WhiteFence helps you find deals on utilities

I’m a huge advocate of calling your utilities to ask for rate reductions. But some people are uncomfortable making these sorts of calls. It would be helpful if these folks had a way of using the internet to find better deals. allconnect is a web-based service that allows users to do just that. From the about page:

WhiteFence is a free service that helps people who are moving or looking to find the best deals on phone, internet, television, electricity, natural gas and other home services. By simply entering a street address into the secure site, people looking to save money or start new service can find the most comprehensive list of plans available for their specific address from over 400 nationally recognized partners.

WhiteFence targets two types of users:

  • Those who are moving from one address to another. WhiteFence bills itself as a one-stop source for connecting utilities. (And even promises that you can keep your existing phone number after a move.)
  • Those who are shopping around for a better deal.

WhiteFence also offers a price guarantee: “Our Best Price Guarantee means that you will receive the best price that each of our participating service providers offers (online or otherwise) for a product or service at your particular location.”

I was intrigued by the idea of WhiteFence, but it didn’t have a lot of info for the Portland area. I plugged in our address, and the only deal it suggested was bundled internet/phone/television from Qwest. None of the price-points worked for me. Out of curiosity, I contacted a WhiteFence spokesperson to find out more about the service:

J.D.: Are there particular regions or cities for which WhiteFence is best suited? Who is most likely to benefit from the service?

Spokesperson: Some cities have a broader array of services available than others, depending on what the local service providers decide to offer through allconnect.com. That being said, WhiteFence does offer the most comprehensive online service for comparison shopping of home services nationwide. In some states, WhiteFence has added value. For example, in Texas people can search for energy prices which changes frequently due to the de-regulated energy market in that state.

J.D.: What does WhiteFence have planned for the future? Are there features coming that would be of interest to Get Rich Slowly readers?

Spokesperson: WhiteFence is planning to add a “deal of the week” feature on its site, which will point customers to the best current promotions available. Additionally, WhiteFence is planning to add local community information so if you are moving and looking to switch your utilities, you’ll also be able to look up neighborhood amenities, school and crime information for example.

I’m intrigued. Though WhiteFence can’t save me any money right now, I’ve bookmarked it for future use. It cannot hurt to check back every few months, right? Perhaps they’ll come up with some additional deals for my neighborhood.

Have you used allconnect (or a similar service) before? Does it offer a variety of suggestions for your location? Are the prices better than what you’re currently paying? Or would you rather get your rate reductions the old-fashioned way: by calling and asking?

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There are 38 comments to "WhiteFence helps you find deals on utilities".

  1. Trevor - Striking Up says 30 March 2009 at 05:28

    Great tool for people down in the US. Unfortunately, its a monopoly where I live cause there’s only 1 provider.

  2. DavidV says 30 March 2009 at 05:41

    Anyone know of a Canadian site that does something similar?

  3. Sylvie says 30 March 2009 at 05:42

    I certainly like the idea behind the site. But I’m not sure it’s always up to date. When I tried to sign up for a natural gas deal, it turned out the provider no longer offered the deal advertised on Whitefence. Still, I think Whitefence is a work in progress and has promise.

  4. Adam Baker says 30 March 2009 at 05:50

    Great resource! Thanks for the info, I’m going this out more for sure…

  5. Meredith says 30 March 2009 at 05:53

    I tried out their site and was ultimately disappointed. I know that our power company has a monopoly, but everything else from DSL to cable, to phone service etc is up for grabs. And on their site the ONLY tv service they had up was Directv. Missing 3 other providers for this area and they had NO telephone providers at all. I did however give them feedback, so hopefully they can continue to improve their site and it’ll be useful to many more in the future.

  6. Michele says 30 March 2009 at 06:20

    Wow, thanks for the tip. I’ve never heard of it, but I’m going to check it out right now.

  7. Eric says 30 March 2009 at 06:23

    Same experience JD.

    I didn’t find very good packages where I lived either. Good idea though.

