Shopping Online for Natural Gas and Electricity

Well, I've found an interesting site online which allows you to compare one natural gas company's rates to another. It covers all of the UK and selected areas of the US and Canada. Seems that folks all over the world are getting smart and are looking for ways to "shop around" even when it comes to the utility that provides their energy -- whether gas or electricity.

Unfortunately, it doesn't yet cover my part of the world, but it could soon.

Which got me thinking about the idea of shopping around, even for your energy! Many of us aren't used to doing that: in most areas of the US, you simply sign up with the local utility and that's the end of it. But there are more and more areas of the US and other countries where the electricity markets and gas utilities and oil companies allow the consumer some choice. Where that is true, take advantage of it!

Prices can vary substantially. For instance, for the same natural gas, I saw prices as high as $.50 a cubic meter, and prices as low as $.38 for the same cubic meter. (Some companies measure gas "volume" in the metric system. Confusing for those of us not used to it, but frequently used in the industry.) Even if the metric measurement is confusing, it's clear that you could save 20% just by shopping around.

You can vote with your dollars for cleaner energy too. Some electric companies will now let you buy "green" energy. Fundamentally, it means that you support an electricity producer who is invested in the green technologies, like wind, solar and other non-polluting energy sources. While that energy is dumped onto the same electrical grid that you currently buy from (and no one can be sure that you are getting the exact electrons that came from the green energy source), your dollars for your electricity are paid to the "green" producer that will reinvest in more green technology, which means more green energy. That's a good deal for all of us.

In short, your options are increasing all the time.

So, don't forget to "shop around" when looking for less expensive electricity, gas or oil for your home. You might just be surprised.

Michael

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