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More Connecticut Electricity Customers Switching to Alternative Suppliers

An increasing number of electric customers in Connecticut get their electricity from competitive retail suppliers and not from the state’s two public utilities, according to a new report on competitive supply.

The 5th Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS), by Distributed Energy Financial Group LLC, found that more than 65 percent of electricity sold in Connecticut is purchased from alternative retail suppliers that entered the state’s electricity market when it was opened up to competition in 1998.

Competition broke up the state’s two electric utility monopolies, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating, and made electricity supply separate from distribution. While the utilities, which were turned into electricity distribution companies, could still sell electricity at state-regulated rates, alternative retail suppliers were allowed to enter the market and compete with the utilities and each other for customers.

The competitive retail electricity supply market was slow to catch on due to small rate savings between the utilities and retail suppliers initially. However, over the past four years, the number of electric customers who switched from their utility to an alternative electricity supplier increased sharply.

In 2008, 6.6 percent of residential electric customers had switched to a retail supplier. By 2011, that number increased to 40.6 percent. Commercial electric customers have switched in even greater numbers. By 2011, 80 percent of small businesses and 90 percent of large businesses had switched to a retail supplier.

Sources

“Retailers Sell Two-Thirds of CT ElectricityHartford Business Journal, Nov. 30, 2011.

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