Weigh All Your Options: 3 Major Differences Between PG&E and Third Party Natural Gas Suppliers

August 9th, 2017

Before the 1990s, consumers only had one place to go for their energy supply: the local utility company. A slew of laws deregulating the industry in the 90s opened the doors for third party suppliers to offer consumers more options, increasing competition, and allowing the industry to regulate itself. You now have the freedom to buy gas from whatever company you like. If your current provider doesn’t quite fit the bill, you can pick up the phone and deal with another provider in your area.

But all services are not 100% equal. There are utility companies, and then there are third party suppliers, and while both exist to keep your lights on, they operate very differently. One of the most common complaints Vista Energy’s customer service department addresses has to do with misunderstanding the key differences between PG&E and us.

1. PG&E Offers Flexible Gas Rates | Vista Energy Offers Constant Rates

If you are a customer of PG&E, you already know how they operate. They base their rates on the current market price for gas, which tends to fluctuate. Customers are not given the option to adjust their expenditure according to financial capability. On a positive note, if the rates go down, your bill goes down. However the reverse is also true: if the rates go up, so do your bills. This makes it difficult to budget for.

On the other hand, third party suppliers like Vista Energy give you the option to set a fixed rate for your gas consumption. You can choose a consistent and invariable rate, for a certain amount of time. How does this help you? When the gas market prices skyrocket, you don’t have anything to worry about. You can continue paying the rate you agreed to, for the duration you signed up for.

Now, this does not mean that your bill will be exactly the same every month. Your usage will determine that. If you choose to increase your usage, your bill will fluctuate accordingly, but the rate will stay the same. If you are interested in learning about how you can lower your energy usage, we compiled our best energy saving tips here.

2. PG&E shows you the full amount owed on your bill | Vista Energy breaks it down

When you receive your bill from PG&E, you can expect to see the final amount you owe and nothing more. It makes it simple to read and navigate, but you also have no way of knowing exactly what you are being charged for.

We operate a bit differently. Our bills break down the cost into each individual fee, and what it’s for, as well as providing the final amount. PG&E has all the same fees we do, including a transportation fee and usage fees. They just lump it all together into a neat sum, whereas our bills will show you exactly how we arrived at your final sum. Our goal is to make it easier for you to see how you can better conserve your energy usage, however, this does seem to be a common misunderstanding in the natural gas industry. Many consumers have filed reports claiming that these supplies are scams, and Vista Energy is no exception. If you have any questions or reservations about your own bill, we provide a breakdown of how to read your bill on our website.

3. PG&E requires a cancellation fee | Vista Energy does not

In most companies, if consumers choose to leave their current energy supplier for a better offer, they are required to pay a “cancellation fee” or an “exit fee.” This fee is said to ensure that the leaving customers pay for the costs the service provider spent in order to serve customer needs. PG&E is no exception. In December 2015, The California Public Utilities Commission even decided to allow PG&E to increase their departure fee by an astonishing 95%.

While we understand this fee and the purpose it serves, Vista Energy does not require it from our leaving customers. We respect your decision to switch to other providers, as without that freedom, we wouldn’t even be in business. You can close out your contract with us whenever you like. All you have to do is inform us by email or phone, and we will terminate your contract accordingly. We do not require any setup or connection fees either.

Ultimately, third party natural gas providers exist to provide you with options so that you can choose the provider that best serves your home’s needs. If you have any questions or concerns about Vista Energy’s services, your bill or general inquiries, contact our customer service department anytime at (888) 508-4782 and we will be happy to assist you.

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