Frequently Asked Questions
Here is what you need to know
The following are the most common questions that we receive. While many of your questions can be answered below, we are always happy to take your questions via email or over the phone. If your question is not addressed below, or if you need further clarification, please call us at 716.688-0969 or email us!
What is De-regulation?
De-regulation is the name for businesses and residences being able to purchase their SUPPLY of electric or gas from a firm other than the utility. The utility will always DELIVER the power as they have the infrastructure already in place.
- Why does de-regulation exist?
De-regulation removes the need for the utility to buy power. This enables them to concentrate 100% on all aspects of efficiently supplying power to the business and residential community.
- Do all states have de-regulation?
Currently 39 states have de-regulation. Some states like NY have both electric and gas alternate suppliers. Other states have just gas (Florida) or just electric (Texas)
- How do I save Money by using an alternate supplier?
If a business or individual has an alternate supplier sometimes referred to as an ESCO (Energy Service Company) the sales tax on the DELIVERY portion of their bill goes away. There are other smaller savings also but the major portion of the savings is due to the elimination of taxes
- If I switch to an alternate supplier and the power goes out will I be last to get my service back.
This is not the case. The PSC (Public Service Commission) determines the areas that will have their power. Hospitals, police stations, highly populated areas will have a higher priority than more remote less populated areas.
- Will I get two bills if I switch to an alternate supplier?
The majority of suppliers will be on the back of the bill you receive from the utility. There will not be two bills. There are a limited number of alternate suppliers though that do bill a customer separately and yes there will be a bill from the utility and a bill from the supplier.
- Is there a security deposit, cancellation fee or other fees?There are no fees if you switch to an alternate supplier. Also there is no security deposit required. In fact if you are with a utility and switch to an alternate supplier you can get part of your deposit back. Like any contract entered into there can be a cancellation fee if you switch suppliers before the agreement terms are met. This is especially true if you are on a fixed price though not necessarily as stringent if you are on a variable price.
- What if I have a question about my bill?
I advise my customers, business and residential, to always call me first. I will either be able to answer the question immediately or advise that I’ll get back to them when I get the answer. In some instances it is strictly a utility issue and I’ll advise that they need to speak directly with the utility. BOTTOM LINE though it’s one call to RTM — no 800 number, no trying to find out who to talk to, etc. It is a real time and frustration saver.
- How many alternate suppliers are there?
In NYS there are approximately 30 alternate suppliers.
- What makes RTM Enterprises different than other alternate suppliers?
I represent 10 different alternate suppliers in the surrounding Buffalo area. I put the most cost effective supplier with your business.
- What is the difference between a fixed and a variable price?
A variable price changes monthly totally dependent on the markets supply and demand. A fixed price allows a business or resident to pay the same price every month no matter what the market conditions. A fixed price is best if a business requires budget certainty.
What is a Utility Bill Audit?
A Utility Bill Audit goes back six (6) years to verify if the bills an operation received and paid were accurate. Errors sometimes exist and in New York State, you can legally go back to request refunds. In addition to any overcharges, the business will also receive interest at 1.5% compounded monthly (18% annually).
- What is audited?
Gas, electric, phones, water, cable, sewer, sales tax and street lights. Naturally some of these are for municipalities only.
- Is it for residential and business?
Not residential – businesses, towns, cities, and municipalities. only.
- Does the audit cost anything?
No it is strictly on a contingency basis. If there is no overcharge there is no cost.
- What if an overcharge is found?
If an overcharge exists, 100% of the overcharge + and interest accrued is sent to the client. Then a % of the reimbursement is forwarded to us. There is no reduction of the businesses cash flow as the overcharge is given to the customer up front.
- How often do you find an overcharge?
I tell my potential clients sometimes it 100% of the time we find something (10 out of 10). Then sometimes it’s also 100% (10 out of 10) where we find no overcharge. There is no telling if the past billing is correct or not, unless the audit is conducted.
- Is the audit national?
- How does the process work?
One copy of the utility bill to be audited is needed, a one page signed agreement and a letter of authorization is all that is required.
What is Curtailment?
Curtailment is when commercial businesses are paid to reduce their normal electrical use when requested. A twenty-one hour advance alert is provided to member firms advising them of either an upcoming test or a scheduled event. Firms willing to reduce their electricity usage by 300 kilowatt hours (KWH) or more will be compensated for their participation and compliance.
- Why is curtailment needed in NYS?
There are instances when NYS’s energy requirement exceeds its ability to provide. This program is established to utilize businesses, for a monetary fee, to reduce their consumption, on an add need basis, and that power will be forwarded to the specific areas that need the power.
- How much money can a business earn in this program?
The greater the amount of consumption reduced the greater the income earned. The checks can be a little as $100/$200 dollars to as high as $400,000 to $800,000 annually.
- How does the process work?
When the state determines it will need additional power it will notify those business participating 24 hours in advance that the next day between the hours of noon and 8PM they will have to curtail the electrical use.
- Are there any penalties if a business does not comply?
There is no financial penalty. However that firms curtailment amount will be reduced for the next event therefore their reimbursement amount will also be reduced.