What's an ESCO? How You Can Save On Your ConEd Bill

Switching energy providers in the Con Edison service area sounds complicated and confusing. But it's not. And just understanding how it all works can actually help save you some money on your energy bills.

Check out the ESCO Switching in Con Edison FAQ below to learn more.

What are ESCOs?

Simply put, Energy Service Companies or ESCOs are retail supplier that provide natural gas and/or electricity to customers. As a result, New York energy consumers are free to choose to buy natural gas or electricity from retail energy suppliers instead of their local utility. These alternative suppliers shop deals with different electricity generators on the wholesale market to offer their customers competitive rates.

When deregulation began in New York state, all utilities that wanted to participate in consumer choice had to sell off their natural gas collection and electricity generation and supply businesses. These utilties became energy delivery-only businesses. Meanwhile, ESCOs took over the job of shopping for energy supplies on the wholesale market to sell to consumers. Since ESCOs compete with each other for customers, they offer supply at competitive rates.

However, the NY PSC requires local utilities to provide energy supply at a default rate to customers in their service territory who don't shop for a retail supplier. As a result, all NY utilities must purchase their default rate energy supply from natural gas or electricity generation companies.

The default rate is also known as the Price to Compare. In New York City, Con-Ed's default rate can change each month due to weather and demand. This often make things very hard for customers who want to stick to a budget. Retail suppliers, meanwhile, are able to provide customers with fixed rate plans for anywhere from as little as 3 months to 3 years. Fixed rate plans stay the same, month-to-month, and can shield you from seasonal prices spikes or unpredicatable Con-Ed default rates.

In New York City, Con Edison will still deliver your natural gas or electricity. They are responsible for maintaining their pipelines and poles and wires that bring energy to your home or business - no matter who you buy it from.

Who regulates ESCOs?

ESCOs must be licensed by the NY Public Service Commisson to do business in the state and their business practices are tightly regulated.

Retail supplier rates are not controlled by the NY PSC nor do they include the same complicated supply surcharges that many local utilities like Con-Ed put into their Price to Compare supply charges. This way, these suppliers are able to offer competitively priced fixed rate plans for a variety of term lengths.

How do I choose a New ESCO

There's a few things to keep in mind when shopping energy rates in the Con-Ed area:

First, get a good understanding of how you use energy through the year. Because all customers use energy differently on a daily basis, not all energy plans and prices will suit every customer.

Second, it's important to pay close attention to the retail suppliers' sales pitches. You need to make sure that they offering a you deal that's suitable to you and your lifestyle.

Third, take time to compare offers and read reviews. You want to shop around with the best companies to find the best deal for you and your family.

Lastly, remember that you always have the option to switch providers if you're unhappy with an ESCO's rates or service -and that includes switching back to Con-Ed's default service.

If you choose to purchase energy from a retail supplier, you will need to provide your Con Edison account number so that they can get you enrolled on their service and notify Con-Ed. The time this takes can vary, but it should not be longer than a few days.

Start by putting in your New York zip code, and click the button to get current rates in your area!

Does electricity get shut off during the change?

No, your energy service will not be interrupted by switching to an ESCO. Con Edison will continue delivering natural gas through their pipelines and electricity over their wires to your home. If you switch, the only difference that you notice will be the change in the rate you pay for your natural gas or electricity.

Can I cancel Con Edison?

Remember that Con Edison is the only company in New York City that delivers natural gas and electricity to your home. However, if you are moving from your present residence or out of the Con Edison service area, contact Con Edison directly to turn off the energy service to your home.

Of course, if you want to switch to a different ESCO or get out of Con-Ed's default rate, you can do that easily here on NY Energy Ratings. Just enter your zip in the box above and fire Con Edison!

How will I be billed?

You could get two separate bills, one from Con Edison and one from the retail supplier. Or, you could get a combined bill including utility delivery charges. However, no matter what billing option you choose, you will still have complete access to your utility billing.

Can I switch back To Con Edison

Yes. If for what ever reason that you are unhappy with the service or rates provided by an ESCO, you can switch back to Con Edison. Although, there may be certain conditions attached depending on the energy supplied and the retail supplier you chose. For instance, you may need to stay with Con Edison for at least one year before switching again to another supplier.

Why does my Con Edison bill rise?

Many customers consider switching from the Con Edison default rate to an ESCO because they have noticed a rise in rates. As already mentioned, Con Edison must buy its energy supply from natural gas producers and generators. Because electricity demand fluctuates due to seasonal weather, the amount Con Edison pay for its energy can vary seasonally; low some months, higher the next. Con Edison passes that supply cost onto its default rate customers.

For customers, that means their energy bills will not only vary from month to month depending on how much energy they use, but also from how much Con Edison's default supply rate is. The best way to avoid unstable monthly rates is to shop for the best fixed rate ESCO plan.

Is it worth switching to a different energy provider?

That is entirely up to the individual customer. On one hand, it depends on how they use energy throughout the year. For example, do they use a programmable or smart thermostat to better control their usage? On the other hand, it also depends on how well they shopped for an energy supplier. For example, did they lock in a long term fixed rate or did they grab a low introductory rate that ended after the first month?

Since customers are the best experts when it comes to their own energy usage, it makes sense for them to decide what energy plans work best for them. Fortunately, you don't need to make that decision alone. NY Energy Ratings is here to help keep you informed not only on how you can save energy but also how to shop smarter and know what to watch out for when comparing different energy plans for your home.