The District's consumers and businesses can choose their electricity provider!
The District's electricity market has been opening up to competitive supply since the DC City Council passed legislation to allow retail competition in 2000. Prior to that, the Potomac Electric Power Company, better known as PEPCO, was responsible for everything from paying power plants for your electricity to delivering it to your house.
In the competitive deregulated model, consumers can choose to stay with PEPCO under the so-called Standard Offer Service, or can choose to purchase electricity from a competitive electricity supplier. PEPCO remains responsible for the delivery of the power and the maintenance of power lines, but the retail supplier you select procures your power. For a user-friendly How to Buy Power guide, see our free E-Book.
Everybody uses electricity differently - retail options allow you to find deals tailored to your needs or interests, and to take advantage of competition among retailers to get the best rates or go green. Similar to cell phone plans, where you can choose which provider and which package offers the best bang for your buck, retail choice gives you more power over your power - for more on this, check out our blog post Why Power is Like Potato Chips.
Since 2010, the number of accounts that have switched to a competitive provider has grown rapidly. Currently, approximately fifteen percent of eligible residential accounts in D.C. have switched to a competitive supplier. The switching process is very simple and can be completed entirely online. Once you have selected your electric retail provider and offer with ClearlyEnergy’s search engine, pull up your electric bill, find your account number, and complete the online switching from. The process takes about two minutes and doesn't require a credit card. Rest assured that there will be no interruption of service and no fees for switching. You will continue to receive a single bill from PEPCO for all the charges.
While growth of the residential retail market has been robust in recent years, ClearlyEnergy is the first resource designed to help District residents select retail electricity providers with an interactive search platform and a comprehensive selection of retail offers. A link to the Public Service Commission, which provides a reference lists of licensed retail energy providers, is provided on the side of this page.
By staying on standard offer service, you are choosing a rate that is set twice a year, in November and June. Competitive suppliers offer a variety of rate structures, many allow you to lock in a fixed rate over a period of time.
There are currently almost ten different retail providers with over twenty distinct offers for households and individuals in D.C. The contracts offered range from monthly variable rates to a two-year contract period, but the most common term is one-year.
A half-dozen providers are offering electricity with 50% or more green power. Most of the “green” offers have 100% renewable content, and further seek to distinguish themselves by providing information on the type of renewable resource provided. For more information on renewable electricity and how it works, check out our E-Book, it has a whole chapter dedicated to it.
By Veronique Bugnion, co-Founder ClearlyEnergy. You can find me on Google+
Photo credits: l'ennui d'ennui& Fred Dunn via Flickr