Residential switching grows in retail choice states: report
Washington (Platts)--17Dec2012/1258 pm EST/1758 GMT
Residential customers in several US states and in Alberta with retail
choice are buying power from marketers at higher levels and the services
being offered by marketers in restructured states are evolving to meet
consumer needs, according to a report released Monday.
Residential switching has lagged switching levels of commercial and
industrial customers in restructured retail markets in North America. But
with aggregation programs in Illinois, Massachusetts and Ohio, along with
market reforms in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Alberta, more residents are
turning to competitive suppliers, said the report from Distributed Energy
DEFG's "Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the US" shows
residential customer switching above 30% in Texas, Connecticut, Ohio, Alberta
and Pennsylvania and residential switching above 20% in New York, Illinois,
Maryland and Maine.
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Switching among large commercial and industrial customers is above 60%
in about 12 states and provinces with retail competition, with several
markets showing large customer switching above 80%, DEFG said.
In Pennsylvania, more than 1.9 million customers, representing almost
60% of the electricity used in the state, are buying power from marketers,
Public Utility Commission Chairman Robert Powelson said in a statement. "In
the coming year, we will be moving forward with recommendations that have
grown out of our retail markets investigation," he said.
Beyond the switching figures, marketers in some states are offering
prepaid service, energy usage reports, fixed-price or variable-price
contracts, mobile phone payment options and other services to meet consumer
preferences, the report said.
Businesses in jurisdictions with retail competition have an advantage
over those in utility territories with traditional regulation because they
have more choices among power suppliers, an increased ability to manage
electricity like other costs, lower or declining prices and greater
responsiveness to changes in market prices, DEFG said.
DEFG is a consulting firm with clients that include utilities and
marketers in restructured markets.
The DEFG report ranks jurisdictions' based on market conditions,
regulatory policies and switching figures, and there were very few changes in
the rankings for 2012. The top five states among the 18 ranked for commercial
and industrial customers were unchanged with Texas topping the list for the
sixth straight year, followed by Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and
The bottom five jurisdictions are California, Ontario, New Hampshire,
Rhode Island and Michigan. The jurisdictions in the middle, in descending
order with a few changes from last year are Connecticut, Alberta, New Jersey,
Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Delaware.
--Tom Tiernan, email@example.com
--Edited by Richard Rubin, firstname.lastname@example.org