If you are currently under contract for your electricity or natural gas, you should never wait until your contract expires to shop for a new rate. Even if you do wait until the last minute to renew, you will still want to shop 2-3 months in advance of your contract end date to ensure your new supplier has time to contact the utility and properly switch your service. Sometimes, it may make sense to shop even further in advance!
What are Future Starts?
Future Start is a term used to describe a contract renewed in advance of its expiration. For example, your current electric contract ends in May 2018 and you sign a renewal contract today to begin in June 2018. Future Starts allow you to take advantage of favorable market conditions and/or ensure budget-ability by locking in your rate in advance.
When is the Best Time to Shop for a Future Start?
Typically, future starts can be shopped as far as twelve months in advance and contract lengths can span up to three years.
Depending on your particular contract end date, current supply rate, and company risk management policy, now may be an optimal time to explore your renewal options. Future starts are generally most beneficial when the market is low and prices are anticipated to go up over the next few years. By locking in your rate in advance, you can budget for the future and protect yourself from price risks associated with market movement. Typically, the most advantageous time of year to book electric is during the winter and the best time for natural gas is the summer, due to seasonal demand price pressure.