What Makes a Great Retail Energy Provider?
When it comes to choosing an alternative energy supplier, getting the cheapest energy rate isn’t the only criteria. There are other important factors such as the length of the contracts, cancellation fees, sign-up bonuses or how hard is it to actually make the switch. The reliability of the power supply can be important and also hidden fees that may apply.
To find the best energy provider in the U.S., we looked at ratings for customer satisfaction, service and the best rates from energy suppliers
across the nation’s deregulated electricity and natural gas markets. Since your local utility company is still responsible for delivering energy to customers, it’s important for the provider to work well with the local utility.
See if you could be getting a better deal:
America's Biggest Energy Companies
Biggest Market Value
Great market value, for an energy company, may not necessarily mean their rates are cheap or their service is great. It’s certainly important for investors though, and it often means that the company is doing something right. According to the statistics portal Statistica
, the nation’s largest electricity and natural gas utilities in 2018 by market value were, NextEra, Duke Energy and Southern Company.
Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. is an investment company investing in power generation, transmission and distribution with a market capitalization of $75.8 billion. Duke Energy Corporation out of Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the U.S. with a market capitalization of $56.3 billion.
The Southern Company based in Atlanta, Georgia sells electricity in the wholesale market. Operating through subsidiaries like Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power or Mississippi Power, it has a market capitalization of $45.3 billion.
Number of Residential And Business Customers
The largest utility company in the U.S. by number of residential and business customers is Pacific Gas & Electric Company of California (PG&E, CA) with about 5.5 million customers in 50 counties across California. The second largest utility company is Southern California Edison (SCE) with a little over 5 million customers in Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara. Followed by Florida Power & Light (FPL) with almost 4.9 million customers, mainly in the in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida.
The largest utility in the State of New York, and number 5 in the nation, is New York’s primary utility Consolidated Edison or Con Ed. Even with a small coverage area, Con Ed provides electricity and natural gas services to about 4.5 million customers, mainly in New York City.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index
(ACSI) and JD Power track customer evaluations of the quality of products and services for utilities across the nation. The ACSI is a national economic indicator of customer satisfaction for municipal and cooperative energy utilities as well as for investor-owned utilities. JD Power provides rankings for different size utilities in different regions across the nation.
The investor-owned utility company with the highest U.S. customer satisfaction score nationwide in 2018 is CenterPoint Energy with 82 out of a possible 100 points. It’s followed by Atmos Energy and Southern Company, which scored 80 and 79 points respectively. The highest scoring New York-based utility is Consolidated Edison, which ranks sixth, with a customer satisfaction score of 78. According to the ACSI, the highest-ranking municipal utility is the Tempe, Arizona-based Salt River Project, followed by San Antonio’s CPS Energy.
JD Power’s East Region
Comparing different sized utilities in the East region, the most trusted large utility is PPL Electric Utilities followed by PECO and Baltimore’s BGE. Con Ed is ranking seventh out of 16 utilities. In the Midsize Section, Penn Power is leading before Green Mountain Power and Potomac Edison.
Energy Companies That Stand Out
Dallas, Texas-based Ambit Energy offers an opportunity for customers to earn free energy. The company provides electricity and natural gas services to nearly 1.2 million people in deregulated markets across the United States.
Ambit Energy gives out over one million dollars to their customers every month through their Free Energy program. Customers can reduce their monthly energy bills when they refer friends to become Ambit Customers. Depending on the number of customers referred, your bill could be reduced to taxes and fees only. Ambit applies the credit directly to your energy bill or mails out a check for as long as you maintain a minimum number of qualified referrals.
Donations to Charities
Also based in Dallas, Texas, 4Change Energy donates 4% of its yearly profits to local charities, including the American Cancer Society and Feeding Texas. The company also offers eco-friendly options sourced from 100% wind energy.
Green Energy Supplier
Green Mountain Energy, a subdivision of NRG Energy based in Houston, Texas is a 100% renewably sourced supplier offering pollution-free plans sourced from wind or solar energy, as well as carbon offsets. They’re serving the Con Ed and other New York markets with three different renewable energy plans.
Best Energy Suppliers to Work For
According to Business Insider, the best American utility company to work for is Southern Company; 88% of their employees are highly satisfied at their jobs. Southern Company is a gas and electric utility holding company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. 28% of the company’s employees reported low levels of stress at work. It’s followed by Chevron out of San Ramon, California (81% of employees) and Houston, Texas-based ConocoPhillips (70%).
Best Energy Suppliers in New York
According to Consumer Affairs, the five best rated New York electricity companies are Champion Energy, followed by Direct Energy, Spark Energy Gas and Electricity, Ambit Energy and Constellation.