Croskey and his partners, Jason Schwartzberg and Paul Clary — who met while working at the Baltimore Development Corp. — have invested $30,000 in the business, which is profitable and has thousands of customers, including dozens of commercial building customers.

Croskey's business makes money by charging the energy suppliers who wish to make their rates available on the site either an upfront marketing fee or a small percentage of the customer's monthly bill.

In effect, PointClickSwitch has positioned itself as another marketing tool for energy suppliers, who rely on such tactics as direct mail, telephone solicitation and door-to-door marketing to reach customers.

Croskey and his cofounders built a website that allows a consumer to comparison-shop Maryland energy suppliers, choose a new provider, fill out a web form and make the switch entirely online.

Consumers can do their own homework by visiting the Public Service Commission's website, which lists energy suppliers and their prices. But Croskey said his company screens the suppliers it features on its site, and favors those with a good reputation for customer service and prices.

Croskey said PointClickSwitch stays away from multi-level marketing companies, or firms that use salespeople who recruit other salespeople in what's sometimes referred to as a pyramid-selling approach.

On a recent day, the site offered Maryland residents who use BGE for energy delivery to their homes a range of prices, from $0.0760 to $0.0910 per kilowatt hour. It offered five suppliers to choose from: ConEdison Solutions, Castlebridge, Constellation, Spark Energy and Clean Currents.

Simon, the North Baltimore homemaker, said she checks PointClickSwitch at the beginning of every month, when the rates typically change. She's used the site to change her suppliers three times.

This fall, Croskey quit his job to run PointClickSwitch full-time. Croskey and his partners have expanded the site to Illinois and plan to expand to other U.S. markets. Recently, the company also landed Torrey Smith, a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, as its spokesman.

Croskey said Wasabi Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, is advising his business but has not invested in it yet.

"When you think of energy, we want people to think of PointClickSwitch.com," Croskey said. "And that they could save a couple hundred bucks a year."

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