No one has to tell you that comparing electricity and natural gas utility tariffs is a slow process. The word agony springs to mind. It involves lots of manual searching of websites. Lots of manual entering of data into spreadsheets. And lots of opportunities to make mistakes and generally want to pull your hair out.
There is another option, of course, and that is to speed up the process with a tariff database (one like RateAcuity, for example). Here’s why you should seriously consider making the switch from manual and slow to automatic and quick.
1. You find all tariffs in one place
Doing things the manual way means visiting state public regulatory websites and utility websites to locate tariff data in multiple places. But with a tariff database, all of the tariff and rate data you need is in one place.
2. Tariff databases are built for search
Then there’s the matter of finding what you need. Tariff data is either easy or hard to find on state public regulatory websites, depending on the state. But the data in tariff databases is indexed by state, by utility, and by other search criteria, making the process of finding what you want much faster. Think three clicks instead of 12, 15 seconds instead of 60, and you get the idea.
3. All data is standardized
Visit a few public websites and you quickly learn that some states use different terms to describe the same thing. Or they name their fields for the same thing with different labels. With tariff databases, on the other hand, all data is standardized. You save time when comparing tariffs by no longer having to make sense of the different naming conventions that state regulators and utilities use when naming their tariffs and describing their data.
4. Data is available for download as spreadsheets
If you are used to doing things the old manual way, you likely have calluses on your fingertips from copying and pasting data from online sources into your spreadsheets. A tariff database saves you this labor by making all tariff data available in downloadable spreadsheets. Simply find the tariff you want, click the download button, and save all the numbers you need as a ready-made spreadsheet, ready for conducting your comparisons.
5. Ease of use
Unlike the websites of state public regulators, utility rate databases are operated by for-profit businesses that invest heavily in user experience. They work hard to make their databases user-friendly, easy to navigate and easy to search. Their profit margin depends on them delivering a seamless and quick experience.
6. Increased accuracy
The level of accuracy of tariff data found on state public regulatory websites is high, naturally. After all, they are the regulatory body that establishes and governs tariffs. But the accuracy of that data degrades as soon as you start moving it manually into spreadsheets, or re-keying it by hand. With a tariff database, on the other hand, you eliminate the time needed to find and correct mistakes introduced through copying and pasting and re-keying of data. Why? Because you no longer copy and paste or re-key anything. All of the data you need is already in the one database.
7. Integration with back-office systems
The final way that a tariff database saves you time and energy (excuse the pun) with tariff comparisons is by integrating with your back-office systems. This is an option, of course. You can eliminate costly and time-consuming manual effort by integrating data from the tariff database with your back-end office systems using a simple API.
Conclusion and call to action
If you need to compare electricity or natural gas tariffs in a convenient, accurate ways, and if you place a premium on your time, then you should seriously consider subscribing to a utility rate database like RateAcuity. Our electricity and natural gas rate database gives you access to nationwide electric and gas tariff data 24/7. You make your comparisons without wasting hours of labor locating the data you need and getting it into your spreadsheets (and without introducing errors, we might add). View our datasheet, or start your free trial.