No matter where you live in the U.S., whether you own or rent, you’ll need to have basic necessities like electricity, water, heating and cooling. In order to get these services you’ll need to contact local energy companies and set up services.
Below is a guide to finding and choosing the best energy companies and services, and how to set up and manage your accounts.
Types of Energy Companies
Depending on where you live there may be a variety of energy companies to choose from, even ones that use new alternative energy sources. Below are three common types of Alaska energy companies.
City-Owned Energy Companies
City-owned and operated energy companies are very common in many areas. The city and its officials take on the responsibility of delivering energy services, setting them up in homes and apartments, installing meter readers and managing client accounts for city residents.
City-owned energy companies are non-profit, but they have the power to limit the number of competing companies that come into the area.
Privately Owned Energy Companies
Privately owned energy companies also offer a variety of services in many areas. If you want to use gas-related or alternative energy services these are often provided by privately owned energy companies.
Privately-owned, or retail, energy companies are for-profit and often offer special promotions. Be aware that some energy companies are affiliates of larger providers. Affiliates simply sell energy services and manage customer accounts, they don’t actually supply the services.
Co-op Energy Companies
Co-op energy companies operate like other types of co-ops with members acting as owners and managers in addition to being recipients of the services. Co-ops are less common than the two types of energy companies mentioned above.
Co-op energy companies are a popular choice for communities interested in using alternative energy sources as a primary method of delivering energy services.
Services Provided by Energy Companies
The services provided by an energy company can vary significantly. It’s important to check with your local providers and be certain exactly what services they provide. It is highly likely you’ll have to work with more than one energy company to meet all of your needs.
Common services supplied by energy companies include:
- · Electricity
- · Water
- · Wastewater
- · Sewage
- · Gas
Working with Energy Companies
No matter which type of energy company you choose you can expect to get billed monthly for the utilities used. This of course means your first bill will be due a month after the utilities are set up at your property. However, some energy companies will require new clients to make a one-time deposit to secure the account. Typically this deposit is returned after a certain period of time or after you close your account.
Like many other businesses today, most energy companies will allow you to set up automatic payments that will withdraw your payments from a checking account. Because your energy bills aren’t a fixed expense some people are leery to set up automatic payments, but it will help you avoid late fees and make the bill paying process earlier.
If you have trouble paying a particularly large bill, contact your energy company and discuss the possibility of paying installments over a period of time rather than a single lump sum. Many people are surprised at how flexible most energy companies are when it comes to making payments.