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Electricity Market Deregulation: Everything You Need to Know

what states have deregulated electricity

Energy Deregulation in the US has had a significant impact on the electricity and natural gas industries. The shift towards a deregulated energy market has brought about major changes in the electric power industry and has allowed for increased competition and options for consumers. In a deregulated market, utility companies are no longer the sole providers of electricity and natural gas, and customers now have the ability to choose from a range of competitive energy suppliers. Here, we will learn more about energy deregulation, as well as its benefits. 

What is Energy Deregulation?

Energy deregulation refers to the process of loosening the regulation of the energy market, allowing utility companies to have more flexibility and control over their energy production, delivery, and pricing. It involves the shift from a regulated market, where energy is controlled by government agencies, to a deregulated market, where energy providers compete with one another to provide electricity and natural gas to customers.

In a deregulated market, utility companies have the ability to generate electricity through a variety of sources, including power plants, and can make decisions about which sources to use based on factors like cost and energy efficiency. This competition among energy providers can lead to lower energy prices and improved energy services for residential customers.

Energy deregulation works by allowing customers to choose their energy providers and plans, rather than relying solely on their local utility. In regulated energy markets, customers are restricted to the energy services offered by their local utility, often at higher prices. In a deregulated market, customers have the ability to compare energy plans and select the one that best meets their needs.


Energy deregulation refers to the process of liberalizing energy markets, allowing for more competition and giving consumers more choices in the energy market. The history of energy deregulation in the United States has been a complex and evolving process that has shaped the current energy landscape.

In the early days of electricity and natural gas usage in the United States, energy utilities were not regulated. With competition between utilities, prices remained low and efficient methods were developed for energy production and delivery. However, as the demand for energy increased and companies grew larger, issues with energy delivery and service arose. This led to the passage of the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) in 1935, aimed at stopping monopolies in the energy industry.

After the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965, the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) was formed, which improved the reliability of energy delivery but also resulted in the emergence of local energy monopolies. During the energy crises in the 1970s, prices continued to rise as the cost of switching to coal or uranium-generated power plants was passed on to consumers.

To address these issues, the federal government established the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 1977, deregulating the energy industry and allowing for more competition in energy markets. With deregulated energy markets, utility companies still own the energy delivery infrastructure but consumers can choose their energy provider. This allows for a more competitive market with energy suppliers, leading to better energy efficiency and a wider range of energy options, including renewable energy.

As a result, energy markets in deregulated states are more diverse, giving consumers the ability to choose from a variety of energy options and suppliers. In regulated markets, the energy prices are set by utility companies and there is little room for competition. Energy deregulation has brought about a more competitive energy market, benefiting both consumers and the energy industry. With energy efficiency and renewable energy becoming increasingly important, deregulated energy markets will continue to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the energy industry.


Energy deregulation has been an important issue in the energy sector for many years. By deregulating energy markets, electricity generation, and delivery become more efficient and cost-effective, benefiting utilities, energy providers, and customers alike.

One of the key ways that energy deregulation works is by allowing electricity markets to open up to the competition. Power plants and energy providers can compete against each other, offering customers a range of options to choose from. This creates a more dynamic and competitive energy market, which helps drive down costs and encourages innovation.

For residential customers, energy deregulation often means greater choice in terms of natural gas and electricity providers. Rather than being tied to a single local utility, customers can choose from a range of competitive energy suppliers. This can lead to lower prices, improved service, and access to a wider range of energy-efficient and renewable energy products.

Another important aspect of energy deregulation is that it can help drive investment in new power plants and energy production infrastructure. In regulated energy markets, utility companies may not have the financial incentives to invest in energy efficiency or renewable energy technologies. However, in a deregulated market, there are more opportunities for utilities to generate revenue from energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, which can help drive further innovation and progress in these areas.

Electric utilities are also able to benefit from energy deregulation. With competition driving down prices, utilities can invest in the most efficient and cost-effective technologies, reducing their costs and improving the services they offer to their customers. Additionally, utilities can take advantage of the new market conditions to develop new business models and expand their customer base.

Overall, energy deregulation has proven to be an effective tool in driving down energy costs, improving energy efficiency, and promoting the use of renewable energy. Whether you’re an energy provider, a utility company, or a residential customer, the benefits of energy deregulation are clear, making it an important and relevant issue in the energy sector today.

How Does it Work?

Energy deregulation is a system that allows electricity and natural gas markets to operate under market competition, instead of government control. This shift in energy regulation is aimed at creating a more efficient, cost-effective, and customer-focused energy market. The main objective of energy deregulation is to provide electricity generation and natural gas choice to residential consumers at competitive prices, leading to better services and more affordable energy options.

