Can electric utility 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 or customer 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 specific energy sources, such as wind and other renewable energy sources.
Regardless of the electricity 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 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 26, 2018
Other FAQs about Electricity
- Can electric utility customers choose their electricity supplier?
- Does EIA have county-level energy production data?
- Does EIA have data on costs for electricity transmission and distribution?
- Does EIA have data on each power plant in the United States?
- Does EIA have energy consumption and price data for cities, counties, or by zip code?
- Does EIA have projections for energy production, consumption, and prices for individual states?
- Does EIA publish data on peak or hourly electricity generation, demand, and prices?
- Does EIA publish electric utility rate, tariff, and demand charge data?
- Does EIA publish electricity consumption and price data by state and by utility?
- Does EIA publish the location of electric power plants and transmission lines?
- How is electricity used in U.S. homes?
- How many nuclear power plants are in the United States, and where are they located?
- How many power plants are there in the United States?
- How many smart meters are installed in the United States, 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 electricity 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 does the world consume by each energy end-use sector?
- How much of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are associated with electricity generation?
- How much of U.S. energy consumption and electricity generation comes from renewable energy sources?
- How much of world energy consumption and production is from renewable energy?
- How old are U.S. nuclear power plants, and when was the newest one built?
- What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?
- 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?