As temperatures start to rise, so might your electricity bill. But you don't have to be stuck with just one utility company anymore. Instead of always relying on the most familiar names like Con Edison and Long Island Power Authority, you can choose your own energy service company, or "ESCO."
And yet, few people do. Only twenty-five percent of Con Edison's customers rely on a third party company to provide their electricity and/or gas. Karim Aldilemi, a homeowner in Astoria, Queens and Con Edison customer, believes "it would be helpful to reduce my bill."
It's easy enough though, to switch your energy company. Your choice is just a mouse click away.
Sites like PowerYourWay.com list ESCO's that are approved by the Public Service Commission. You can then shop rates, and choose the company that best fits your needs, whether you're a residential or a business customer. Queens resident Chris Copeland didn't know about the option, which has been around for twelve years. Copeland says "if I knew there were other companies I could go to, I would definitely price shop around."
The "Power Your Way" program from Con Edison is featured in customers' monthly bill. And Adrienne Austin, a Retail Choice Section Manager for Con Edison, says customers who choose to switch their energy supplier now have an incentive: a seven percent discount for two months.
"There really isn't any risk involved," said Austin. "Con Edison continues to deliver the electricity and gas. We respond to the emergencies."
The program began as a way to open the electric industry to competition. But some customers, like Maria Cantinella of Astoria, is standing firm with her utility company, Con Edison. She says "I've been with them for so many years and I have no problems."
Austin says some ESCO's are now offering free movie tickets or frequent flyer miles to lure new customers. To make your own power choices, all you have to do is contact your own utility company and shop around!