With the restructuring of the U.S. energy market in the 1990s, deregulation was introduced in different forms to several states. Energy deregulation allows customers to choose their own electricity and natural gas suppliers.
While many states have opened their energy markets in some form, no state is completely deregulated for all energy services and to all customers except for the District of Columbia. Today, residents of 26 states have at least some choice in their supplier for electricity, natural gas, or both.
States with Deregulated Electricity Markets
Across the U.S., electricity markets are currently deregulated in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Texas. Residents who live in the service territory of the following utilities or electric co-ops can switch to an alternate electricity supplier:
Connecticut: Connecticut Power & Light, United Illuminating.
Delaware: Delmarva Power & Light Company (Delmarva Power), Delaware Electric Co-op (DEC).
Maine: Emera Maine, Central Maine Power (CMP).
Massachusetts: Eversource, Unitil (Fitchburg Gas & Electric), National Grid.
New Hampshire: Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH), Liberty, Unitil, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Texas: American Electric Power (AEP) Central, AEP North, CenterPoint, Oncor, Sharyland, and Texas New Mexico Power (TNMP).
States with Deregulated Gas Markets
Residential customers can purchase gas from alternate suppliers in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Virginia, and Wyoming. You can only choose your own gas supplier if you live in the service territory of the utilities listed below:
Florida: Central Florida Gas (CFG)
Georgia: Atlanta Gas Light (AGL)
Kentucky: Columbia Gas
Michigan: Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Michigan Gas Utilities, and SEMCO Energy Gas Company.
Montana: Northwestern Energy, Energy West Montana.
Virginia: Columbia Gas, Washington Gas (WGL).
States with Deregulated Electricity and Gas Markets
The states with free access to both electricity and natural gas suppliers are Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Not all residents in these states have access to electric and natural gas choice. Only residents living in the service areas of the listed utilities or co-operatives can choose their own energy suppliers:
Illinois: Electricity: Ameren, Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd).
Natural gas: Nicor, North Shore, Peoples Gas.
Maryland: Electricity: Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), Choptank Electric Cooperative, Delmarva Power and Light, Potomac Edison, Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco), SMECO.
Natural gas: Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), Washington Gas Light (WGL) (gas).
New Jersey: Atlantic City Electric, Jersey Central Power & Light, PSEG, Rockland Electric.
Natural gas: Elizabethtown Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas, PSEG, South Jersey Gas.
New York: Electricity and gas: Central Hudson, Consolidated Edison (ConEd), National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), Orange & Rockland, and Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E).
Natural gas: Corning Natural Gas, National Fuel Gas Distribution, St. Lawrence Natural Gas.
Ohio: Electricity: AEP Ohio, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L), Duke Energy Ohio, the FirstEnergy companies Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison.
Natural gas: Columbia Gas, Dominion East Ohio, Duke Energy, Vectren Energy Delivery.
Pennsylvania: Electricity: Citizens’ Electric, Duquesne Light, Met-Ed, PECO Energy, Penelec, Penn Power, Pike County Light & Power, PPL Electric Utilities, UGI, Wellsboro Electric, West Penn Power.
Natural gas: Columbia Gas, Peoples Natural Gas – Equitable Division, National Fuel Gas, PECO Gas, Peoples Natural Gas, Peoples TWP, Philadelphia Gas Works, UGI Utilities, UGI Central Penn Gas, and UGI Penn Natural Gas.
Rhode Island: National Grid.
States with Limited Choice for Residential Customers
Most states with deregulated energy markets have some sort of limitation for choosing your electric or gas suppliers. While there are typically geographical limitations based on the servicing utility’s participation in your area, some states have other restrictions.
In California, residents and small businesses in the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) utility territories can benefit from the “Core Aggregation” program to purchase their gas from a third-party gas service provider or Core Transport Agent (CTA).
In Florida, residential consumers at Central Florida Gas (CFG) are randomly assigned to one of two approved suppliers when they sign up for service. Still, they may call CFG to request a change to the other supplier.
In Kansas, Kansas Gas Service customers using between 800 and 1,500 Mcf (8.3 to 15.5 therms) of natural gas annually can switch to a third-party gas supplier. The average American household uses about 61.3 Mcf per year.
In Michigan, state law places a cap on the total amount of electricity that can be purchased from retail suppliers based on the local utilities’ retail sales, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). This practice places potential customers in a queue, essentially denying retail electric service to new Michigan residential customers. As a result of the limitation, there are currently no licensed alternative electric suppliers (AESs) providing services to residential customers in Michigan.
In Nebraska, residents can choose their gas supplier only during a two-week period in the month of April.
In New Mexico, participation in natural gas choice is currently limited but remains available by law.
In Wyoming, residents have three weeks in April to choose an alternate gas supplier.
In Virginia, residents can choose an electric supplier if they decide to buy electricity from 100 percent renewable energy sources. This option is further limited to utility customers who cannot directly purchase electricity from their utility company’s renewable sources.
In West Virginia, participation in the market is limited. Natural gas choice is technically available statewide to residents served by Peoples Gas West Virginia, Dominion Energy West Virginia, Consumers Gas Utility, or Mountaineer Gas.
States with No Energy Choice
Alternate energy supplier choice is not available to residents in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. While these states may allow large industrial or commercial customers to choose their suppliers, residential customers have no access to retail energy providers.