U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
Can customers choose their electricity supplier?
Some electric utility customers have the option to choose an alternate electricity supplier. 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 customers. The alternate supplier 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 then charges for that service. Services may be billed in a consolidated bill where electricity and other costs are itemized separately, or services may be 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. There are a few electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and government operated utilities that offer retail choice. Customers may contact their distribution utility or the utility regulatory commission in their state to see if retail choice is an option.
Last reviewed: December 11, 2014
Other FAQs about Electricity
- Can I generate and sell electricity to an electric utility?
- Can customers choose their electricity supplier?
- Does EIA have data on each power plant in the United States?
- 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?
- Does the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have county-level energy production data?
- Does the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have energy consumption and price data for cities, counties, or by zip code?
- Does the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publish data on peak or hourly electricity generation, demand, and prices?
- How is electricity used in United States 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 kilowatthour 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 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?