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State-by-State Look at Energy Regulation in the U.S.

At Spark, we proudly provide energy services to states that enjoy deregulated gas and electricity. Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.
 
The push for deregulation of natural gas and electricity happened when the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) decided it should limit its authority to wholesale transactions. This move cleared the way for individual states to determine if and how they should allow retail price competition.

Deregulation does not mean elimination of laws against fraud, but eliminates or reducing government control of how business is done, thereby moving toward a more free market.
This means that you can choose the gas and electric that comes to your home or business.

States with Deregulated Electricity

Here’s a closer look at which states have deregulated electricity, with notes for those that may have limitations. Keep in mind that no state has an energy market that is completely deregulated. The closest state is Texas with approximately 85% of the state having access to energy choice.
 
Of the 18 states that enjoy some level of deregulation, Spark and its family of brands (which include Oasis Energy, Censtar Energy, Provider Power, and Major Energy) have access to the majority of them. Click each link to learn more about Spark electricity services offered in that state.
 

State

Year Deregulated

Notes

California   *California’s electric choice works on a very limited lottery system called DirectAccess.
Connecticut 1998  
Maine 2000  
Maryland 1999  
New Hampshire 1998  
Illinois 1997  
Massachusetts 1998  
Michigan 1998  
New Jersey 1999  
New York 1997  
Ohio 1996  
Pennsylvania 1996  
Rhode Island 1996 Both Natural Gas and Electric Choice programs are limited for residential consumers.
Washington DC    2001  
Delaware 1999  
Oregon 1997  
Texas 2002  


States with Deregulated Natural Gas

Here’s a closer look at which states enjoy natural gas deregulation, with notes for those that may have limitations. Keep in mind that no state has an energy market that is completely deregulated. The closest state is Texas with approximately 85% of the state having access to energy choice.
 
Of the 27 states that enjoy deregulation, Spark and its family of brands (which include Oasis Energy, Censtar Energy, Provider Power, and Major Energy) have access to the majority of them. Click through each link to learn more about Spark’s services in that state.
 

State

Year Deregulated

Comments

Connecticut 1996 Gas choice is partial and very limited.
Maine 1998 Natural Gas Choice underwent more of a ‘restructuring’ process. It is only available to Industrial and Commercial consumers.
Maryland 1995 Some residential, commercial and industrial customers in some areas of Maryland are not eligible for Natural Gas Choice.
New Hampshire 1998 New Hampshire does not offer Natural Gas Choice to residential customers at this time.
Iowa 1997 Natural Gas Choice is only available to a small number of consumers.
California 1995 California’s electric choice works on a very limited lottery system called DirectAccess.
Illinois 2002 Approximately 75% of the state of Illinois is eligible for Natural Gas Choice.
Massachusetts 1998  
Michigan 2008  
New Jersey 1999  
New York 1999  
Ohio 1997  
Pennsylvania 1999  
Rhode Island 1996  
Virginia 2001 Both Natural Gas and Electric Choice programs are limited for residential consumers.
Washington DC 1999  
Colorado 1999 Colorado is Natural Gas Deregulated, however no utilities currently offer choice programs.
Florida 2002  
Georgia 1998  
Indiana 1998 Natural Gas Choice is only available for NIPSCO customers.
Kentucky 2000  
Montana 1986  
Nebraska 1998  
New Mexico 1980s  
South Dakota 2005  
West Virginia 2010  
Wyoming 1996 Wyoming Choice Gas program allows consumers to select or switch their supplier during a specific defined period through Source
Gas Utility.


States with Regulated Electricity

Here’s a closer look at which states do not enjoy electricity deregulation, along with notes for some states that may be working on deregulation.
  
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Hawaii
Idaho
Kansas
Louisiana
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
 
Nevada
North Carolina
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Carolina
Tennessee
Utah
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin
Colorado
 
Florida
Georgia
Indiana
Kentucky
Montana
Nebraska
New Mexico
South Dakota
West Virginia
Wyoming
Iowa
 

 

  • Arizona: In 2004, energy regulation was placed on hold due to various regulatory order
  • Arkansas: In 2003, Bill 1114 was signed to reverse energy deregulation
  • Nevada: Currently campaigning to adopt energy deregulation. The status of this state could change in the near future.
  • Oklahoma: In 2001, Senate Bill 440 was signed for further investigation and study of the impacts of energy deregulation.

States with Natural Gas Regulations

Here’s a closer look at which states do not enjoy electricity deregulation, along with notes for some states that may be working on deregulation.
 
 Oregon 
Texas
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Hawaii
Idaho 
 
Kansas
Louisiana
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
North Carolina
North Dakota
 
Oklahoma
South Carolina
Tennessee
Utah
Vermont
Washington
Delaware
Wisconsin
 
 
  • Arizona: In 2004, energy regulation was placed on hold due to various regulatory order
  • Arkansas: In 2003, Bill 1114 was signed to reverse energy deregulation
  • Nevada: Currently campaigning to adopt energy deregulation. The status of this state could change in the near future.
  • Oklahoma: In 2001, Senate Bill 440 was signed for further investigation and study of the impacts of energy deregulation.
  • Delaware: Gas choice was trialed and discontinued.
  • Wisconsin: Natural Gas Choice program was discontinued in 2001.

How Does a State Decide to Deregulate?

Investor-owned utilities (private companies with ownership shares held by stockholders, like Spark) serve the majority of electricity and natural gas customers in the United States. These utilities are primarily regulated at the state level, where public service commissions (PSCs) are responsible for overseeing and authorizing investment decisions, operations and customer rates.
 
State regulators of investor-owned utilities (and their counterparts for publicly-owned utilities) are clearly in positions where their decisions and policies strongly influence utility investments and operations. They have a prominent role in establishing regulations and policies that support the establishment and implementation of utility-sector energy efficiency programs. PSCs in some states pioneered regulations and policies that led to the development and practice of utility "demand-side management," which includes customer energy efficiency programs.
 

State policymakers and regulators provide clear direction to regulated utilities about the importance of energy efficiency. As a first step, legislators and regulators typically require utilities to offer programs; they also set up mechanisms for utilities to recover their costs through rate case proceedings. A recent trend has been for states to establish specific energy savings targets (typically as a percentage of total energy sales) for regulated utilities. These energy efficiency resource standards (EERS) are in place in a large and rapidly growing number of states.
 
For more information about how energy deregulation affects you, visit our website.
7/5/2017 11:06:25 AM
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