How to Shop and Compare Electricity Rates in Connecticut
You can choose your energy supplier in Connecticut. Here's what you should know about deregulation and how to weigh plans and rates.
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Only 18 states are deregulated -- where you have the power to choose who supplies your energy -- and Connecticut is one of them.
If you live in Connecticut, you've probably noticed that your electricity costs have steadily increased over the past few years. According to the Energy Information Administration, residents of the Constitution State face one of the country's highest average residential electricity prices, approximately 33.23 cents per kilowatt-hour as of March 2023.
With many Americans already feeling the financial squeeze caused by high inflation rates and the rising cost of living, high electricity bills can add to the current financial burden. Fortunately for Nutmeggers, Connecticut operates as a deregulated energy market, offering potential opportunities for relief. Individuals can switch to a lower-cost electricity supplier by conducting a simple online search. Here's everything you need to know to help you make an informed decision about switching your Connecticut electricity supplier.
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Deregulation in Connecticut: What does that mean?
Deregulation in Connecticut has wholly transformed the state's electricity market in most areas within the state. Where deregulation applies, it empowers consumers to have complete control and flexibility to choose their electricity supplier.
Connecticut has had deregulated energy since 1998, and has a few policies that sets it apart from other states, said Christine Ciavardini, client relationship manager at MD Energy Advisors, a Baltimore-based energy consulting firm serving energy industry clients nationwide.
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There are still subsections where deregulation and supplier choice is not an option, though. Certain parts of the state function as cooperative public corporations, where consumers can't choose their suppliers, Ciavardini said. In the rest of the state, consumers can choose their energy supplier and receive incentives and rebates when they switch from conventional energy sources to cleaner, more sustainable energy alternatives.
In Connecticut, the state requires suppliers to adhere to specific regulations that prioritize consumer protection. These regulations include requirements for suppliers to transparently disclose terms and conditions, provide standardized billing and offer consumers a diverse range of energy options.
Connecticut utility vs. choosing an electric supplier
In Connecticut, it's important to note that while you can't switch your utility company, as long as you are not in a coop (cooperative public corporation) utility area, you can choose your electricity or natural gas supplier. The utility companies in Connecticut are:
Both companies are responsible for delivering and maintaining the energy infrastructure in the state. However, the state's energy deregulation gives residential and commercial customers the ability to choose a supplier or retailer that offers competitive rates or uses various types of energy fuel.
When choosing an energy supplier or retailer, you can compare companies based on pricing plans, contract terms, renewable energy options and customer service. Here's a list of a few of the electricity suppliers in Connecticut:
What types of electricity plans are offered in Connecticut?
Connecticut offers fixed price and variable, or index rate, electricity plans to residential customers, Ciavardini said. A fixed price provides budget certainty, as consumers lock in their rate and won't have to think about it again until their contract ends. In contrast, a variable plan allows consumers to ride the market and save if the wholesale market price drops or pay more if it goes up.
How do you find the best electricity rates in Connecticut?
Residential customers generally focus on the price per kilowatt-hour and key terms and conditions, said Ciavardini. They should also consider payment terms and make sure no surprise costs can inflate the fixed price initially agreed upon.
Residential customers in Connecticut can visit the website of the state's official Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to find information on how to compare energy supplier rates. According to Ciavardini, it's worth it for consumers to explore their options, assess the market conditions and understand their risk tolerance.
Consumers also need to study the terms and conditions in their contracts so they don't have factors like automatic rollover triggers when the initial contract expires or early termination fees.
Ciavardini also notes that market volatility can affect the rates for electricity supply contracts. This variability can bring about benefits when market rates decrease, but it also carries risks when prices increase. Therefore, consumers need to recognize their level of risk tolerance and choose products that fall into their comfort zone. Additionally, consumers can convert variable or index price contracts to a fixed price midterm if the market stabilizes.
Correction Aug. 18: This story originally presented some statements as direct quotations that were actually paraphrases of what the individual cited had said. Those passages have now been rendered appropriately as paraphrases.