With electricity costs rising in many areas, securing a fixed energy rate long term that’s also sourced from renewable energy is worth considering.
However, choosing a deregulated supplier like Constellation — versus sticking with your default utility price — may not always be the best choice. What you get from a fixed rate is protection from price fluctuations, but it’s a gamble: Energy prices could decrease after you lock in a fixed rate plan.
Deregulation — or in plain terms, energy choice — gives consumers the option to choose who supplies their energy and how much to pay for it. “Consumers can pick and choose from multiple companies and benefit from competitive pricing, more innovative services and the freedom to select a supplier based on factors that matter to them, such as renewable energy options or customer service,” Jake Edie, an adjunct professor who teaches a course on clean energy in the electric grid at the University of Illinois Chicago, recently told CNET’s Chi Odogwu.
Constellation has a service footprint extending across 17 states (and Washington, DC) with a service history dating back to 1995. The company states it is “the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free energy” and has set a goal “to eliminate 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions by leveraging innovative technology and enhancing our diverse mix of hydro, wind and solar resources, paired with the nation’s largest carbon-free nuclear fleet.”
Constellation’s wide footprint, fixed-rate plans for both gas and electricity and its renewable energy initiatives, make it a company worth considering.
What states does Constellation operate in?
Constellation Energy offers a variety of residential energy plans, including electricity, natural gas, renewable and bundled options. Not all plan types are available in Constellation’s service areas. The following table shows the different types of plans and where they’re offered.
Constellation: Types of plans offered
Fixed-rate electricity plans
Fixed-rate residential electricity plans from Constellation are available in 11 US states. Fixed-rate plans have a set price per kilowatt-hour that you pay monthly. Your bill may vary by month based on your energy usage, but the price per kWh remains the same throughout the contract’s length. Fixed-rate plans are good options if you want a more predictable monthly energy bill and protection from price fluctuations.
Constellation offers fixed-rate contract length options of 12, 24 and 36 months, which is common among electricity providers. A shorter-term plan is beneficial if you plan to move soon or like to switch energy companies frequently. If you can lock in a low rate and stay in the same location for a few years, the longer term options can be a great way to protect yourself from rising electricity rates.
Variable rate plans
Variable-rate plans differ because rates are based on the fluctuating energy market. When the market prices are low, the price per kWh is also low, and vice versa when the demand is high. Consider variable-rate plans if you want to take advantage of market lows and more contract length flexibility. Currently, Constellation provides variable-rate plans exclusively in Texas.
Natural gas plans
Natural gas is often a less expensive energy source than traditional electricity. Like electricity plans, Constellation offers fixed and variable-rate options for natural gas in 13 states plus Washington, DC. Contract lengths for fixed-rate plans last between six months and 24 months.
If you want to try natural gas to see how it affects your energy bill, short plans like Constellation’s six-month plans are good options. Variable-rate plans for natural gas from Constellation are only available in Georgia.
Natural gas is priced per Therm (equal to 29.3 kWh). To get an idea of how prices for electricity compare against natural gas, take the quote for cents per Therm and divide by 29.3. For example, if you see an electricity price that is 8.99 cents per kWh and natural gas for 61.9 cents per Therm, the natural gas cost would equal 2.11 cents per kWh if it were electricity.
Natural gas is an alternative to traditional electricity used for heating and generating electricity, but it’s not exactly eco-friendly. If you’re seeking to reduce your carbon footprint, consider rooftop solar panels, solar battery storage or choosing a renewable energy plan.
Renewable energy plans
Constellation’s renewable fixed-rate energy plans are available in 11 US states and sourced from 100% wind or solar energy. Other companies, like Clearview Energy, use resources like hydropower, geothermal and solar energy for their 100% renewable energy plans. Regardless of the source, renewable plans are good options if you’re eco-conscious and want to reduce your carbon footprint.
Not all renewable plans come with 100% green energy. In some states, like Texas, all electricity plans must have a minimum of 6% renewable energy. Energy companies like Direct Energy and Just Energy provide options with smaller percentages of green energy (like 25%), which is great if you want a partially renewable plan.
Solar panels bundle
If you’re interested in powering your home with solar, Constellation has a unique partnership with Sunrun, a solar panel installation company. Sunrun installs, monitors and maintains solar panels while you make monthly payments through Sunrun using a solar lease or power purchase agreement. In a solar lease, you pay a fixed monthly fee for using the panels, whereas in a PPA you pay a monthly charge per kWh of electricity used from the panels.
Under this Sunrun and Constellation agreement, Sunrun ultimately owns the panels, meaning you won’t be able to take advantage of any federal tax credits or state rebates. Constellation would act as the energy supplier for any excess electricity you needed that the solar panels do not provide. The benefit to you is a reduced cost per kWh for electricity and knowing your energy is sourced by solar.
In general, solar panels can save you thousands on energy costs over time by reducing your monthly energy bill. You can skip the PPA or lease and go straight to a solar panel purchase, too.
Constellation’s solar energy plans are only available in a few states, but there are plenty of other solar company options to choose from besides Sunrun. For a comprehensive list, check out CNET’s guide to the best solar companies.
Bundled dual fuel plans
Where offered, you can bundle natural gas and electricity plans for lower monthly payments than purchasing them separately. Bundled plans provide the convenience of paying for two energy sources in one bill from the same company. A bundled plan is a good option if you’re interested in powering your home with electricity and natural gas, and live in Constellation’s service area.
Constellation offers home services in a handful of areas such as Texas, Maryland and Atlanta. Constellation advertises home energy-efficiency assessments and repairs for air conditioning, heating and plumbing.