Energy Direct Reviews: Energy Supply Companies with Plenty of Options


One of the biggest players in the industry, Direct Energy may come into play if you're looking for an energy supplier in a deregulated market.

Founded in Toronto in 1986, Direct Energy is now a subsidiary of international giant NRG Energy and is based in Houston. The company claims to provide electricity, natural gas, and home efficiency services to approximately 4 million residential and business customers. The company currently operates as an energy provider in several deregulated markets in the eastern United States and Alberta, Canada.

Energy market deregulation occurs when electric utilities and other energy producers choose to make the energy they produce available on wholesale energy markets. Suppliers buy from the market and resell at retail prices. All of this is done on paper through contracts and financial transactions. Local power companies still physically generate energy and provide energy to people within their geographic area, but it is now up to them to decide who people pay for that energy.

kitchen lighting fixtures

We'll help you find the best electricity rates in your area

Direct Energy offers a range of fixed price contracts ranging from short term month to month to up to 5 years. You can also sign up for a green energy plan. Under this plan, the company offsets up to 100% of its energy consumption using renewable energy certificates tied to energy produced by sustainable sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower.

The company also offers other novel incentives, such as plans that include free energy for nights and/or weekends, and Amazon Prime subscriptions.

kitchen lighting fixtures kitchen lighting fixtures

We'll help you find the best electricity rates in your area

Direct Energy's relationship with NRG makes it one of the largest and most financially stable emerging energy providers in deregulated markets.

That said, the Better Business Bureau has a “D” rating, backed up by dozens of recent 1-star reviews, many of which appear to be related to billing issues. Online reviews don't provide much information, but there seems to be a clear and consistent pattern of problems.

As always, be sure to do your own research and due diligence before signing a contract, and don't be afraid to ask the salesperson what the company has done to address any issues you read about online.

Advantages and disadvantages of direct energy

  • Developing business in a vast region with a strong corporate foundation

  • Many renewable energy plans available

  • Offers a wide range of terms and conditions

  • Incentives include free nights, weekends, and Amazon Prime subscriptions

  • We also sell home repair and maintenance plans

  • About reputation and word of mouth on the internet

  • Beware of late fees

  • Options can be difficult to navigate on the website

  • REC's energy source has not been disclosed.

In which states and territories does Direct Energy operate?

electricity

Alberta (Canada), Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts,

Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington DC

Natural gas

Alberta (Canada), Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Renewable energy

Alberta (Canada), Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts,

Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington DC

Direct Energy: Types of plans offered

Fixed price plan: Direct Energy offers most flat rate plans for electricity and natural gas, and in many states also offers up to 100% renewable energy plans. You can choose the length of your contract (up to three years in some markets), and you're guaranteed energy at a set price for that length of time. If you choose to renew, your rate will update to the current market rate at the end of the term. If you're happy with your current energy costs and don't think they'll go down significantly in the near future, or if you want to know what your monthly energy bill will be, this could be a good option.

Variable rate plan: A variable rate plan is essentially like paying a market rate for energy whose price fluctuates. Direct Energy only offers this option in Alberta and Texas. It may be a good choice if you expect energy prices to fall in the near future.

Bundle plan: In some cases, your energy provider may combine electric and natural gas service into one plan for additional savings. Direct Energy currently only offers this option in Alberta.

Renewable energy plan: Direct Energy offers a “green energy” plan or add-on supported by “renewable energy certificates that are purchased and disposed of in quantities commensurate with annual consumption.”

Direct Energy says its RECs are powered by “eligible renewable energy sources such as biomass, hydro, solar and wind”. This means that the company does not directly produce renewable energy itself, but instead purchases certificates tied to production from green producers to offset the energy used by its customers. If you want to support renewable energy development with your monthly bill, this is a potential option.

Direct Energy: Available rates and plan types

electricity plan

Fixed price plan

Fixed-rate plans are priced per kilowatt-hour of monthly electricity consumption over a set period of time.

Monthly, 9 months, 10 months, 11 months, 12 months, 13 months, 14 months, 15 months, 16 months, 18 months, 24 months, 27 months, 36 months ( (Not all plans are available in all markets)

AB, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington DC

Variable rate plan

Rates per kilowatt hour are based on fluctuating energy markets

monthly in Texas.1 or 3 years in Alberta

Texas AB

natural gas plan

Fixed price plan

The price per therm is fixed for a certain number of months.

4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months (not all plans available in all markets)

AB, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Variable rate plan

The price per therm is based on the fluctuating energy market.

1 year, 3 years, 5 years

AB

renewable energy plan

Simply Green and similar 100% renewable energy plans

Direct Energy purchases renewable energy certificates associated with solar, wind, hydro, or biomass-based energy production projects.

Monthly, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 27 months, 36 months, 5 years

(Not all plans are available in all markets)

Ab, De, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington DC

bundle plan

Dual fuel plan for gas and electricity

Fixed or variable rate plans available with optional renewable energy add-on

1 year, 3 years

AB

Other services provided by Direct Energy

Whole home protective maintenance and repair plan

A la carte options to maintain your home's HVAC, electricity, appliances, plumbing, water and sewer.

Why it’s important to see the fine print

When shopping on Direct Energy's website, each plan includes links to things like “Plan Documents,” “Plan Details,” “Terms and Conditions,” or the more cryptic “EFL” on the Energy Facts label. I am. Be sure to actually read the fine print of these documents, including some specific details.

  • Average price per kWh.
  • Contract period.
  • contact address.
  • Cancellation fee or early termination fee.
  • Electricity usage credit.
  • Expenses related to moving or relocation.
  • Late payment fees.
  • Usage penalty charges may apply.
  • Auto Toll Payment Discount Requirements.
  • Usage fees and escalator hours.
  • Utility delivery charges.
  • Percentage of renewable energy.
  • Update conditions.
  • Utility delivery charges.

Confusion regarding these items repeatedly surfaces in online reviews and complaints about the company. Knowing this information before you sign a contract can prevent potential misunderstandings and prepare you to advocate for yourself if a problem arises.

Conclusion: Is Direct Energy a good choice?

Direct Energy and its parent company NRG probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon. This strong foundation gives the company leverage to offer multiple options across multiple markets, so it's worth taking a closer look when buying energy.

As we all know living on Earth in 2023, partnering with large companies offering attractive terms is often offset by shortcomings in the customer service department. A worrying number of Direct Energy customers have reported negative experiences online. Be diligent about your research and let your contacts know how you're working to do better.

How do I sign up for Direct Energy?

You can sign up for a Direct Energy plan by entering your postcode into the Choose Energy marketplace. Here you can buy Direct Energy and compare it with other providers and plans available in your area.

Most plans can be registered online through chooseenergy.com or through a Choose Energy telephone representative. Choose Energy is a CNET partner site and (like CNET) is owned by Red Ventures.



Leave a Comment