Alternate Energy FAQs
About 3rd Party Supplier Energy Supply
Q. What makes a 3rd Party Supplier Energy different from other energy suppliers?
Q. Will I have to get a new meter or any new equipment?
A. No. You will not have to make any purchases or changes to the system you currently have. You will keep the meter you have always had and it will be read the same way and on the same cycle. No physical or logistical changes are required because the utility still delivers your energy.
Q. If I switch, will my reliability be affected?
A. No. 3rd Party Supplier and other third party suppliers like us are just as reliable as the utility, and all are licensed and monitored by the utility commission or responsible authority in your state.
Q. How can 3rd Party Supplier's rate be lower than the utility's?
A. Deregulation allows electricity suppliers like 3rd Party Supplier to buy energy wholesale from competitive providers and pass the savings along to customers. 3rd Party Supplier also provides only one specialized service, eliminating the operational costs that often burden utilities.
Q. Why do rates vary?
A. Energy is a commodity. This means it is bought and sold on the open market, just like the stock market. Knowing this can help you understand basic movements. When demand is low, the price goes down. When demand for energy is high, such as during peak summer and winter months, the price goes up. 3rd Party Supplier’s variable rate product reflects this fluctuation. For customers who prefer price certainty, 3rd Party Supplier also offers fixed rate plans.
Q. Who do I call if I have problems with my service?
A. If you have any problems, you will contact the utility. They remain responsible for the delivery of your energy, as well as for any necessary maintenance and repairs to any lines or meters. The utility also still provides billing so you will call them for any questions about your bill.
Q. Does the utility company get hurt if I switch?
A. No. Utilities do not compete with third-party suppliers. The utility still makes money through the delivery of electricity and does not lose profit when customers switch to a supplier.
Q. What happens if I move?
A. To move your service to a new address, simply call 3rd Party Supplier or your utility to make the switch.
Deregulation and Renewable Energy
Q. What is deregulation and what has it changed?
A. Prior to the 1990s, every state in the U.S. regulated its energy industry. There was only one company (the local utility) that was responsible for all components of your energy service. Under deregulation, your local utility still exclusively manages the delivery of your power, but the supply, or generation, has been opened to competition for suppliers, like 3rd Party Supplier Energy, to buy energy in the wholesale markets and then sell it to customers like you.
Q. How does 3rd Party Supplier choose which markets to enter?
A. There are many factors that determine where 3rd Party Supplier offers service. 3rd Party Supplier typically chooses markets in deregulated states that offer Purchase of Receivable, or POR billing methods with the utility. POR guarantees payment to the supplier even if the customer does not pay the bill, which reduces risk for 3rd Party Supplier and allows us to offer market competitive rates.
Q. What is “Brown Energy”?
A. Brown energy is energy that comes from conventional fossil fuels, such as oil or coal. The combustion from these fuels releases harmful emissions into the environment. Renewable or “green” energy comes from clean sources that are more sustainable and are better for the environment.
Q. What is a monthly variable rate and how is it different from a fixed rate?
A. A monthly variable rate means that our rate changes according to the price of energy. A fixed rate means that you will pay the same rate for a fixed period of time, usually for one year or 6 months.
Q. Do 3rd Party Suppliers offer a fixed rate product?
A. Yes, most 3rd Party Supplier began offering fixed rate.
Q. Is a 3rd Party Supplier's rate the same for each utility?
A. No. The 3rd Party Supplier prices each market separately based on the local market and how energy is billed by a specific utility.
Q. What does it mean when my bill says 'price to compare'?
A. Price to Compare is the default utility rate that a customer would pay if they do not choose a third party supplier. This number is helpful when shopping for a supplier.
Q. What is the difference between a residential rate and commercial rate?
A. A residential rate is charged to homes and a commercial rate is charged to businesses. Each bill has a rate code associated with it. Residential rates are normally given a code either starting with, or containing an 'R'. Commercial rate codes are based on various factors ranging from type of business, to volume consumed, to geographic location of the business. In all cases you can contact the utility providing service on the account to determine the exact classification of any rate code in question.
Q. Can a 3rd Party Supplier rates be higher than the utility?
A. Yes, a 3rd Party Supplier’s variable rates can sometimes go above the utility’s rate. On average, our customers have historically saved money compared to the utility’s rate. It is part of our company mission to always provide customers affordable, green energy options.
Q. Can I still use a budget plan?
A. If a customer is on a budget plan, it is likely that they will be affected if they sign up with a third-party supplier. In New Jersey and Maryland markets customers typically cannot continue on a budget plan, but in Pennsylvania and Connecticut markets they typically can. However, whatever market a customer is in, they should always call the utility to ask how their budget plan would be impacted by enrolling with a third party supplier.