  8. EscapeVelocity says 30 March 2009 at 06:24

    My utility company has strong environmental programs and my power hardly ever goes out and never for more than an hour in the eight years I’ve lived here, so I really don’t care whether somebody else would charge me a couple cents less per KWH. I save on utilities by using compact fluorescents and a programmable thermostat and never using the oven when I’m using the air conditioner.

  9. The Personal Finance Playbook says 30 March 2009 at 06:36

    That’s a great resource. My wife and I are moving to St. Louis at the beginning of June and will leverage this site to make sure we get good deals on internet, television, etc. Thanks for directing our attention to it.

  10. Gregg says 30 March 2009 at 06:41

    This site is great. I have to pull out bills to compare but it offered me choices I wasn’t aware I had in my area.

  11. Adam @ Checkbook Diaries says 30 March 2009 at 07:12

    I was hoping to find some comp rates on heating oil in my area, but they didn’t have anything listed. It was nice to take a look at my phone and internet service options though. I see alot of room for improvement as the company expands it’s footprint geographically as well as with additional participating businesses.

    Nice find.

  12. John says 30 March 2009 at 07:35

    Unfortunately WHITEFENCE appears to be a vehicle for AT&T to get more business. Where I live in Connecticut, we can get cable and/or telephone service from AT&T OR Cox Communications OR various satellite providers (for cable) but WHITEFENCE lists AT&T as the only option. Not a reliable resource. I would guess that AT&T is funding a lot of this website.

  13. Steve says 30 March 2009 at 07:49

    “The company (AT&T) has also established relationships with companies like WhiteFence to help consumers compare and order other essential home services quickly and easily.” Quoted from AT&T’s website.

  14. D.T. says 30 March 2009 at 08:46

    I didn’t find any of my cable or elec/gas providers on this site. ConEd and Optimum Cablevision dominate the NYC area, so I don’t understand why they weren’t listed anywhere.

  15. Roy L. Fuchs says 30 March 2009 at 08:51

    Look out Sheriff Lucky! It’s high prices!

  16. Cheap Like Me says 30 March 2009 at 09:55

    In my area, I see cable/TV offers and that’s it. One of them looked like a better deal than I currently have, however, and I pay $15 a month for cable reception.

  17. Tyler says 30 March 2009 at 10:01

    For Texas residents, powertochoose.org is a more flexible way to compare power choices.

  18. Mr Plasectomy says 30 March 2009 at 10:32

    Thanks for the tip, I have never heard of this site before and I am willing to give it a shot. Anything to reduce my monthly utility bills. Currently the bills are ridiculous and cost over $316.00 a month for a 702 square foot house.

  19. MarcoL says 30 March 2009 at 10:56

    Good idea but the choices are nowhere close to being complete. The only listed internet service was AT&T (surprise) and was about 50% more expensive than my current service.

    Obviously, if the deal is better than what you have you can’t go wrong. But don’t use this and think that there isn’t anything better. This site is extremely limited.

  20. tylerwillis says 30 March 2009 at 12:32

    Doesn’t seem to bad of a site, though I’ll echo what the other Tyler said above: use powertochoose for TX residents. I recently switched elec providers, and WhiteFence doesn’t even have the provider that I switched to listed.

  21. MaryMac says 30 March 2009 at 15:07

    White Fence is a for profit site. They are paid by businesses to be listed on their site. Potentially, business that may offer better deals may not be willing to pay White Fence for the advertising. Definitely use White Fence as a source but be aware that you probably are not getting all available information.

  22. Frugal Bachelor says 30 March 2009 at 16:36

    Is this post an advertorial? I find many elements of it pretty suspicious e.g. contacting spokesperson to ask how the company get benefit readers, the high number of mentions of the name of the company, and links to the site, as well as the decidedly uncharacteristic lack of depth for weekday morning GRS post.

