Deregulation in New York
Residents of New York have been able to choose their energy supplier since the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) began deregulating the energy market in the late 1990s. Since that time, thousands of residential energy consumers have made the switch to so-called energy service companies, or ESCOs. Only recently however, have those customers been able to compare what they are paying with what the regional utility companies would have charged them during the same time period.
In Syracuse for example, the local provider, National Grid has begun allowing customers to access an online tool that shows what they would have been charged by the utility. In many cases, the tool shows that a customer would have paid less by remaining with the utility company than by going with the ESCO.
What the comparison tool does not take into account however, is the type of contract that exists between the ESCO and the consumer. Many of the higher rates were for long-term contracts that guaranteed a certain fixed rate, regardless of future increases, this wasn’t accounted for. It also does not show rebates and discounts given to the rate payer by the ESCO. Finally, it does not account for energy derived from alternative sources, which costs more to produce, but which consumers say they want.