U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I choose the electricity supplier where I live?
Some electric utility customers have the option to choose an alternate supplier of electricity. This consumer option is often called retail choice. The alternate supplier is the company that generates and/or markets electricity, often referred to as a retail electricity marketer. The alternate supplier may not be the same company as the distribution utility that owns the power lines that deliver electricity to your meter, or it may be an affiliate of the distribution utility. Some suppliers offer electricity generated from “clean” or “green” energy sources.
Regardless of the supplier, the distribution utility delivers the contracted electricity to a customer's meter and charges for that service. Customers may be billed for all services in a consolidated bill where electricity and other costs are itemized separately, or they may be billed separately by the two companies (called dual billing). Some utility customers may have the option to choose how they are billed.
In general, retail choice is available only for utility customers served by Investor Owned Utilities (IOU) in 15 states. Most electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, or government operated utilities do not offer retail choice, although there are a few that do. You may contact your distribution utility or your State Public Utility/Service Commission to see if retail choice is available to you.
Last reviewed: September 19, 2012
Other FAQs about Electricity
- Can I choose the electricity supplier where I live?
- Can I generate and sell electricity to an electric utility?
- Does EIA have city or county-level energy consumption and price data?
- Does EIA have county-level energy production data?
- Does EIA have data on each power plant in the United States?
- Does EIA have data on peak and hourly electricity demand?
- Does EIA have electricity prices by state?
- Does EIA have information on the service territories of U.S. electric utilities?
- Does EIA have maps or information on the location of electric power plants and transmission lines in the United States?
- Does EIA publish electric utility rate, tariff, and demand charge data?
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