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 that owns the power lines that deliver electricity to your meter distribution utility, 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. Services may be billed in a consolidated bill where electricity and other costs are itemized separately, or billed separately by the two companies (called dual billing). Some utility customers may have the option to choose their billing preferences.
In general, retail choice is available only for utility customers served by Investor Owned Utilities (IOU). There are a few electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, or government operated utilities that offer retail choice. You may contact your distribution utility or the utility regulatory commission in your state to see if retail choice is an option for you.
Last reviewed: August 27, 2013
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 data on the costs for electricity transmission and distribution?
- 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 have projections for energy production, consumption, and prices for individual states?
- Does EIA publish electric utility rate, tariff, and demand charge data?
- How is electricity used in U.S. homes?
- How many and what kind of power plants are there in the United States?
- How many nuclear power plants are in the U.S. and where are they located?
- How many smart meters are installed in the U.S. and who has them?
- How much coal, natural gas, or petroleum is used to generate a kilowatt-hour of electricity?
- How much does it cost to build different types of power plants in the United States?
- How much does it cost to generate electricity with different types of power plants?
- How much electricity does a typical nuclear power plant generate?
- How much electricity does an American home use?
- How much electricity is lost in transmission and distribution in the United States?
- How much electricity is used for cooling in the United States?
- How much electricity is used for lighting in the United States?
- How much energy is consumed in the world by each sector?
- How much of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are associated with electricity generation?
- How much of world energy consumption and electricity generation is from renewable energy?
- How old are U.S. power plants?
- What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?
- What is a capacity factor?
- What is the difference between electricity generation capacity and electricity generation?
- What is the efficiency of different types of power plants?
- What is the outlook for home heating fuel prices this winter?
- What types and amounts of energy are produced in each state?