For many states throughout the US, energy consumers have the option to purchase their supply services from an electricity supplier or REP (retail electricity provider). This power to choose can provide huge financial benefits to businesses of different sizes.
Electricity Suppliers in Deregulated Energy Markets
In markets where electricity is regulated, the utility is typically responsible for all aspects within the business process. From generation to customer service, they monopolize the market and the whole buying process, making it difficult for competition to develop in order to help to keep rates fair and reasonable.
In a deregulated market, such as the markets available in states like Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, electricity suppliers have the opportunity to market themselves as the provider of electricity directly to homes and businesses. They can offer customers plans and products directly to consumers, which benefits the market as a whole as competition encourages companies to continuously offer the best products.
There are many electricity providers for a customer to choose from, which means that these companies need to focus on offering the best products, rates and plans to retain and attract customers. If a customer isn’t happy with their electric supplier, they have the option to choose someone else.
That being said, in an deregulated energy market, utilities remain responsible for the delivery and maintenance of electricity. This means that if poles or wires require repair, the utility must send one of their qualified employees to fix the problem. Electricity bills also continue to reflect these charges.
Overall, the purpose of energy deregulation is to generate more competition, which gives consumers a little more control over their electricity bill. It allows customers pick an electricity supplier that best suits their needs, with the option to switch to a competitor at any time.
Types of Electricity Supplier Customers
An electricity supplier can provide service to two main types of customers. These types of customers include:
Residential: This customer is someone who lives or resides in a building like a house, apartment, mobile home, townhouse, etc. The building in which this customer resides requires electricity to power different appliances like a refrigerator, air conditioner or even a laptop.
Commercial: This type of consumer requires electricity to power a building where people go to work — not live. For example, the owner’s of an office buildings, restaurant, or retail store are all classified as commercial customers. These customers are also often referred to as business customers.
What’s the Difference?
Aside from the obvious differences, the main difference between a residential electricity customer and a commercial customer is the amount of energy that is consumed. Commercial customers often need to provide power for lighting, machinery, computing, etc. for larger buildings with lots of employees and technology. Since commercial customers purchase larger volumes of electricity, electricity suppliers can and will oftentimes be much more aggressive in the rates offered to these types of customers.
The quality of electricity between commercial and residential customers is exactly the same.
Businesses in the United States
There are many different types of businesses in the United States. While business buildings can be defined as an office complex, warehouse, retail space and so on, all businesses are classified into different industries. An industry is defined as the production of goods and/or service within a specific or related field.
Types of U.S. Industries
The United States Department of Labor separates businesses into several main categories or industries including:
- Wholesale Trade
To help further classify businesses in the United States, the Department of Labor developed something called the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code. The SIC Code helps to define each of the major industries using a four-digit number. The current range of SIC codes include:
0100-0999 = Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
1000-1499 = Mining
1500-1799 = Construction
1800-1999 = not used
2000-3999 = Manufacturing
4000-4999 = Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas and Sanitary service
5000-5199 = Wholesale Trade
5200-5999 = Retail Trade
6000-6799 = Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
7000-8999 = Services
9100-9729 = Public Administration
9900-9999 = Non-classifiable
It is possible for anyone to access the SIC code manual to learn more about each of the industries in greater detail. Information on the electric industry is included in a section alongside Transportation, Communication, Gas and Sanitary Services. It is part of Industry Group 491 to 493 identified by SIC codes, 4911 and 4931.
United States Business Demographics
- Businesses in the United States: 30 million (approximately)
- Largest Companies: Walmart, Samsung, ExxonMobil
- Number of Employed Citizens: 125.89 million
- Most Profitable Industry: Accounting, Tax Preparation, Book Keeping and Payroll Services
- Largest Industries in the United States: Energy, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Agriculture
- State with the most Fortune 500 Companies: California
Energy and Commercial Buildings
In the United States, many commercial building are constructed with energy efficiency in mind. These types of buildings are called Zero Energy Buildings. The development of this type of building can be broken down into a two step process:
- Increase Energy Efficiency via building construction, systems and appliances, changes in user behavior and operation and maintenance.
- Tackle remaining needs with upgraded renewable energy generation technologies (on-site).
Zero Energy Buildings are an important element to consider as a business in the United States. The reason for this is because any effort by a business to decrease the amount of energy consumed, or to use energy that is generated more efficiently will help to reduce the cost of that energy over time. Ultimately, it helps to lower the amount a business has to pay for electricity.
