What is an alternate supplier?

What is an alternate supplier?

Since the deregulation of the energy markets in the 90's, you are not obliged to purchase your electricity & gas from your traditional supplier, the utility company. You can also switch energy suppliers, and choose an alternate supplier. Alternate suppliers are also called:

  • ESCOs (Energy Supply Company)
  • Retail Energy Suppliers (retail electric supplier, or retail gas supplier)
  • Alternative Suppliers

In regulated markets, the utility companies are the only allowed energy suppliers.

In deregulated markets, alternate suppliers are also permitted to perform this part (on top of the traditional utility companies). By default, your utility company will automatically be responsible for the energy supply, unless you switch to an alternate supplier.

Alternate suppliers only perform 2 tasks:

  • Purchase of wholesale energy (electricity & gas) from the power and gas producers
  • Retail sales of energy to residential, commercial andindustrial customers

The utility company is still in a monopolistic situation for everything regarding the delivery of the electricity & gas to your premise (transmission, distribution, maintenance of these infrastructures, and meter readings). If you switch to an alternate supplier, you will still receive a bill from your utility company for the delivery service. For more information on electricity and gas, please visit our Useful information about electricity and gas page.

What alternate suppliers offer

  Utility companies Alternate suppliers
What offers do they have?
  • Variable rates, based on the market
  • Variable rates, based on the market
  • Fixed rates, to avoid fluctuations
  • Green energy rates
What are their advantages?
  • Reputation
  • The choice of millions of Americans
  • Competitive prices
  • A sometimes better customer service

Who are the main alternate suppliers

In the US, there are several hundreds of suppliers for electricity and/or gas. Some are rather small, only present in 1 or 2 states. Others cover many states in the US with liberalized energy markets. Below are a few of the biggest alternate suppliers:

There are many others. For an extended list, please go back to our main Suppliers page.

How to switch supplier

In most cases, switching suppliers is free, unless you were signed up with a previous alternate supplier, and your contract term hasn't ended yet (in that case, signing out of your previous supplier might impose a termination fee). You must contact the supplier you would like to sign up with directly, and provide them with the following information:

  • Your full name and contact information (phone number, email address)
  • Moving-in address
  • Phone number
  • That's all ! The supplier will automatically notify your utility company. Your utility company will take care of signing out of any previous supplier.

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