Energy Service Areas

Do you have energy choice?

Until the early 2000s, U.S. residents and businesses had little control over their electricity bills. Local utility companies sold and delivered energy in their designated areas. The state government set a price the utility could charge for its services, and that rate was reflected on consumers’ bills.

Now, fifteen states have embraced the power of energy deregulation, or energy choice. Under this new system, the government regulates utilities and the energy they deliver but allows other suppliers to offer you, the consumer, other competitive rates and plans.

Utility companies no longer have a monopoly on the energy business. Residents and businesses in deregulated areas now have a say in the priciest part of their energy bill—the energy supply—and still enjoy the same, reliable service. It’s a win-win!

States with energy deregulation

Each state handles energy choice differently. In some states, both electricity and natural gas are deregulated. Some offer only electricity choice, only natural gas choice, or limit choice to certain ZIP codes. Check the list below to learn more about deregulation in your area and see if you can shop for a lower rate.

 

California Maine New York
Connecticut Maryland Ohio
Delaware Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Georgia Michigan Texas
Illinois New Jersey Washington, D.C.

What is the difference between a utility and a supplier?

Utility companies used to sell energy to consumers, deliver it to their homes and businesses, and maintain the infrastructure needed to do so.

In deregulated areas, utility companies are still responsible for delivering energy and maintaining power lines. Depending on the state, consumers may be able to purchase energy from their utility, or they may be required to purchase from a separate energy supplier (also called providers and ESCOs).

If you experience a power outage or other power emergency, you should contact your utility company. For more information on how your state manages utilities and suppliers, see one of our state pages above.