There is no doubt about it — a trusted commercial electricity broker can help making shopping for electricity a whole lot easier and less stressful, and save you quite a bit of money in the process.
But what is a commercial electricity broker and what do they do, exactly? Let’s take a look at how a reputable commercial electricity broker can help you successfully navigate the commercial electricity landscape, as well as the steps you can take to be sure that you and your commercial electricity broker are a good fit for each other.
What is a commercial electricity broker?
Commercial electricity brokers are licensed professionals by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), and are most often paid on commission by the electric provider. They may work independently or on behalf of a brokerage or another agent.
Commercial electricity brokers are similar to real estate or insurance agents. They represent commercial electricity customers and retail electric providers in an electricity procurement transaction without taking title or interest in the commodity, service or delivery.
How is an electricity broker different from an electricity consultant ?
While electricity brokers are focused on electricity procurement services, electricity consultants offer products and services to help reduce demand or overall electricity consumption. In some cases, there may be some overlap in product offerings.
Electricity consultants take a wholistic approach towards assessing your electricity needs. Engagements typically start with an audit of your building and electricity bills. They are interested in seeing how well does your building retain conditioned air, by looking at your HVAC system and ducts, as well as your building’s envelope, inclusive of the roof, windows, doors etc. Then they tackle your major systems, including electrical, lighting, plumbing. And take a dive into your operations, equipment, and machinery to see where demand can be shaved and electricity usage reduced.
When choosing an electricity broker vs electricity consultant, it is important to clearly state your intentions at the onset so that your expectations are properly met.
Network marketers, multi-level MLM reps are not electricity brokers
Commercial electricity brokers represent the customer in the electricity procurement process. They have a singular goal of trying to get the best deal for their client, irrespective of the chosen electric provider.
With network marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM), there is often just one electric provider being presented and a chain of salespeople that stand in line between the electric provider and the customer.
Driven by recruiting
Since the primary focus of network marketing is recruiting then customer acquisition, commissions are pre-determined long before a customer signs up. Everyone tends to have a vested interest because there are many levels that get fed their respective piece of the deal, and electricity prices tend to be more expensive, options limited, and not as competitive as a result.
The focus is on you becoming a customer and remaining their customer, so long as they have influence over the relationship. The only way for everyone to get their share of the commission is to ensure that minimum margins are met. This typically implies that the customer ends up paying for it. It is also why customers who work with multilevel marketing agents end up paying more for electricity.
What do commercial electricity brokers do?
A commercial electricity broker can be a valuable asset in purchasing the right electricity contract and can make the comparison shopping process run smoothly and efficiently from beginning to end. Here are just a few of the advantages of using a well qualified commercial electricity broker.
Provide expert knowledge of market prices
Commercial electricity brokers are professionals who know the price of electricity for your business better than anyone else. Your commercial electricity broker can provide you with helpful tips and insights to help you purchase an electricity contract that’s right for you. They can also help you determine if the price or contract you’re considering has a clause that could make it more expensive than the average, thanks to their knowledge of market prices and electricity contracts, which can save you a great deal of stress.
Handle the heavy lifting
Between juggling work and daily life, most executives and business owners don’t have time to setup multiple calls with various electric providers to endlessly compare electricity prices. Your commercial electricity broker has access to a wide range of electric providers and their daily pricing matrices. This can save you tons of time by finding you rates and contract terms that are most competitive and best for you.
Help with the paperwork
When you’re signing an electricity services agreement, you can expect to read a lot of electricity-specific terms that may be unfamiliar, especially if it’s your first time. Your broker can make sure that you have a good understanding before you sign, complete your paperwork on time, that everything you fill out is correct, and that you address any outstanding issues as quickly as possible. The pricing and contract process can be confusing, but having a trusted commercial electricity broker like Honest Gorilla to guide you through the process can make it a smooth and easy experience.
When is the best time to renew your contract?
Unlike residential electricity, you’re able to shop for electricity far in advance of your contract’s expiration date and lock in a price that you see you and like. There are several tips and tools we have at our disposal to help you take advantage of any major dips in the market.
The electricity market is constantly changing and prices are always fluctuating. If you ever want to see how it is performing at a macro level, you can click here and adjust the timeframe to get an idea if now is a good time to shop or wait. But it’s always best to consult your electricity broker to see what they advise and how these macro numbers translate into today’s pricing.
How do you find the right commercial electricity broker?
As soon as you’re ready to shop for electricity and choose a commercial electricity broker, the next step is finding the relationship that’s right for you and your business’ needs. Here are some tips to help you choose a trustworthy broker.
Tip 1: Ask questions
When you meet with your commercial electricity broker, ask questions about your business to gauge their knowledge, such as:
- How have average electricity prices changed over the past 12 months?
- What are some macro and micro economic drivers which have caused prices to change?
- Which electric providers have the highest and lowest prices?
- How did you choose the electric provider(s) you’re working with?
- What is your biggest money saving tip?
It’s helpful to work with a commercial electricity broker who can teach you about the electricity markets, as one of the major reasons why you hire a broker is to gain access to their inside knowledge so that you can make even smarter decisions in the future.
You can also ask your broker to share some references so you can speak to them firsthand about your experience. If a broker refuses to offer any testimonials or references from past clients, then that can signal a red flag. It may indicate that they have something to hide, or may not know the market as well as they claim.
Tip 2: Check on your broker’s license
The state of Texas requires that commercial electricity brokers be licensed with the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT). This is where disciplinary actions or complaints will be recorded. Before you agree to work with a certain broker, you can look up your broker with the PUCT and make sure their license is in good standing, they have a clean record and there are no pending disciplinary actions on their record.
Tip 3: Read their reviews
Receiving company-provided testimonials and reference are usually going to be the company’s biggest fans. They’ve been cherrypicked and do well if you have specific questions that you’re curious about. However, if you want to know what customers think of their services, a good place to check would be Google reviews. However, not all brokers are going to be on all review sites, like Yelp, Angie etc. Find out where they have the most reviews and start your research there. Oftentimes here you will see unbiased comments and feedback what customers thought of their experience.
Another good place to check would be their social media following on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can see what kind of content they’re creating and helps give you a good feel for the type of company that they are. If they are innovative and creative, posting educational and helpful tips, most likely that will be conveyed in your interactions with your broker.
Tip 4: Look for flexibility
What is your preferred means of communication? Are you only comfortable with text messaging, or do you prefer to speak over the phone? Do you work non-standard hours and need your broker to be available early mornings or late in the evenings? Are you a first-time business owner and prefer a lot of hand-holding when it comes to choosing an electricity contract, or do you want your broker to contact you when they’ve found the best deal for you?
These are some things you’ll want to consider discussing when you meet with your broker. Tell them exactly what type of communication you need, prefer and frequency. You should choose a broker who seems happy to work on your terms.
How to Get Started with Honest Gorilla
As a business owner, operator, manager, we understand that your time is very precious and limited. That is why Eva, our digital electricity assistant, will ask a series of questions to better understand your business and its demand for electricity so that we can provide custom solutions tailored to you. Simply click here to get started and let Honest Gorilla go to work for you.