I switched my electric provider this week. When I researched prices (which all increased), my old company was better than most of the others, as usual. This time however, one company was identical, and one company was seemingly a little better.
Like last year, my comparison was detailed. Each company sets up rates a little differently, so it’s important to compare information in the right way. The “average” numbers they provide are absolutely useless. I love Excel, and that’s what I used. Using the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) for each company and plan, I calculated each month based on my last year’s usage. Some companies also have a base charge, and I added that into each month. I didn’t compare the delivery cost (separate company) since the retailers usually don’t mark it up. Then, I totaled the months for an annual cost for each plan. The one company that seemed better actually wasn’t because they did have a markup on the delivery company. I almost didn’t catch that!
I called to renew my contract with my old company, and it didn’t go as planned. The rates I saw online were for new customers only. Renewal rates for current customers were higher. That’s so irritating that companies don’t care about keeping current customers.
Last year when I renewed, the customer service agent was able to give me the new customer rate after asking her supervisor. That was nice. I was hoping for the same thing this year. Nope. The guy asked his supervisor, and he still said no. He ended up transferring me to the retention department, but they surprisingly wouldn’t do it either. What’s the point of having a retention department if they can only do what customer service can do?
So, I called the company that had the identical rate (for new customers), and it will be effective on the date my current contract ends. Since it’s a 3-year contract, I get a big break from research. I don’t even have any initial costs (activation, deposit, etc.)! I’m a happy camper. Since they’re just a retailer, my service should remain as good as it has been. The company (TNMP) I’ve always had will still do the actual delivery.
I would love to switch my internet company too, but service would suffer because of the lack of reliable competition in my area. Even though I’m not switching my internet, I have been debating cancelling cable. The problem is that the package is about the same price as if I just had internet. Every year though, I call and tell the automated system that I want to cancel cable. Doing that automatically puts me through to the retention department. I get a new rate which is sometimes better than my previous one, and it’s always better than if I didn’t call.
So, don’t be afraid to make a switch. If a company doesn’t care about keeping you, why should you care about staying? Just do your research first, and make sure you’re making the right comparisons. Even if you’re not switching, it never hurts to ask for a better price.