  23. J.D. says 30 March 2009 at 17:14

    @Frugal Bachelor (#22)
    This post is not an advertorial. However, it was written in two stages. I wrote the post and scheduled it for an afternoon last week. Then I was contacted out of the blue by the PR guy for WhiteFence. I told him I’d recently written a post about the site, and had some questions. He forwarded them to a WhiteFence spokesperson. These are the questions I asked and the answers I received.

    I am indeed guilty as charged on the second point, however. This was never meant to be a weekday morning post. It was always meant to be an afternoon post. However, I spent all day yesterday watching season six of The Biggest Loser, and so did not get my planned post finished. (This is no joke.) That post is now slated for tomorrow morning.

    Behind the scenes at GRS! 🙂

  24. TStrump says 30 March 2009 at 20:48

    Great idea for a such a site, except for us Canadians. We pretty much don’t have much of a choice when it comes to cell phones and cable.
    I actually don’t mind the fact that hydro and gas is a monopoly – it does keep things stable and I believe that crucial resources like power should be protected.

  25. Sierra Black says 30 March 2009 at 21:00

    Credo Mobile has a great offer which ends at midnight March 31. They will a) buy out your current contract and b) give you 10% off your cell phone service for the next two years.

    What makes Credo Mobile unique is that they exist to use corporate power to promote social justice. According to their site, they have donated over $60 million dollars to groups like Doctors Without Borders and Greenpeace. They also send action alerts with every phone bill, offering customers an opportunity to get involved with the causes they support through letter-writing, phone calls and additional donations.

    Their plans and prices are competitive with all the major players. They piggyback on Sprint’s network, so their service will be as good (or bad) as Sprint’s in your area.

    I’ve had their service before, and found it wonderful. I’d recommend this deal to anyone not tied to their current carrier for reasons other than a contract (like, say, you have an iPhone, which won’t work on their network).

    Even if you don’t want to switch providers, knowing about this deal can help you. When I learned about it this afternoon, I called Verizon and told them about it. They were willing to drop my phone bill 20% to keep me as a customer.

  26. in_the_know says 31 March 2009 at 06:54

    Many utilities are regulated by state agencies. So, while it may appear you are finding a deal through WhiteFence, you’re actually seeing the only company apporved to serve that area. WhiteFence is “partering” with utes that are regulated as a means of adding to their “client” base.

  27. Rob says 31 March 2009 at 10:42

    I used Whitefence the last time I moved to try to transfer my utilities, and I think the electric was the only utility change that worked properly. In the case of Verizon, which gives me phone and DSL, every possible thing that could go wrong with the move did go wrong, including no long distance service, no forwarding of my old line, and my email address was wiped out with no ability to even use it again. I don’t know if this was Verizon’s fault or Whitefence’s, but basically my old Verizon account was cancelled entirely and a brand new one started, which totally defeated the purpose of the service. So be careful with this outfit. I suggest you skip Whitefence and go to the effort of doing it yourself.

  28. John says 31 March 2009 at 12:34

    I agree with Rob above. Don’t use Whitefence and I find it objectional that GRS posted this website when there are so many things to find objectional with it – incorrect information, only AT&T listed, etc. I would not support such a website and don’t feel that we should advertise free for them. Any others in agreement?

  29. J.D. says 31 March 2009 at 12:47

    I’m sorry that so many people had problems with this post. (You’re not alone, by the way — even my wife hated it.) But maybe it’s good that people are complaining. First, it will help when people land here in the future. They’ll see the complaints. Second, it helps me to understand that you folks don’t really like this sort of thing! 🙂

    I really thought I was trying to be fair to WhiteFence, not advertise for them. I read about them in a magazine (Consumer Reports? Newsweek? Bottom Line? I can’t remember), and then wrote this post. I had problems with the limited selection, so I wrote to ask questions. It seemed pretty straight-forward, but I can tell that many of you don’t like it.

    Also, @John (#28) — it’s not just AT&T listed. Where I am, AT&T doesn’t show up at all. But I agree. There’s a limited selection of services.

