The end of the year is a good time for reflecting on annual energy use and planning for the months ahead in order to conserve more energy and reduce costs. An essential part of that process is reviewing your annual energy plan.
Your annual energy plan determines how affordable your electric and gas service will be beyond the rates. Below are key considerations that can help you reflect on past energy use while reviewing your annual energy plan for the new year.
Will There Be Any Major Shifts in Your Energy Use?
Before you consider your past energy use, it helps to first think about how the months ahead will compare. If there won’t be any major changes to the way you use energy, then the last 12 months are a good indicator of energy use for the coming year. However, if there will be significant shifts in how energy is used you’ll want to account for that.
Major changes in energy use could include:
- Adding a solar panel system
- Working more from home or away from home
- Child starting school
- New person living in the home
- Major addition like a spa that uses a lot of energy
- Energy efficiency improvements
Use the past year as a benchmark, and adjust up or down from there based on the expected changes.
Your Personal Peak Energy Demand Period
Something else to consider when you’re reviewing your annual energy plan is your personal peak energy demand period. Peak energy demand hours are generally from around 12pm to 9pm, depending on the time of year and region. But the hours of peak energy use vary from one household to the next.
If the household has an adult that’s a night shift worker and another adult that cares for a baby that sleeps through the night and wakes up early, the peak energy use could be from 6am to 12pm. Or you might work two 12-hour shifts on the weekend and you’re home all day during the week.
Because there are now time-of-use electricity plans, when you use energy can make a difference in the overall cost. No matter what, your annual energy plan should match your lifestyle so you get the most affordable service possible without having to make major adjustments to how you use energy.
Underutilization of Your Energy Plan
Are you making the most use out of your current energy plan? Sometimes it may seem like your annual energy plan is inadequate when in fact it’s simply underutilized.
Really dig into the details of your energy plan. Call the customer service department to ask questions and see if there are other options you can get. There could be benefits or perks that you aren’t taking advantage of or know nothing about. Or you could make some adjustments to your account like switching to autopay to get bonuses and avoid extra costs.
If the rates aren’t much lower than your existing plan, then it may be best to optimize what you already have rather than switching energy providers.
What’s Happening With Energy Rates
Energy is a global commodity with a moving price point. The rates for natural gas and electricity (that’s largely produced using natural gas) can change at any time for a variety of reasons.
But you don’t want to just think about the energy rates now, especially if your current energy plan doesn’t end for a few months. When you’re planning for the year ahead you’ll want to consider how energy rates are likely to fluctuate, especially if you are considering a variable rate plan.
Is the price of natural gas dropping?
What have energy prices done historically in your region?
What time of year are rates likely to be the highest?
All of these factors can affect the rate of a new energy plan in the near future. Having a better understanding of this can help you get the right plan at the right time.
How much you pay each month is also impacted by the type of energy plan you have. That’s why it’s important to know how you use energy so you can choose the type of plan that best fits your lifestyle and budget.
For instance, a variable rate plan may seem less expensive at first but the prices aren’t guaranteed and are very likely to change. A fixed rate plan is the safer bet because everything is locked in and won’t change. Or you may find that you consistently use the same amount of energy each month and a pre-paid plan will be the most cost-effective.
Putting some thought to your energy use and reviewing your annual energy plan is always a good idea. You’ll be a more conscious energy consumer and can feel assured that you have the best energy services for your unique needs.
Wondering what Spark Energy has to offer? Give our helpful customer care team a call or check online to find available energy plans in your area. We take care to create energy plans that are ideal for different types of energy consumers so there’s something for everyone!