Saving money is always a top concern of any co-op or condo board, so when energy deregulation first offered customers the opportunity to choose their energy provider in 1998, it seemed that lower energy bills were on the way. But in the time since deregulation first came into effect, many companies have not survived, and many customers have not realized the savings they'd hoped for. So what's the best way to choose a new energy service company (ESCO) and find a good deal, if you're still looking to switch?Doing the Research
If you're just starting out in the process of researching ESCOs, Larry Kurtz, president of Accurate Energy Group in Bellmore, N.Y., suggests visiting the New York State Public Service Commission's (PSC) Web site at www.dps.state.ny.us or go to Con Edison's at www.poweryourway.com. There you can find a listing of current ESCOs that are eligible to sell energy in New York. It's a good idea to check prices with several companies you may be considering. Vincent DiCeglio, a utility rate analyst for Utility Check, Ltd. in Rockville Center, N.Y., suggests calling the various companies and asking for their price per kilowatt hour. This will give you a beginning basis for comparison. See if there are any current incentives the ESCO is offering to new customers, and if the prices quoted include taxes.
Stephen Galowitz, president of Utilisave, LLC, in New Rochelle, N.Y., says it's important to keep in mind that there aren't differences in the actual product you're buying, no matter who you buy it from. That is, you're not buying the molecules; the energy, whether it is gas or electric, is the same product. Only the actual companies differ, and that's how you will make the distinction between ESCOs. At the beginning of your ESCO search, consider three things:
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