuff along the way.
Anyone else feel like they have to keep up the good fight to keep your electric bills from sucking up all of your money? I look for the best rate possible every time my old contract runs out, which means that I’m locking in new rates every year or two. I wish I could just blow it off, but just one cent per kilowatt can make a $20 difference to our monthly bills.
Finding a Discount Code
When my husband and I first moved into our own place towards the end of college, I chose an electricity company based on what was suggested. I never bothered looking for a better rate because I had no idea there were different rates. Luckily, I learned semi-fast.
Within a year, I figured out that my day job had a special relationship with two different electric providers and used their discount code to get the best rate of the two. I used that code to lock in a 1 year contract over and over. Overall, it was a pretty good deal.
Finding the Best Rates
Notice that I didn’t mention that I knew to compare electricity rates at that point? Yeah, it took a few more years before it dawned on me that just because I had a discount code that gave me a pretty good deal, it didn’t mean that I was getting the best rate possible. That’s when I went online. A few quick searches can yield dozens of places to check out the electric providers and rates in your area. But don’t look only at the per kilowatt rate…
Once I started browsing my options online, I also realized that every company has different policies. Some companies have amazing rates per kilowatt hour, but they charge little fees for everything. Company A may charge a fee for using too little electricity each month. Company B may charge a fee for using too much. I even saw companies charging fees for making payments or calling with questions. It’s overwhelming.
Make It Easier
Now I have a system. I check my current rates before I start popping around online. I toss anybody that has fees that I consider stupid. I look at the remaining options, double check for stupid, call my current company to give them a chance to match the better rate if I find one, and then fill out the online form or call to get switched over if I need to. Overall, it takes me less than 2 hours every 1-2 years to lock in affordable rates. That’s pretty important here in Houston, TX, where we use our air conditioners from April through November…
How do you keep your rates down?
Photo by lydia_shiningbrightly