If you’re a small or mid-size business owner, you know that your energy costs make up a big portion of your operational budget. But lucky for you, your energy bill is also one of the aspects of your business over which you have a great deal of control. Thanks to deregulation in the energy market, business owners have more choice than ever when choosing their supplier. But before you decide to go with a supplier right away, you should consider the following four factors of any energy plan:
1) Fixed vs. Variable Rate: Today, most energy providers offer both fixed and variable rates on their electricity. Whereas business owners who choose a fixed rate can gain the predictability and peace of mind that comes with knowing how much one will spend every month, a variable rate can help business owners take advantage of the swings in the market and potentially get a better deal. For a business dealing with a fixed budget every month, it may be prudent to choose a fixed rate plan to best prepare for any unexpected price changes.
2) Renewable Energy: Lots of energy plans today give businesses the option to choose between renewable energy plans and plans that don’t have any renewable energy. Whereas some companies charge a higher rate for clean energy, this is not always the case and it’s important to shop around to find out what works best for you. However, studies show that businesses that give back can boost their profits and respect in their community. Eco-conscious consumers have been shown to more likely frequent businesses that show their commitment to the environment. Making a positive decision for our planet can improve your business’ reputation, give your employees yet another reason to respect you, and make your community a better place to live in.
3) Length of Contract: Usually, business owners have the choice between committing to energy plans for a set amount of time, which can be anywhere between 3 months and 5 years! Depending on your individual needs, any of these options may be ideal for your business. If you are offered a great deal on a fixed rate plan, it may be a good idea to lock in that rate for a longer period of time, but be sure to pay attention to whether there is a cancellation fee if you ever decide to switch. Also, if energy rates fall during your long contract, you will be unable to take advantage of these lower prices. Alternatively, providers often offer lower rates on shorter 6-month plans and these plans are often a great idea for businesses that desire flexibility and more control over their energy costs. But keep in mind what time of year you decide to sign up. Rates on energy are highest the times of year demand for energy is highest.
4) Time-of-Use Plans: If your business operates during unconventional hours, like at nighttime or during the weekend, it may be a smart idea to sign up for a time-of-use plan, which are increasingly being offered by suppliers these days. These plans offer their customers different rates for different times of day, and some even offer free nights! So, if your business is using most of its energy during a time when demand is lowest, you’ll be able to benefit from a lower rate!
Ultimately, there is a great variety of energy plans available for business owners, and there’s no single plan that will work best for everyone. Depending on your business’ needs, any combination of these types of plans can help you save money in the long run and set yourself apart from your competition!