Study: Competitive utilities see 53 percent increase in customers

Washington, D.C., April 4, 2012 — Despite the economic slowdown and flat demand for electricity, there has been growth in customer migration from regulated electric supply to deregulated energy companies, according to a study by the COMPETE Coalition.

The report, “Retail Electric Choice: Proven, Growing, Sustainable,” finds that electricity choice is growing in states that allow retail competition in the electric utility industry.

“This report demonstrates that the vibrancy of competitive retail electricity is not driven solely by market prices,” said William Massey, counsel to COMPETE. “Competitive electricity suppliers provide much more than a comparatively attractive price. They are working with their customers to design contractual terms, information, innovative products and portfolio pricing to match the individual needs of customers.”

The report, based on data compiled by KEMA and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, finds that since 2008, customer accounts served by competitive suppliers have grown more than 53 percent, from 8.7 million to 13.3 million in 2011.

The total electricity load served competitively has grown 40 percent since 2008, from 488 million MWh to 685 million MWh in 2011, an increase of nearly 200 million MWh.

“As of the close of 2011, nearly one out of every five kilowatt-hours of electricity in America was supplied by a competitive provider — even though customer choice is denied to consumers representing 56 percent of total U.S. electricity load,” said the report’s author, Philip O’Connor, former Illinois Commerce Commission chairman and noted expert on electricity competition issues.

The COMPETE Coalition is more than 620 electricity stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, traditional and clean energy generators, transmission owners, trade associations, technology innovators, environmental organizations and economic development corporations.

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