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Pennsylvania Celebrates 25 Years of Retail Energy Choice

Pennsylvania Celebrates 25 Years of Retail Energy Choice

In 1996 Pennsylvania’s then-Governor, Tom Ridge, signed into law the “Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act,” which restructured the state’s electricity industry to provide for customer choice among competing electricity suppliers. As a result, consumers were no longer captive to a single monopoly-protected utility company for their electric supply. 

Scores of retail suppliers now compete to provide energy products to households, churches, schools and universities, small businesses and manufacturers offering innovative products and services specifically tailored to meet the customer’s needs and individual energy circumstances. 

Currently more than 1.7 million Pennsylvania electricity customers are served by competitive suppliers, including almost 1.5 million residential customers. Retail competition has spurred economic development and job creation in the Commonwealth. Although these are pretty impressive numbers, they only represent 24% of the eligible customers that are able to shop for a competitive energy supplier.

The retail energy market has come a long way in its 25-year journey in Pennsylvania. In the late 90’s the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) had to develop a plan, write the rules and implement a successful program.  We now have more than 200 licensed suppliers offering many different types of commodity plans and a wide range of  products and services to meet today’s energy management needs. 

Despite these successes, more work is required to boost enrollment in the retail energy market. There is a great need to educate Pennsylvania consumers and business owners  that energy choice is available, the benefits energy choice brings, types of  products and services available, the way customers can shop and take advantage of to manage their energy consumption that best fits their individual needs. 

On March 9th, RESA is hosting a webinar that will focus on several different aspects of the retail choice program. It will begin with remarks from Rob Powelson, former Chairman of the Pennsylvania PUC, who will convey why he feels energy choice is important to continue to promote. Next, there will be a panel of experts discussing the history and intent behind the passage of this legislation, the consumer protections developed by the Commission, and suppliers’ role in the retail marketplace. Topics to be covered include enrollment of customers, variety of products offered, how consumers can compare offers, Pennsylvania’s move to competitive markets and the triumph of market-based public policy , and finally support for legislation to enhance the retail energy industry. Ample time will be allotted for participant Q&A before the webinar concludes. 

In today’s COVID environment, we believe a webinar is an effective way to communicate to policy makers, regulators and consumers the successes of this 25-year milestone. To attend this free event, please sign up through the webinar Eventbrite page by March 8.