What is Energy Deregulation?

There was a time when electricity and natural gas were supplied to your neighborhood by just one utility company. Prices were set with a state government's regulatory approval. Consumers had no choice of provider and, therefore, no way to shop around for the best price.

In 1997, 17 states, including Ohio, began to deregulate energy. This allows independent energy companies to supply electricity and/or natural gas to homes and businesses at prices based on current market values. In many cases, these rates are lower than those offered by the government-regulated utility companies. Despite this change, state governments needed a way to ensure all homes and businesses would continue to be served safely and fairly. So local, government-regulated utility companies are still required to deliver, maintain and service all electricity and/or natural gas accounts.

What does this mean for consumers? It means you now have a choice. Several different energy companies can now compete to supply electricity and/or natural gas to your home or business. This translates into lower prices for the very same electricity and/or natural gas — delivered, maintained and serviced in the very same way — as you currently receive. The only difference: it is supplied by an independent energy company at a potentially lower cost.