How to Choose an Energy Supplier for Your Business

The power of choice for electricity and gas suppliers comes with the responsibility to monitor the energy marketplace to find the best fit for your business.
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Unitil supports freedom of choice when it comes to your commercial energy supplier, and there are several energy suppliers registered with the New Hampshire Department of Energy (DOE), the Maine Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) in Massachusetts. It’s important for businesses to explore their options when considering a third-party gas or electric supplier. Here, we’ll fill in the blanks about alternative energy suppliers so that you can make the best choice for your business – before you sign that contract.

Understanding Your Bill

Before you start shopping around, it’s important to understand what it is you’re shopping for. Your utility bill consists of two parts: the delivery and maintenance of service to your business (the poles and wires), and the energy supply itself (gas and/or electricity). Unitil will continue to deliver electricity and gas to commercial customers within its service territory; however, business consumers are free to purchase the electricity or gas from a third party of their choosing. Unitil will still be responsible for restoring outages, and responding to service requests and emergencies. Depending on the supplier you choose, you may receive a combined bill itemizing consumption and other costs, or you could be billed separately.

Shop Smart

Both MA and NH regulatory agencies offer tools on their websites that businesses can use to compare their options, and ME offers a listing of registered natural gas suppliers. In addition, there are several variables for consumers to consider, such as:

  • What is the cost per unit (therms for gas, kWh for electricity)?
  • Is the quote an introductory rate? If so, what will the price be at the end of the introductory period?
  • Is pricing fixed or variable?
  • For fixed-rate pricing, how long is that price guaranteed?
  • For variable-rate pricing, how frequent are rate adjustments?
  • How long is the contract?
  • Does the contract renew automatically?
  • Is there a penalty for early cancellation?
  • What percentage of energy comes from renewable sources?
  • Will the energy charge appear on my Unitil bill, or will I be billed separately?

The decision to switch energy providers is ultimately a personal one. Not all third-party energy suppliers are created equal, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each option to be sure it makes sense for your business and energy needs.

Before you start shopping around, it’s important to understand what it is you’re shopping for.

Will my business save money by switching to an alternative energy provider?

Whether or not you will save money depends on a number of factors, so it’s important to get as much information as you can. Before contacting alternative energy suppliers, know the price you are currently paying for the energy your business uses. Log in to your MyUnitil online account for a copy of your recent bill and visit bijoubook.net/rates to find out what the supply rate will be in the upcoming months.

Will my business have to get a new gas or electric meter?

No. Unitil will continue to provide delivery of your energy, and will still be responsible in the event of an outage or service emergency.

What if I change my mind? Can I switch back to Unitil?

Yes. However, the alternative energy supplier may charge a cancellation fee if you switch before your contract expires.

How can I be sure I’m contracting with a reputable energy supplier?

Competitive energy suppliers must register with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and the Department of Energy (DOE) before selling electricity to customers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A list of providers can be found on their websites.

You can find additional assistance on the Third-Party Energy Suppliers Unitil webpage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regardless of who you purchase your gas or electricity from, delivery and maintenance remain the responsibility of Unitil.
  • Be sure to read the fine print: contracts with early termination fees, variable rates, or introductory pricing may end up costing your business more in the long run.
  • Third-party energy suppliers listed on the DOE and DPU websites are registered with these agencies and have entered into an agreement with Unitil to supply businesses and homeowners with gas and electricity.