  30. John says 31 March 2009 at 12:50

    Thanks for the Clarification JD.
    I guess it is good that you are
    not “prescreening” what you allow
    us to read so that we can make up
    our own minds. And by viewing
    things we don’t like that much,
    it only makes us appreciate those
    that we do, that much more.
    Keep up the great work – I love
    GET RICH SLOWLY and look forward
    to receiving it in my work mailbox
    every day – it sure helps make the
    day go by that much quicker and
    allows me to learn something new too.

  31. John says 31 March 2009 at 12:52

    Also, JD I hope you don’t start
    not posting items here because
    you don’t think we will like
    them. I say give us everything
    and if we don’t like it, we can
    just delete it and wait for the
    next thing. Because there may be
    some things that don’t appeal to
    me, but may be just the thing that
    someone else is looking for.

  32. Glenn says 27 April 2009 at 06:50

    Allconnect is a company that you may want to know as well in this space. Allconnect will help over 5 million consumers this year either connect their home services (Phone, TV, Internet)when they move or evaluate their current services. Allconnect represents over 200 service providers nationwide. There are some service providers that have elected not to participate in the Allconnect marketplace that will make some areas seem like we are only supporting a select group of service providers. We have several new products launching this year that will be very relevant to your audience.

  33. JasperLumpkin says 19 June 2009 at 13:12

    There’s actually several people in this vertical beyond WhiteFence. Allconnect was mentioned, but there’s also Saveology and Digital Landing. You’re best bet is to start at one of these places, spend some time comparing prices, double check it against the provider’s offers. These sites just make the leg work a little easier. I have used both WhiteFence and Saveology and prefer Saveology because they seem to have better incentives if you order service through them.

    Also, regarding Texas Energy price comparison, PowerToChoose.org is okay, but the best site out there is a new one called Texas Electricity Ratings (www.texaselectricityratings.com). They actually have consumer ratings and reviews and scoring system which no one else I looked at has. I’ll put my trust in other consumers.

  34. King Westrom says 10 October 2011 at 15:38

    Internet thermostats are awesome. Now there is no problem if i forget AC turned on.

  35. mary englund says 01 October 2012 at 15:54

    Don’t use whitefence! I placed an order with them for Comcast High Speed Internet, they confirmed the order and I called 2 weeks later when getting the bill and Comcast refused to honor the price. Whitefence doesn’t have any way to contact them to let them know this (the link for “feedback” on the site doesn’t work) and the sales people on the phones hang up before you even get to talk with anyone. This site is fly by night obviously. No one to talk to so no one to hold accountable. If I were them I’d want to know if Comcast was refusing to honor “accepted” orders, but Whitefence has no way to communicate with them so I assume they could care less.

  36. lucy says 30 October 2012 at 13:06

    DON’T USE WHITEFENCE. I called about placing an order for a natural gas company. They quoted me 0.515. Then when I was going thru the verification process they quoted me 0.60. Then tried to tell me “This includes taxes.” Whitefence targets ignorant people. Do your home work.

  37. Jose Serje says 02 July 2014 at 05:38

    I spoke to a representative an told her no to switch me to txu energy till july 27 because i have a contract and tjey switch me next day. Now my old provider is charge me $ 175.00 penalties fee. I call customer service they told me nothing they can do. Becaise i was already switched. Told her check yor telephone conversations record, she say we can’t. This company is a fraud don even think about do bussines wit them

  38. Roi says 14 October 2022 at 11:02

    Hey J.D,
    WhiteFence was acquired by Allconnect, which was later acquired by a different VC firm. They don’t offer any energy plans right now but it looks like they only focus on internet deals.
    When looking to change any service the best advice I can give is to know your usage, and shop based on it.
    For internet services you’d need to know what bandwidth you’re looking for and if you need any certain download/upload quotas. For electricity, you’d be much better off shopping based on your 12-month usage history and finding a plan that offers a good deal all-year round, this typically means a fixed rate plan with low or no base charges.

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