Taking control of your electricity and natural gas purchases

As consumers, we have choices in most of the important purchases of our lives – everything from groceries to gasoline, from cars to cell phones. But did you know that a growing number of states now provide you with an option on who supplies the energy that powers, heats, and cools your home and business?

Most people are familiar with the local utility companies that deliver electricity and natural gas. They have been reliable providers of energy over the last century, safely transporting natural gas and electricity throughout their network of pipes and wires. However, their directive has been to be reliable, not necessarily innovative or inexpensive. In recent years, a growing list of companies have emerged that have the ability to supply you with competitive energy-related products and services that are delivered over those same pipes and wires.

Just like you can buy any number of products for your home that are delivered to you by a common carrier or delivery service by way of an Interstate highway – electricity and natural gas can now be purchased through independent suppliers in states like New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, too; and then delivered to you through the same pipes and wires as always. You might purchase a fixed or variable rate product, electricity generated by solar or wind power, or a specially priced product for energy used during nights and weekends. There may be a savings involved, or the opportunity to buy a product or service that makes your home more efficient or comfortable.

Energy choice goes by different names depending on where you live – access, competition, retail choice, deregulation, or restructuring – but the intention is the same: to put the power over your energy decisions in your hands.

Whether you’re interested in looking for a new supplier now, or you prefer to stay with your utility, the choice is yours. Whatever you decide, it’s good to take some time to learn more about this emerging marketplace of energy products and services.


Frank Caliva III is an energy consultant in Washington, DC and works to promote energy consumer education through the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers (ACCES). To learn more, visit www.CompetitiveEnergy.org.

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