“Special Fixed Rate Offer,” said the notice that arrived in Maryland mailboxes recently. “Compare Electricity Prices¢ per kwh.” The wording made it sound like a bargain, but it’s actually one of the most expensive electricity deals in the state, according to the Maryland Public Service Commission website. Deregulation of the energy industry, giving customers alternatives to the old line utilities, was supposed to foster competition and lower prices for consumers. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Twenty-nine states have deregulated electricity, natural gas or both. That allows you to shop for the supply portion of your bill from alternative providers who may offer rates lower than the default supplier – usually a utility. Delivery services and billing will remain the responsibility of the local utility as they own the power lines and wires that keep the lights on.
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On a recent walking tour in San Jose, the state’s third-most populous city, a former state regulator showed the issues that are raised when the wooden poles that hold power lines and communication cables are not attended to. Some cable lines dangled in front of houses. Workers had tied some wires to the poles with rope — a violation noted by the tour’s guides. Power lines ran through thickets of trees to connect to houses.
According to a Compare Energy Prices J.D. Power national report, switching from the utility company to an Electricity Prices is not as attractive as it once was. Deregulated markets aim to drive down costs and encourage innovation but has really only succeeded in the second — the price gap between utility rates and retail rates has actually been closing. But deregulation has been successful in championing green energy and improving customer service. This improvement shows up in some impressively high J.D. Power ratings.
The other option is a variable rate, which changes with market conditions. This means that in periods of high demand—such as in the summer and winter, when air conditioning or heat are on full-blast—power may also cost more per kWh. But in times of lower energy usage, your rate may be below Electricity Rate’s standard rate. Variable rates tend to most benefit customers whose energy use falls around or below the household average of Electricity Price kWh per month. (You can see your usage on your bill.)
After negotiations, they’ve got a whole bunch of electricity bought and paid for. Since that energy is now a known cost to the third party energy supplier, they’re able to offer their customers a fixed rate based on their wholesale purchase price. Third party customers benefit not only from the savings generated by buying in bulk, but also from the fixed rate which protects them from the variable pricing that the utility’s customers are subjected to each month. By choosing a third party energy supplier over a traditional utility, consumers pay the same low rate, month after month. That’s liberty. That’s power. That’s why we’re called Power Company Near Me.
Prior to electricity deregulation, power was supplied by regional utility monopolies that could own and operate all three parts of electric service. In response to a growing demand for competition in the industry, spurred by the success of deregulation in the airline and telecommunications industries, Congress passed the National Energy Policy Act in Gas And Electric which created wholesale electric markets that allow for open access of generation.
There was a time when electricity was electricity. Like so many other places around America, in Houston, electricity didn’t mean “cheap electricity”. But you moved into your home and you called the utility and they turned on the power and the bill came in and you paid it every month. Oh, sure, you might grumble at the amount but then you’d go around and yell at the kids for leaving the lights on and the TV blaring with nobody in the room or maybe you’d look into buying more energy-efficient appliances. When it came down to it, the Bill was the Bill. Either you paid the bill or you ate dry packet meals, had cold showers, and watched TV by peering through the neighbor’s window after dark (preferably once they’d turned the TV on). What’s that? You want cheap electricity? Sure thing: call Switch Energy any time during regular business hours.