What to Ask When Selecting an Energy Provider

Retail energy choice gives colleges, universities and other higher education facilities the chance to access innovative products and services, and potentially lower energy costs.

But with retail choice comes the responsibility to select the provider that will best meet your needs. When researching energy providers, be sure to ask these five questions:

Question 1

How have you helped other higher education facilities like mine manage energy costs?

Why ask? Your supplier should have a track record of servicing higher education facilities of your size that face similar challenges.

What to ask When Choosing an Energy Supplier

What should I listen for?

checkmark icon

 Challenges the provider helped the customer overcome 

checkmark icon Products and services used

checkmark icon Specific results

See how Direct Energy Business helped one institution of higher learning find energy savings with market intelligence.


Question 2

What kinds of tools do you have to help higher education customers navigate energy markets and control costs?

Why ask? Your supplier should empower you with information to make smart energy decisions.

What should I listen for?

checkmark icon Market trends and forecast reports

checkmark icon Historical volume data

checkmark icon Benchmarking data 


Question 3

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Energy Provider

What products and services do you offer to help our higher education facility lower our demand for energy—and costs?

Why ask? A provider should be committed to helping you use less energy and cut costs.

What should I listen for?

checkmark icon

 Demand Response program

checkmark icon Energy efficiency solutions

checkmark icon Alternative energy products


Question 4

What kinds of products do you offer for customers with a low tolerance for risk?

Why ask?  Your provider should tailor their offerings to suit your budget goals and level of risk tolerance.

What should I listen for?

checkmark icon Fixed price/firm-variable price and hybrid supply products

checkmark icon Strategic services to help execute purchasing


Question 5

How do you structure your pricing, and how would a monthly bill break down for a higher education customer like us?

Why ask? It's vital that you understand how you'll be charged for energy.

What should I look for?

checkmark icon Clear indications of costs that are charged separately (e.g., capacity, line losses)

checkmark icon Costs charged by contracted volume vs. consumption

With due diligence, your higher education facility can find an energy supplier offering the right product mix and the expertise to help you lower your energy bills while providing the best educational resources for your students.


To learn how Direct Energy Business can help higher education facilities like you

Download our FREE eGuide: Total Energy Management for Higher Education


1 U.S. Department of Energy, "Higher Education," retrieved February 2016

2 Nationalgrid.us, "Managing Energy Costs in Colleges and Universities







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