Better Building Workforce
Better Building Workforce is an initiative that strives to make commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next ten years.
The benefits to participating in this initiative helps to reduce the cost of electricity for a business because the overall energy consumption is much less compared to buildings that aren’t as energy efficient.
Business Electricity Suppliers by State
While there are many electricity suppliers in most deregulated markets, there are some that only provide services to residential customers. When searching for business electric suppliers, it’s important to make sure that they offer rates and plans to commercial customers. With sites like ours, this process is made easy. All that’s required is to select ‘business’ from the drop down menu above, then enter your zip code. The aggregated results will show available business rates and plans from different electricity suppliers in the area.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a short list of business electricity suppliers by state. This list is by no means exhaustive but includes:
First Choice Power
Censtar Energy Corp
Gold star Energy Group
Agera Energy LLC
Perigee Energy LLC
Advantage Energy Partners
Better Cost Energy
Commercial and Industrial Energy Solutions
Option One Energy
Your Choice Energy
Sunwave Gas and Power
Town Square Energy
Better Cost Energy, LLC
Clear Energy Solutions, LLC
Avian Energy Group
Better Cost Energy
Utility Savings Solutions
Liberty Power Holdings
Nordic Energy Services
Bold Coast Energy, LLC
Legend Energy Advisors LLC
Sprague Energy Solutions, Inc.
Beacon Energy Solutions
Connect Energy Resources
In Source Power
Reflective Energy Solutions
US Sun Energy
NextEra Energy Services
QVINTA Energy Services
Quick Energy Solutions
Rapid Power Management
The Energy Link
Town Square Energy East
Trident Retail Energy
Wolverine Power Marketing Cooperative
UP Power Marketing
Absolute Energy Services
East Avenue Energy
Secure Energy Solutions
Union Atlantic Electricity Corp.
Yolon Energy Group
American Power & Gas of NJ, LLC
NextEra Energy Services New Jersey, LLC
Abest Power & Gas of NJ
Discount Energy Group
FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.
Glacial Energy of New Jersey
Nordic Energy Services
Summit Energy Services
Abest Power & Gas
AP Gas & Electric
CenStar Energy Corporation
Green light Energy
Public Power LLC
EDF Energy Services
Shell Energy North America
Champion Energy Services
Clean Choice Energy
Stream Energy Columbia
WGL Energy Services
Again, this list is limited and is not exclusive by any means.
Typical Electric Plans for Businesses
Electricity plans for business customers typically have similar elements. Understanding these elements will help consumers to better budget and pay for their electricity services.
Business electricity plans generally see a discount or lower rates based on consumption compared to residential plans due to the fact that business consume more electricity. That being said, many electricity suppliers will provide businesses with fixed and variable pricing options. This structure is similar to residential plans and just like residential customer contracts, it is important to understand the contract terms and end date.
Many contracts do not allow the business customer to switch providers until the end date is reached. On the other hand, some contracts do allow a business to make a switch to a different supplier if they pay a fee for breaking the original contract terms.
As with residential contracts, it is very important to make sure that the contract is reviewed carefully and that whoever is signing the contract understands the terms they are signing for.
Tips for Businesses Comparing Electricity Suppliers
Searching for an electricity supplier as a business owner can sometimes feel overwhelming and time consuming. It doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help streamline the process so that businesses get a great deal on the energy they consume including:
- Consider contacting energy consultants — like us — who specialize in negotiating energy contracts with business suppliers.
- Understand average business usage. In the United States, the average electricity usage for micro businesses on the low-end is, 5,000 kWh and on the high-end, 15,000 kWh. For small businesses their average low-end usage is, 15,000 kWh with a high-end of 25,000 kWh. Medium businesses have a low-end usage of 30,000 kWh hour and a high-end usage of 50,000 kWh. If a business consumes 100,000 kWh or more, this means that it is a large business and electricity suppliers will handle these cases differently.
- Shop around for the supplier that best suits the company’s needs and budget. There are many sites out there that provide aggregation tools to help determine current available plans and pricing.
- Read electricity supplier reviews. Other businesses will certainly have something to say about whether or not they are satisfied with their current provider.
- Know your Business Profile Class. This is based on a business’ usage and Peak Load Factor and ensures that the company is on the correct plan.
- Obtain lots of quotes from different suppliers. It can provide a bit of leverage and bargaining opportunities.
- Some electricity suppliers will offer a company further discounts depending on payment method.
If you need us to help you find a electric provider for your business, call us today at 1-800-974-3020.