Energy deregulation allows you to shop for a power provider and choose between several unique plans. This is new for many households used to just signing up with whatever company is currently providing power to the home. You have to know how to shop for your plan. Here are some tips for picking the best energy plan for your home when on a budget.

Pay Attention to Contract Lengths

The first tip is to pay attention to contract lengths. Energy providers offer contracts that can last for as little as a month or as long as three years. Contracts a year or more in length are good because you often get better rates and discounts. You are also stuck with that one plan. Shorter contracts tend to be a little more costly but allow you to switch to a new plan or provider if service is not satisfactory. You might even want to try a no contract plan first before signing a long-term plan to test the service.

Decide Between Variable or Fixed Rates

The average rate for electricity has dropped over the last year. It went from 0.135 cents to 0.133 cents over the course of a year. Think about this when deciding between variable or fixed rate energy plans. A fixed rate plan will lock in a single price for the term of your contract. This can save you money if power rates rise. Variable rates will be adjusted each month based on the market. This can save you money if power rates drop. Look at the rate history in your area and choose the plan that best fits the trends.

Always Compare Multiple Companies

Although comparing plans within a single energy provider is important, you also want to compare entire companies. Use a site like to do side-by-side comparisons of power providers in your area. You want to look at all aspects of the companies from customer service to billing options. Pick a company that has favorable features, low rates and a good reputation.

Look For Energy Saving Features

The average household today uses about 911 kilowatt-hours of electricity every month. You want to look for an energy plan and provider that has features to help lower that number in your home. Smart meters allow you to monitor your energy use from minute to minute sometimes through mobile apps. The plan might have exceptionally low off-peak hour electricity rates. There could be incentive or discount programs that reward you with lower prices for using less energy. Find a plan that will help you to save money on power.