The states with currently deregulated energy markets are Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. If you live in any one of these states, you probably have the ability to swap energy providers.
California, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Virginia have suspended their regulation programs.
(Check out the full map here.)
Even If your state isn’t on the first list, it’s still a good idea to check back for updated information at CompareElectricity.com. You may also still be able to compare electricity prices offered by the same company; for example, you may be able to compare variable vs. fixed electricity plans. Choosing a variable rate plan is likely to cost you less than the default plan offered by your utility company.
Homes and Businesses
Within deregulated states, many home and business owners have the ability to select their own energy supplier. Deregulation doesn’t guarantee that alternate providers will be available—some cities and counties have made special arrangements for their own electricity—but it does make it more likely.
You can choose to purchase gas or electricity from a new provider with no impact on anything but your energy costs. Your local utility still maintains your power lines and ensures continuing service: in case of a problem or emergency you still call the same company you always have. Even the billing cycle is unchanged. All you have to do is pick the right plan and spend ten minutes to fill out a form online—it’s that simple!
When federal deregulation gave states the option to control their own energy markets, many responded by allowing retailers to compete for the sale of electricity. There are currently sixteen states in which homes and businesses can select an energy retailer to supply their utility company with electricity.
Some states, like California and Virginia, introduced retail deregulation and then suspended it when it didn’t work. Others, like Pennsylvania and Texas, have seen deregulation lead to a flourishing and competitive energy market. Different states have different experiences, and the map will probably look different again in another ten years.