Choosing a Supplier
The Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) has some very useful information on helping select a competitive electricity provider (CEP).
The information below is mainly from the OPA’s website. http://www.maine.gov/meopa/utilities/electric/supply.html
Seven Things to Consider When Choosing a Supplier
If you are considering choosing a competitive electricity provider (CEP) for your electricity needs, here are seven things you'll need to know.
- The Standard Offer price. Taking electricity service from a CEP can save you money, but only if its price is lower than the standard offer price. Determined by competitive auction administered by the PUC, the standard offer price changes periodically. For most customers, the prices change on March first of every year (in CMP and Bangor Hydro areas), with changes typically announced a month or more in advance. You can find the current Standard Offer price in the chart below. It is also posted on the PUC's website: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/standard_offer_rates/index.html
- The price offered by a CEP. This is the price you'll compare to the Standard Offer or a price from a different CEP. You should be sure to compare prices over the same time periods.
- Whether the price fixed or variable. If the price is variable it may offer savings now, but could change to a higher price in future months.
- The term of the contract. If the price is fixed, find out for how long, so you know if the term will last beyond the next standard offer price change. (typically March 1 of every year).
- Termination Fee. Some CEPs with fixed term offerings will seek an early termination fee if you move back to standard offer or to another CEP before the fixed term expires. Make sure you know what this fee is before signing up.
- Know what the fine print says: Whether it is price information, the term of your contract with the CEP, or the CEP’s way in which it is going to contact you about renewing or other matters (e.g., email), be sure to read and understand the Terms of Service.
- Your rights. CEPs are subject to certain oversight by the Public Utilities Commission, which has established rules to protect consumers. CEPs are required to provide you with their Terms of Service before enrolling you, and you may opt out of any agreement within 5 days of signing up. CEPs must notify you of an automatic renewal, or any switch to a variable term at the end of a fixed term. Finally, CEPs are required to obtain a customer’s authorization prior to enrolling the customer.
If you have a complaint about a CEP, the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division may be able to help. Click on http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/consumer/file_complaint.shtml for information on filing a complaint.
The OPA site also provides a list of CEP price offerings. http://www.maine.gov/meopa/utilities/electric/supply.html
Please note that prices can change without notice, so we strongly urge you to go to the CEP’s own website
or call the CEPs directly to confirm price and other relevant information before signing up.