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As consumers learn more about energy choice, power market continues to shift

Retail energy providers have cropped up around the country as energy deregulation takes hold and accompanying policies are drafted to increase competition, AOL Energy reports.

According to the news source, about 20 states have passed such laws, but as more people begin to compare electricity rates and see the benefits of shopping around, this trend is expected to grow.

For example, independent electricity provider North American Power has created a customer base of 165,000 in two years, establishing what Taff Tschamler, the company's senior vice president of business development, calls a "crowded" market.

As the trend grows, residential electricity buyers are becoming more comfortable with the comparing and switching process, according to Sahid Malik, president of energy resources and trade as PSEG. Power companies have been vertically integrating their operations by buying up retail energy companies in an effort to offer lower-priced electricity.

This trend is perhaps best seen in Connecticut, where 50 percent of residential customers have switched from their utility to a retail energy supplier – an outcome that Tschamler says is a direct effect of policies that encourage competitive electric markets.