It’s no secret that Maine residents and businesses are feeling the pinch of rising energy costs. Energy costs have jumped dramatically in recent years, and sometimes it can feel like there’s no way to get around losing your shirt to the big energy companies.

Fortunately, there are a few key ways to navigate the complicated and often frustrating energy markets of Maine. With a little creative thinking, strategy and relying on expert advice, you can minimize your energy costs and save lots of money on your energy bill.

Understand All of The Options Out There

The first thing that Maine businesses and residents need to do is empower themselves with knowledge about their energy choices. Traditional energy is one option. There are also solar, wind and other non-traditional and new energies. Understanding the options that you have puts you in an advantageous position to assess which energy source is the best for you. You’ll also have more negotiating power at the table.

Ask the Right Questions

Before settling on an energy provider, you need to know which questions to ask. Find out how the provider works, what system they use to monitor energy, and how they analyze your energy metrics. Maine businesses can certainly ask if the provider has helped other businesses in the same industry. Understanding how the provider works is a key step to being able to have a smart decision. Any providers who don’t want to answer probing questions or won’t provide transparent data are probably the ones that you want to avoid.

Use an Expert

Energy brokers are industry experts who help businesses and residents get energy directly from the supplier. They are not affiliated with any major energy companies, so they are impartial advocates and can help you get the best prices and contracts for the energy that you’re using. It’s best to go with a broker if you do not have the time or expertise to independently research all of your options, and if you’re looking at many different energy markets. The brokers compare energy rates for your local utility like Central Maine Power or Emera Maine and find the best possible rate for your home or business.

Understand How to Use Cost-Saving Tools

There are plenty of cost-saving tools in your arsenal. Many reputable energy providers will have energy usage calculators right on their websites. You can instantly see what you’ll be saving if you go with them. You also have the ability to minimize your energy costs on the ground floor by installing Energy Star approved appliances and making the most of natural light and heat with features like picture windows or fireplaces.

Consider Getting A Fixed-Rate Plan

Energy bills tend to spike during certain times of the year. The frigid Maine winters often mean energy bills that are twice or three times as high as they were during the summer. Fixed-rate plans eliminate the sticker shock of energy bills that suddenly go through the roof when the mercury dips. Businesses and residents will wind up paying more during the summer than they are used to, but these costs will be more than offset by a dip in winter costs. Even better, many energy companies will negotiate a fixed-rate cost with their potential customers, so you have more control over what you’re paying.

Navigating Maine’s challenging and confusing energy markets can be a daunting process, but you can make things easier on yourself by simply asking the right questions, knowing enough to be empowered and relying on expert advice. Don’t let yourself be at the mercy of big energy companies or the fluctuating energy markets. There are plenty of ways to make the most of all that deregulation has to offer.