The next time you get an offer to choose an energy supplier, don’t be so quick to toss it. Throwing these offers away without taking a close look at them may be like receiving an envelope of money and tossing it because you don’t feel like going to the bank to make a deposit.
Sure. You’re busy growing your business. But don’t forget. Profit isn’t just increasing the money coming into your business. It’s reducing the money you shell out. But millions of small business owners don’t take advantage of this low-risk budgeting strategy.
This article will discuss the most common reasons small business owners don’t change energy suppliers. It will also share some tips on how to start exploring how you can reduce your energy budget to help decrease your overall monthly business expenses.
Fears That Keep Small Business Owners Stuck Paying Too Much for Energy
“I didn’t know I had a choice of energy suppliers.”
Not every state has the option for choosing an energy supplier. The electricity market started opening to competition in the late 1990s when the Federal Regulatory Commission issued order 888. That required utilities to provide open access nondiscriminatory transmission services to independent producers. There are 17 states (as of this writing) that offer a competitive energy market. So residents have a choice of gas and electricity suppliers for consumers and small businesses. That means that even if you’re a home-based business, you can take advantage by choosing an energy supplier and plan that best fits your needs.
The first thing to do is to see if your state is open to competition and what energy choices are available to you. The American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers has an updated list of states and energy options.
“I don’t want to give up what’s familiar and get hit with hidden charges to make up for the lower cost.”
There is a misconception that if you switch energy suppliers you are somehow giving up what you know for something that is unfamiliar and uncertain. In reality, the fact that you can choose an energy supplier gives you control by allowing you to compare rates.
Here are a couple of tips to help you avoid any minefields in the process:
- To avoid any hidden charges, do your due diligence. Review the contract terms for any energy supplier before choosing. Here’s a helpful tip.
- Make sure that the supplier can offer the term you desire to lock in the rates to avoid any surprises.
“Switching isn’t worth the hassle or the uncertainty.”
Assuming that you’re now open to the idea of switching, your next obstacle is wondering if it will be worth the effort. But you can see it at the end of each month. A plan that is a few pennies less may seem like small change, but when your monthly usage increases, you’ll notice a difference.
“If I switch and the power goes out, I’ll get no power and no customer service support.”
In short, this is a myth. Regardless of the supplier you select, your energy is delivered by your existing utility via the same established infrastructure; gas pipes, electrical lines, etc. When you switch, no one is going to come to your office and dig up one set of lines and replace it with another. When the power goes out, the utility handles getting it turned back on. If you have a question about the rate you’re paying or your enrollment, the supplier, like Constellation, would help you.
Your utility is responsible for providing the same level of service for all of their energy customers. Your local utilities maintain the delivery infrastructure, including wires, poles, transformers, and pipes regardless of which energy supplier you buy your energy supply from. And the energy supplier is responsible for the energy cost portion of your bill.
Like any company, some suppliers offer better customer support than others. When you shop around for a new energy supplier, look for things like the ability to reach them by phone, email and online chat, and bilingual support for Spanish-speaking customers.
Are You Ready to See if You Can Lower Your Energy Costs Now?
As a small business owner, the name of the game is to increase cash flow. Sure, you can increase revenues by getting more customers, but there’s something else you can do right away that’s 100 percent under your control. You can look for an energy plan that fits your business’ needs. In the past, the only way you could control your utility costs was to change your behavior and upgrade your equipment. Today, you also have the option of switching your energy supplier.
Switching your energy supplier offers a slew of benefits to your small business:
- Control Your Costs. Energy competition increases choice and that means that suppliers have to compete for your business. This motivates them to keep costs competitive and the level of service high.
- Predictable Budget. Today, energy suppliers offer a variety of plans designed to help small businesses manage and hold their costs in check using fixed-rate plans where you can lock in the rate for a set period of time.
- Access to renewable energy options. If your business has made a commitment to explore renewable energy options, you’ll find that competing energy suppliers will have those options available, where your local utility may not.
- Control. Of course, the biggest benefit is control. Now you can control your energy experience. The best way for energy suppliers to compete for your business is by increasing their quality of service, support and attention to their customers. This puts you in the driver’s seat like never before.
If you like the idea of increasing your cash flow by controlling your monthly energy costs but are still feeling overwhelmed by the alternatives, reach out to Constellation and open up the conversation. Remember, we want your business, and you’ll find that we have as much to gain as you do by helping you. For example, with Constellation you can check out the solutions for small business. And if you have questions, just click on the “Chat with Us” option in the menu, and we will walk you through the process.
Building a successful business isn’t just about home runs. It’s about small incremental improvements implemented on a regular basis. If growing the top line of your P&L has been slow and frustrating, maybe it’s time to put some focus on your bottom line.
Power Meter Photo via Shutterstock