What Is Energy Choice?

    Hanging light bulbs with one lit

    Energy deregulation is the reason that you can shop for an energy provider in the first place. It gives you the power to switch your electricity or natural gas supplier in states where energy deregulation has occurred.

    The Power to Choose your Natural Gas and Electricity Supplier

    Prior to the 1990’s and for more than a hundred years, the way people received their energy didn’t change. Each region only had one utility—one choice, and because it was a monopoly on a necessary resource, it was heavily regulated by the government. Over time, individual states began to pursue lifting these regulations to allow private commerce into these monopolies. This energy deregulation effectively passes new laws and amendments to allow more than one company into the energy marketplace. Today more and more states are seeing the value of divesting these monopolies through energy deregulation. However, whether you live in a state that’s been deregulated or not, your energy is still delivered to your home and business using the utilities’ pipes and lines. And the utilities also have kept their control on the metering, billing, and emergency services.

    The Power to Choose your Rate

    The remaining governmental regulations dictate that a utility can only offer consumers a variable rate, determined by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, for their energy. In other words, utilities can’t sell energy for a profit. Depending on your area, this Commission rate can change every few months or as often as every month. On the other hand, energy suppliers are not regulated, which means they can offer fixed rates and different terms on your electricity and natural gas contracts than the utility can. In this way, utilities and suppliers work together to give consumers options. The utility is the delivery service, and the supplier is the expert energy purchaser. When you choose an energy supplier, there’s no complicated switching process, rewiring, or required visit by a technician. In fact, the process only takes a few minutes. But what you get with a supplier is flexibility of contracts and terms, more customer service options, additional products that help you mitigate costs related to your energy use, and—often times—you get better rates. To learn more about how utilities and suppliers work together, visit http://www.IGS.com/residential.