With large winter heating bills looming ahead
of homeowners in much of the country, this is the time of year when many
people get serious about scouring their electric bills and trying to conserve
energy in their homes. But if you’re one of those homeowners looking for
savings, energy deregulation may offer you an easier way to lower your
monthly bills. Since you may not be familiar with energy deregulation, here’s
an overview and the answers to four of the most frequently asked questions on
How Does Energy Deregulation Work?
deregulation breaks up the monopoly of public utility companies by dividing
energy generation from energy distribution. This means that instead of your
utility company deciding which electricity companies to buy power from, you
can choose an alternative electric (or gas, in some places) supplier. The
power from the company of your choice is still delivered along regular
The process of
deregulation started back in the 1970s, when the Public Utilities Regulatory
Policies Act created a structure for alternative power suppliers. But the
movement didn’t really take off until 1992 with the Energy Policy Act. The
progression of energy deregulation is gaining momentum even now.
Would I Experience Service Interruptions?
No, there are no
interruptions when you switch providers. Because the energy is still
delivered to your home through the regular local utility company, you’ll
experience no change in your service whatsoever.
What Are the
Benefits of Deregulation and Choosing Your Own Energy Provider?
The purpose of
deregulation is to provide consumers with choice and the power to choose. Instead of having regulated rates, you can
choose a company based on the rates it offers.
Some states have had more
success than others with deregulation, which is why much of the debate
surrounding the issue isn’t whether deregulation should take place, but
rather how it should be structured.
Deregulation also gives
you the chance to support energy companies who have values and business
models you agree with. You can learn more about the green energy initiatives
some companies have in place, or even research their charitable and community
Where Is Energy Deregulation in Effect?
Deregulation takes place
state by state; some states offer supplier choices for electricity, gas or
both. There’s a cluster of deregulated states in the Northeast and around the
country but the easiest thing to do is either search online for more
information about deregulation where you live or simply contact your local utility company to ask if you have a
choice between producers.