If you pay an electricity bill, who do you pay it to? Have you ever paid attention? If you were the primary account holder on your electric account prior to 1978, you may have paid the bill to your local electricity utility company. That makes sense, doesn’t it? They provide the electricity and you pay the bill for it. If you haven’t noticed, a change has been occurring lately in several states as it applies to the energy industry. Due to electricity deregulation, third-party non-utility electric retailers will now take over the service and billing of energy services you receive in your home or office, but the local utility company will still retain ownership of the electricity that is provided to your home. Confused yet? Let’s break it down into simpler terms to make the concept a little easier.
When you hear the term ‘energy industry’, you may think it refers to merely electric and gas companies. In fact, the term energy industry can refer to a wide myriad of industries involved with the production and sale of power, gas and energy. On one hand you have the companies that extract the fuel, such as oil and gas, from the Earth and then you have the manufacturing companies, the ones that take the fuel through the refining process and then of course there are the companies that deal with the distribution of energy to homes and businesses.
Energy deregulation is now commonplace in all states across the union, but has it helped the U.S. as a whole? What are some of the effects of energy deregulation and how do they affect the average American home or business owner? Let’s look at these effects now to see how you, as an energy consumer, have been affected.