...And What Energy Competition Means to You Powering Up: The New Retailers

Prior to 1999, New Yorkers had to buy their electric and natural gas from the public utility company that serviced their area. Operating as regulated monopolies, the utilities weren't able to offer customers competitive pricing or customized pricing and services options. But all that has changed.

As part of the 1999 New York Public Service Commission order that opened the electricity industry to competition, the services that utilities provide have been split into two parts—supply and delivery—with the supply portion now open to competition. Independent energy service companies (ESCOs) have entered the market to compete for your business. In fact, 1.3 million New Yorkers have already switched to ESCOs for their electricity and natural gas supply.

ESCOs specialize in supplying energy—electricity, natural gas and clean, green renewable power. Because ESCOs aren't bound by certain government restrictions, they are able to offer customers choices—such as 1-, 2-, and 3-year fixed rate plans, and variable rate Plans that allow you to lock in your rate whenever you want.

Utilities favor you moving to an ESCO because it allows them to focus on what they do best—delivery and service. Plus it means they can get out of supplying the energy, which is a service that they have historically provided but were not allowed to profit from. When buying from an ESCO, your current utility will still deliver electricity to your home or business through its existing transmission and distribution system. You will still call your utility if your power goes out, or if you have an emergency situation related to your power. The reliability of your power supply will not change.

The biggest winner in energy deregulation is you. Now you are free to shop around for your energy supplier. And with ESCOs competing for your business, you are able to get more for your energy dollar.

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