Frequently Asked Questions
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Electric and Gas Suppliers Questions
Community Solar Questions
Rooftop Solar Questions
What is an electric or gas supplier?
An electric supplier or gas supplier is the company that simply generates your electric or gas supply while your utility continues to deliver it.
Why should I shop for electricity or gas?
By lowering your generation or supply rate, you can save hundreds of dollars a year or more depending upon your monthly or annual usage.
How does deregulation help utility customers?
Deregulation offers electric and gas customers in several states the option to choose a competitive company to generate their electric or gas supply. When switching suppliers, consumers can benefit from cost savings, excellent customer service and still receive the same reliable service from the utility for any service needs.
Why is my utility company encouraging me to shop for a new supplier?
Utilities make their profits on the delivery of your energy but not the supply so they encourage you to take advantage of lower electric or gas supply rates.
What will my new electric or gas supplier do?
They will simply generate your power supply while the utility continues to deliver it, maintain your lines, billing, etc.
What are the different sections on my utility bill?
There are three components to your utility bill including supply (or generation), delivery and transmission. By switching suppliers, you will be able to affect the charges for the supply portion of your bill. The charges are for: Supply or Generation: The cost to produce the energy you consume. Transmission: The cost to move the energy supply from the place of production to the utility’s distribution system. Distribution: The delivery of electricity or gas to your home or business.
Will I get two electric bills?
No, you will still receive the same bill from the utility you currently use unless otherwise noted when selecting a plan. The only changes to your bill will be the Supplier and the supply rate listed.
Do I have to pay a deposit?
What is the “Price to Compare”?
This is the price that the utility charges to generate your electricity or gas supply. How long will it take before my service begins with a new supplier? It can take 1-2 billing cycles to reflect your new supplier and rate on your bill. Once you enroll, it can take a few business days for your new supplier to process and verify your account with the utility. After that, you will officially be switched following your next meter reading.
What is a variable rate?
A variable rate is a rate that may fluctuate on a monthly basis based upon current market conditions. Wholesale market conditions are the biggest reason rates could change up or down.
How often can the variable rate change?
A supplier’s variable rate should only change once a month (if it changes at all). For variable rate plan customers, you will see the new rate each month reflected on your bill.
What is a fixed rate?
A fixed rate is a rate that you can lock into for a specific length of time, generally 6, 12 or even 24 months. Business customers can get fixed rate contracts for up to 60 months depending upon the supplier.
What do I do when the expiration comes up on a fixed rate plan?
Suppliers will generally notify you about a month or two prior to the plan expiration date to see if you want to continue at the new fixed rate they are offering. If you don’t respond, you will automatically be renewed or you can switch suppliers at that time.
Do I have to call the utility and tell them to switch my electric supplier?
No. Your new supplier will notify your utility that you have switched. If you are already with a competitive supplier other than the utility and are switching again, you can simply switch to the new supplier and the utility will notify your previous supplier that you have transferred companies.
Who do I call if my power goes out?
You still call your utility company for any service needs, outages or emergencies.
When I switch suppliers is there a disruption of power?
No. The switch from one supplier to another is seamless and there is no interruption in service.
How will I know that I am a customer of my new supplier?
You will see your new supplier and lower rate listed on your bill in 1-2 billing cycles.
Can we switch suppliers if we're on a budget plan?
Yes, you can switch suppliers in an effort to save money on your bill. Any budget plan you have in place with the utility will remain uninterrupted.
Why is my electricity bill so high?
There are a lot of reasons why your bill could be surprisingly expensive. You are charged by how much energy you use – measured in kilowatts hours (kWh). If your bill is higher than you expected, it may be because you are consuming more energy than you realize.
Can I reduce electricity delivery charges?
Electricity delivery charges (frequently called UDC or Utility Distribution Company charges on your bill) are fees from the utility that delivers electricity to your area. These charges are determined by the state and everyone is charged the same amount, regardless of who your provider is.
What is Community Solar?
You receive benefits of solar power, without equipment installation. It’s also called shared solar, because it is a solar energy sharing program where solar energy is produced by a solar farm (sometimes called a solar garden). Local residents and businesses that subscribe to or own a portion of the farm are able to participate in solar energy. In turn, the community members receive solar credits. The program allows for locals to benefit from solar energy and support clean energy generation without taking the additional steps necessary to install rooftop panels on their property.
What are the benefits of Community Solar?
You are able to participate in clean energy and assist with locally owned solar farms. When you go solar, you actively help send renewable energy to the power grid, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. There is no rooftop installation, no home inspection requirement, and no ongoing maintenance. Additionally, there are no upfront costs for, and overtime, based on your home’s energy usage and the farm’s output, you could save on your home’s electricity costs. Lastly, the construction and maintenance of local solar farms provide new local jobs for your community. Great for the environment. Great for your local community.
How is Community Solar different from rooftop solar?
Rooftop solar and community solar farms – BOTH offer the pathway to green and cleaner energy. Perhaps customers are not ready for the commitment of installing panels. Once a rooftop solar system is installed and activated, a homeowner is responsible for the maintenance of the panels, if they own the panels. Doing the community solar option is more flexible, because it does not include rooftop installation or the associated requirements. Instead, the solar energy is generated by a nearby solar farm that is constructed and operated by our business. No up front costs, financing or regular maintanence expenses with community solar. Rather than solar energy being generated by and for one property, Community Solar farms generate power for the wider community, and deliver power directly to the power grid. Both solar options include long-term contracts.
How does Community Solar work?
The solar farms are supported by local residents and businesses that can subscribe to a portion of the farm, relative to the size of their home or business. The solar energy generated by the subscriber’s farm allocation is sent directly to the power grid, and the subscriber receives solar credits, or Net Metering Credits, for the same solar output.
How does Community Solar help the environment?
Solar energy production adds clean, renewable energy to power distributed by the electric grid. Renewable energy currently makes up 17% of energy generation in the United States. Meanwhile, nearly 63% of energy comes from fossil fuels. With Community Solar, you can help be part of a shift to increase the use of renewable energy sources. In just your first year as a Community Solar customer, you can support the environmental impact of planting 7.9 acres of forest in the U.S., switching 225 regular light bulbs to LEDs, and offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a car driving over 16,000 miles. That is the same as driving from San Francisco to New York, over 5.5 times!
Do the panels still operate when there are power outages?
No. In a power outage, our systems automatically shut off for the safety of the workers that repair the power lines.
Will solar panels cause my roof to deteriorate?
No. Solar panels are not attached directly to your roof, but rather to a racking system that has been wind, water, and fire tested to ensure no leaks or damage will occur. Additionally, shingles on your roof will often last longer under installed panels because they are less exposed to UV light.
How many watts per hour will a panel produce?
There are many factors that affect the production of a solar panel (location, orientation, tilt, weather, season, shade, etc.). Solar panels produce varying amounts of energy through the day. When the sun is low in the sky, solar panels will generate less power than in the afternoon when they are receiving direct sun exposure.