Fixed energy plans guarantee the same rate for a set period of time, often 24 to 36 months. These plans help you avoid paying more for electricity if energy prices fluctuate during your contract^. Fixed rate plans give customers more predictable electricity bills each month.
Variable rate energy plans do not offer a guaranteed rate the way fixed rate plans do. Instead, rates will fluctuate according to the energy market throughout your contract. This can mean you save money if market rates drop, but you can also end up paying more than you would with a fixed rate plan if energy rates increase.
Single Family Home
If you live in a single family home, you’ll have an individual meter for electricity or gas that you can check easily to monitor your usage. Smart meters allow you to regularly keep track of your usage and easily switch to a new home energy company without interrupting service.
Condominiums may have individual meters, which gives you the most control over your residential energy provider. Other complexes use submeters, or use master metering, which calculates your usage as a percentage of the overall usage. If you’re unsure of how energy is billed in your complex, check with your homeowners association or realtor.
Apartment complexes are similar to condos in that energy metering varies between building types. Some buildings use individual meters, while others have master metering or sub-metering, similarly to condominium complexes. Before you sign a lease, ask your property manager how your energy billing will work.
Mobile home parks typically have master metering. If yours does, know that park owners can’t add surcharges or additional fees on to your bill—you pay the same electricity or natural gas rate that the energy provider charges. Master metering doesn’t allow residents to choose their individual energy company, but in some cases residents do have a say in which provider the park chooses.