Residents of over a dozen states across the country, amounting to over half the U.S. population, are lucky enough to live in deregulated energy states, otherwise known as states with energy choice. Whereas the utility sector had traditionally been a monopoly with everyone simply receiving their power from the local utility, the past two decades have seen a rise in states opening up their markets to allow residents a choice in their energy supplier.
Whether customers want to take advantage of more affordable electricity rates, support suppliers who utilize a greater proportion of clean energy sources, take advantage of unique offerings and rewards offered by certain suppliers, or any other reasoning, these people have the ability to choose their energy supplier. But how exactly does that work? Does it require new wiring or installations? And how will your bill change if you do change? These are the questions that pop to mind when residents realize they have the ability to choose energy suppliers. But to answer the overall question of ‘How does it work?’, the answer is simple: really easily.
Let’s dive in to show you.
Why would you change energy supplier?
Before getting into the ‘how’ of it all, it’s important to recognize the ‘why.’ The reason certain markets open up to allow energy choice for its customers is to tap into the natural benefits of competition. Monopolies are typically frowned upon in free markets because the motivation to improve is gone, as customers can’t switch when they’re unhappy with service or they find something better. So why was that always the status quo for the utility industry?
Deregulated energy markets get to the heart of that and put the pressure on the incumbent energy suppliers. If their prices aren’t fair, customers can now jump ship. If their energy mix uses too much dirty fuel and that weighs on the conscience of the customer, they can find a power provider that aligns more with their principles. There are many other reasons a customer may choose to change provider, just like with every other product market they deal with daily. And the beauty is: it doesn’t matter what reason they use. If a customer is unhappy with their service for whatever reason, they can find a provider that will satisfy them.
How do you choose a different power provider?
So for those who have made the choice to change energy suppliers, the question then comes to how exactly to do that. If you’re in one of the markets that does allow for energy choice (refer to this article to find out if that applies to you), the next great piece of news is this: switching is incredibly easy. You can do research online to see what power providers are available to you, even ask your friends and neighbors who they use, or you may even receive advertisements from the potential energy suppliers. But if and when you find a power provider you would like to switch to, all you need to do is contact that energy supplier. They will take care of the rest and send you any paperwork you need to sign. From there, they take care of the rest!
Do you need new wiring in your home? Changed equipment?
For people who don’t work in the utility industry, this is a reasonable equipment. If a different company is to provide you with your energy, how will it get to your house? Well keep the good news coming, because the answer is no: absolutely nothing needs to be wired into your home and no new equipment at all is required. How can this be? Well when you choose a new energy supplier, all you’re choosing is the organization who will generate electricity for your home. That generated power will be transmitted over the same set of transmission and distribution wires and into your home. The local incumbent utility who had always operated this grid system for you all the way into your home will remain unchanged (whether that’s the original incumbent energy provider or a separate company), and your new energy supplier will simply connect to that grid and count the energy you use as coming from their generation. So you get the benefits of this new energy supplier, but the wires delivering energy to your home remain exactly the same.
Will you have to pay multiple utility bills now?
Having a new company account for your power generation might make it sound like you should expect to receive multiple utility bills now, one from the incumbent who operates the transmission and distribution system and another from the generator you chose. However, another piece of lucky news for you: you’ll still only receive a single power bill. This bill will even look just like the one you’ve always gotten; the only difference is in the line item for energy generation it will list your new chosen supplier. You still pay one single payment per month like you always have, and the utility companies handle amongst themselves getting your money to the right entity for each service. It really couldn’t be easier!
It all really is that easy. So if you’re lucky enough to live in a deregulated market, start doing your research on your options. Maybe you find a new energy supplier who speaks to you, and you can get in touch with them today to find out more. Maybe you’ll even find one who will offer you a package of free goodies just for being a customer, like Atlantic Energy’s smart home bundle!