Choosing a gas supplier is a process that one ought to put a lot of thought into, though many don’t, electing to instead work with the first supplier they find. The reason why you need to carefully select the supplier is that not all companies are the same. In the long run, the energy supplier you select will not only impact your safety and comfort but will also affect your finances.
As dramatic as it sounds, selecting a gas supplier is a decision that property owners shouldn’t take lightly. Any decision affecting your property will require careful consideration and thought before making your move. To get a better understanding, look into the responsibilities of your energy supplier and how they affect your daily life.
For instance, whenever you turn on the lights or use an electric appliance, you are utilizing energy. Therefore, you are spending money on the service. As such, the company that is offering the services in question will to some extent influence their cost, efficiency, and quality.
It often becomes difficult for clients to try to choose a gas supplier from a long list of service providers, especially when all listed companies offer similar products and services. There are various factors that individuals can rely on to evaluate service providers to confirm that they are getting their money’s worth.
What You Need to Know Before Shopping Around for Gas Service Providers
Apart from pricing, there are numerous other factors to consider when in the market for a gas supplier. Below is a look at some of the elements to keep in mind before settling on an energy plan.
1. Establish the kind of energy required
The first question you need to answer is “what kind of energy does the residence use?” This will involve establishing whether you only have electric stovetops, boilers, and heaters, or other major appliances that calls for you to use natural gas. Some homes will have a combination of the two.
Having identified this, you can now proceed with the gas supplier selection process.
2. Go through your current energy plan and contract
Take your time to peruse through all the past energy bills. Alternatively, use the internet to view your current energy supplier contract or utility bill. The purpose of this exercise is to help you determine how much money you are paying for each energy unit. For natural gas usage, it will be per therm and kWh for electricity. When you know your current rates, it becomes easier for you to shop for a supplier, as you will get to establish what rates you would like to work with going forward.
3. Look into your current energy patterns
As you go through the past energy bills, try to make a comparison on the instances or times when the household utilizes the highest amounts of energy. There’s a high possibility that your energy use varies from season to season, and may fluctuate during weekdays, and then rising on the weekends.
Depending on the comparison results, you may get an opportunity to start practicing energy conservation. Smart energy conservation practices make it easier for you to lower your monthly natural gas or energy bill. By changing the way you use gas and energy in your home, it becomes easier for you to budget for the utilities.
It also presents a rare chance to closely examine how the utility rates vary from one month to the next. Homeowners with variable-rate plans won’t an indication as to how much they are spending on the natural gas until the monthly bill arrives. Having a fixed-rate plan means you will always know how much you are spending on each unit of gas used in the house.
How to Shop for a Supplier
Once the basics are out of the way and you have already gotten an idea of what to consider, you can now start shopping for a supplier. Factors to consider include:
1. Select a gas rate plan that aligns with your needs
Homeowners will often not get the plans they desire. This is more so if a person is content with going with the plans offered by the natural gas supplier. Suppliers traditionally provide varying, and in some cases friendlier options. Home users are typically provided with two types of plans: variable rate plans and fixed-rate plans.
2. Compare prices
Thanks to the world wide web, it’s possible for homeowners to locate gas suppliers in their region using a simple search engine search. Make sure to include zip or postal code to your search term/phrase before hitting the search button.
Having found suppliers providing gas to your locality, go through their rates. Look at what each supplier is offering and compare this to your current rates.
3. Establish the length of the contract
During this process, you will need to decide on the duration you would like the rate to apply. Identifying a good contract length is dependent on your budget and your flexibility. Contracts with gas suppliers will typically last from 12 months to 36 months.
4. Learn when you can make the switch
This information can be obtained by checking the contract to establish when it will officially come to an end. Choosing to terminate it early may attract a penalty in the form of a termination fee.
Getting Smart Meters Install to Better Monitor Gas Usage
A smart meter is a modern replacement for the traditional gas and/or electricity meter currently in place. This meter sends automatic readings to the gas supplier every half hour, helping eliminate the issue of inflated bills due to the use of estimate readings.
Benefits of using a smart meter
Having a smart meter that has an in-home display offers numerous advantages such as:
1) You don’t have to manually send the meter readings: The meter will automatically send the readings to the natural gas supplier. You, therefore, don’t have to worry about setting up reminders for you to submit the readings.
2) Better selection of the rates on offer: As the world moves towards a smart future, many gas suppliers have started encouraging homeowners to install them. Some have gone as far as offering exclusive rates to households that have these gadgets. Exclusive tariffs are a good choice as they provide you with more flexibility.
3) Get to closely monitor your monthly spending and usage: Smart meters have an in-home display that indicates the amount of energy that the residence is using, as well as the resulting costs. It’s a device that can encourage you to practice good energy usage habits, as it also helps you to budget for your utilities.
4) Highlights faulty appliances: An in-home display will clearly show the amount of gas the home is using at any given moment. From this, you get to notice whenever there’s a sudden spike, which is often associated with the presence of a faulty appliance.
Setting A Budget to Limit Your Spending
A simple and effective way to make certain that you won’t spend more than you have earned in a month is to budget for your finances. Energy budgeting can seem like a complicated process if doing it for the first time. However, there are steps you can use to guide you along this journey.
1. Consider the bigger picture
The purpose of having an energy budget is to assist you to come up with estimates on how much you will spend on natural gas and/or electricity for the foreseeable future. Remember that this will also be a part of the larger budget which enables your household to run smoothly.
2. Collect all the data required before you can start making any assumptions
The budgeting process is heavily reliant on the data or information collected. As such, you need to have collected enough data before you can start making any assumptions. Keep in mind that the data you have is what will influence the results you achieve at the end of this exercise. In general, make sure to account for consumption volume, the price of the commodity, and the non-commodity price as well.
3. Provide room for margins and monitor your usage
A good gas budget should provide some safety margins. Providing room for unforeseen eventualities helps to ensure that your finances don’t get messed up if you overspend on utilities on a given month. After preparing the budget, you will need to keep monitoring it to establish whether the estimates you made are reflected on the monthly utility bills. Make adjustments as time progresses.
Home Practices to Save Gas
Most households are reeling from the effects occasioned by a change in natural gas prices. Deregulation has caused its prices to experience a massive spike, which has forced homeowners to start looking into ways they can use to save gas usage at home. Some of the recommended options include:
Regularly check for the presence of leaks in your home. It’s the simplest way to confirm that no gas is going to waste. Constantly check the burner, the pipes, and the regulator for the presence of leaks, which may at times go for long durations without getting noticed.
Boil water once
For homeowners that have to boil water for daily use, periodic boiling may increase their energy bills. Installing a water purifier or water filter in the residence will reduce the need to constantly boil drinking water using natural gas or LPG. Storing the boiled water in a thermos will also reduce the need to keep boiling the water.
Cook on low flames
Using a low flame to cook ensures that your food won’t get overcooked and that it will be nutritious. Additionally, cooking on a low flame also guarantees that no gas will go to waste. When your pan becomes hot, you can proceed to lower the flame enabling you to save on gas bills.
When it comes to considering gas suppliers, it does not always come down to cost. Consumers should bear in mind their own budgets and usage habits when deciding on which suppliers to consider. By having a greater understanding of their own personal use, can consumers then make a better informed decision on which suppliers to consider in their supplier search.