What is Retail Energy
Retail energy refers to the provision of electricity and/or natural gas to end-use customers in deregulated markets. In traditional regulated energy markets, a single utility company controlled all aspects of energy generation, transmission, and distribution. However, in deregulated markets, the energy industry has been opened up to competition, allowing multiple retail energy suppliers to offer their services.
In deregulated markets, customers have the freedom to choose their energy supplier rather than being tied to a single utility company. This competition among retail energy providers leads to greater options and potentially lower prices for consumers.
The retail energy sector encompasses various types of providers, including energy marketers, electric and gas cooperatives, competitive suppliers, and aggregators. These companies differentiate themselves by offering different pricing structures, renewable energy options, customer service features, or additional value-added services.
When customers decide to switch their energy supplier, they can evaluate various factors, such as the price per kilowatt-hour or therm, the length and terms of the contract, the source of the energy (e.g., renewable or conventional), and any additional services offered. By comparing and selecting the most suitable retail energy provider, customers can potentially save money, support renewable energy initiatives, or receive specialized services tailored to their needs.
It is important to note that even in deregulated markets, the infrastructure for energy transmission and distribution remains regulated. This means that regardless of the chosen retail energy provider, the delivery of electricity or natural gas to the customer’s location is still facilitated by the local utility company. The utility company is responsible for maintaining the power lines, pipelines, and meters, and ensuring the reliable transmission and distribution of energy.
All this to say, customers ultimately have the freedom to choose their energy supplier based on factors like price, renewable energy options, and additional services while still relying on regulated utility companies for energy transmission and distribution.
Benefits of De-Regulation
- Customers are given the choice between energy suppliers and program(s) that best suit their needs
- Choice creates competition and improves service