Customer Choice in a Deregulated Electricity Market
Nineteen states - including Maryland, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania - have deregulated electricity markets. Deregulation segments the three main components of electricity service (Generation, Transmission, and Distribution) and allows competitive suppliers like Clean Currents to take part in the process. The competition that results from deregulation benefits customers by offering new electricity products (like wind power) and various price options. Customers still have the option of remaining on their utility’s Standard Offer Service (SOS), but as more people realize they have a choice when it comes to their electric supplier, more are taking the initiative to make the switch.
How Choice Affects your Bill
There are many different utility-scale sources that generate electricity, including carbon-emitting power plants that burn coal, natural gas, and oil to produce electricity. There are also low and no carbon generators like hydro, nuclear, wind farms, geothermal, biomass, and solar. This electric power is transmitted across a large network of power lines and brought to your regional electricity grid. From there, it is distributed to individual residential and commercial customers. Regulated utilities like Pepco and BGE own the local power lines that distribute energy to homes and businesses and are responsible for the Distribution portion of your electricity service.
As illustrated above, there are three major components of electricity services: Generation (stage 1, where electricity is produced), Transmission (stage 2, where electricity is moved around the country), and Distribution (stage 3, where electricity is distributed by your local utility). In deregulated markets like Maryland, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania consumers have a choice for their Generation and Transmission services. Consumers can stay with their Standard Offer Service (SOS) through their local utility, or they can choose to switch to a licensed competitive supplier, like Clean Currents.
Your local utility remains responsible for Distribution services, which includes maintenance and billing issues – so even if you choose a new supplier, you will continue to receive ONE bill from your utility containing your new supplier electric rates. With deregulation, customers also have the choice to support renewable energy generation instead of conventional carbon-emitting sources. Clean Currents is the only regional supplier to exclusively offer green power options. Whether you choose 50% or 100% wind power, you are supporting the development of wind power in the United States.
For more information on electricity market deregulation and customer choice, see the COMPETE Coalition website.