To put this in perspective. An Led Bulb takes 9W and produces as much light as a 60W incandescent light. 9W = 0.009 kilo Watts (kW) so using it for 1 hour means 0.009 kWh of energy is used. If I used this light continuously for 4.6 days I would rack up 1 kWh.
There are two types of charges an electric company charges.
Delivery charge - this is the power lines that bring the electricity to you. Remember from physics that bringing power from long distances results in some energy loss and that storing energy is expensive. There is also cost associated with maintaining the power grid including the many security concerns.
Now lets say you are the proud owner of a coal power plant. You don't know for sure how much coal to get for next month because in the future the natural gas power plant down the road might be able to get natural gas cheaper and thus sell energy for less driving you out of business because everyone is now buying all their energy from the gas power plant.
On the other hand, suppose the gas power plant has an accident and can now only supply 1/2 of what they used to. Now the supply for energy has gone down and so people have to pay more for power and you wish that you had bought more coal to sell at this new high price.
Uncertainty is part of life, but there is a way around it: insurance. Suppose a third part promised to buy your energy at the current market price 3 months from now no matter what price the market is selling at. In fact they would trade you a slip that said they would buy 100 kWh from you 3 months from now for the market price today if you told them to but in return you have to give them 10$ per slip. Now you the coal owner know that you are safe to buy the coal you need to burn because someone has to buy the energy you make. You the coal owner have just bought a insurance. (This by the way is how derivatives work and this is what many trading companies trade. Here is a small video showing you a simple derivative)
Now it should be clear that supplying electricity is not simple. Here's what Eversource says on the generation charges.
Generation Charges: This portion of your bill represents charges associated with the purchase of electricity only. Most residential customers have Eversource purchase electricity on their behalf - placing them on Basic Service. Because power is bought in an open market, this section of your bill tends to fluctuate more than the delivery charges on your bill.
Energy usage probably varies from place to place, but here's a graph for the breakdown.
When I was in Champaign, Illinois - here's how much energy I used (gas and electric). You will note that Jan through April when it got cold - we used a lot of gas that bumped the bill. In Massachusetts, we have oil heating which is more expensive than gas heating - but electricity tends to also jump because of space heaters, long hot showers, and possibly other reasons.
- It's a scam - slam the door
- Check the yelp reviews on direct energy - slam the door
- Invite them inside
This may or may not be true.
Some will immediately check online on yelp to see:
This leads to the question - why would Direct Energy send someone to my door to offer me a better deal than my current energy provider - what do they get? My hunch is a cheaper insurance. If I'm Direct Energy I would assume that a customer won't go through the trouble of changing energy supplier, then I can get a soft guarantee that someone will buy my electricity. If they stick around long enough they get on the variable rate where I can charge more.
In any case, energy bills are complicated and it serves well to get some background knowledge and put in effort to understand how to consume energy appropriately. Don't trust yelp reviews. Many people vote on yelp after they had a bad experience.
A good example of this is http://www.yelp.com/biz/nstar-boston
Eversource used to be called Nstar and you find a lot of negative feedback mainly on the billing side of things.
Other reviews complain that when their power was cut their tv and internet also turned off. This shows that you must prioritize your bills - don't pay for tv and internet if you can't afford power because you need power to run both.