How energy deregulation works can be explained through a simple example. When residential consumer requires energy services, they can now compare rates and services offered by local third-party supply companies, such as Just Energy, and choose the best option that fits their needs. The competitive market encourages these companies to offer competitive prices, flexible contract structures, and high-quality services to remain competitive and attract more customers. The deregulated energy market operates through a network of transmission lines and pipelines that are used to transport electricity and natural gas to customers, opened up to independent energy suppliers by utility companies.

In summary, energy deregulation has changed the way electricity and natural gas are produced and distributed. The shift from regulated energy markets to deregulated markets has brought significant benefits to residential customers, energy suppliers, and even electric utilities. The competition in the energy market has led to the creation of new and innovative products, lower energy prices, and an overall more efficient and customer-focused energy market.

Effects of Energy Deregulation

There are many effects of deregulating the energy field. The most obvious examples include lower prices and more competition, but the story does not end there. Deregulation in the electric power industry means that the middleman, not present in regulated markets, comes into play. These are energy providers. 

Unlike the older system, where electricity was generated and sold by a single company, the electric utility, using their own infrastructure, now, the energy provider comes into play. They can purchase electricity from the producers directly and do so at much lower prices than you ever could. Then, they make several energy plan options and sell them to the market. This way, you can enjoy both electricity and natural gas at lower prices than you usually would. This brings about a number of benefits. 

Benefits of Energy Deregulation

Overall, energy deregulation can bring a wide range of benefits to utilities, energy providers, and customers, including lower prices, improved services, increased competition, and a more reliable energy supply. Here are some more benefits: 

  • Increased Competition – Increased competition is one of the key benefits of energy deregulation. In deregulated energy states, energy suppliers and providers compete in the open market to offer the best energy plans to residential and commercial customers. This competition creates a more dynamic and responsive market, as energy suppliers must constantly innovate and improve their products and services in order to attract customers.
  • Customer Choice – One of the key benefits of energy deregulation is increased customer choice. In deregulated energy states, customers are no longer limited to purchasing energy from a single, regulated utility. Instead, they have the ability to choose from a variety of energy providers, each offering different plans, prices, and services. This increased market competition is beneficial for customers as it allows them to compare and choose the best energy plan for their specific needs and budget.
  • Lower Prices – One of the key benefits of energy deregulation is that it can lead to lower prices for customers. In a deregulated energy market, competition between electricity providers is increased, as independent suppliers are able to sell energy alongside traditional utility companies. This increased competition often results in providers offering lower prices in order to attract customers.
  • Improved Service – Improved service is another benefit of energy deregulation. In a deregulated energy market, electricity providers must compete for customers by offering not just low prices, but also high-quality service. In the most deregulated states, customers can choose from a variety of electric companies, each offering their own energy plans and level of customer support. Every electricity provider also has freebies in their plans, including free electricity, a smart thermostat, as well as free energy audits. 
  • Improved Reliability – Improved reliability is another benefit of energy deregulation. In regulated markets, electricity and natural gas were typically provided by a single utility company that operated as a natural monopoly, protected by government regulations. With the implementation of deregulated electric choice programs, power producers now compete for customers, leading to better service and reliability. This is because companies now have a direct incentive to maintain and improve their infrastructure and power lines. 
  • Increased Investment – Investments in new and upgraded infrastructure is another key benefit of energy deregulation. In the most deregulated markets, electric companies are free to invest in new power plants and infrastructure upgrades in order to meet the growing energy demands of business consumers. This is because deregulation opens up the wholesale market, allowing these companies to sell energy at market-driven prices, rather than relying on government-regulated prices. As a result, deregulated markets see a significant increase in the number of new investments and upgrades to energy infrastructure, which benefits all energy consumers by providing a more reliable, efficient, and cost-effective energy supply. 
  • Better Environmental Outcomes – Energy deregulation also offers the potential for better environmental outcomes, as a result of increased competition. With more energy choice, competition drives the market towards more environmentally conscious options, as consumers are empowered to choose the energy supplier that aligns with their values. Faster competition can also lead to more investment in renewable energy sources, which can help mitigate the negative impact that the energy sector has on the environment. By choosing to support suppliers that prioritize the environment, customers can make a big difference. 
  • Flexibility – Flexibility is another key benefit of energy deregulation. In deregulated energy states, customers have the flexibility to choose from different companies that offer competitive rates and customizable energy plans. This level of choice and competition encourages providers to continually innovate and offer new and improved services, making the electricity market more dynamic and responsive to customers’ needs. 
  • Better Customer Service – Another benefit of energy deregulation is improved customer service. In deregulated energy markets, electricity providers are required to compete for the business of both residential and commercial customers, including small businesses. This competition drives electric companies to provide better customer service as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract more customers. As a result, customers in deregulated energy markets can expect to receive more personalized attention and faster response times when they have questions or concerns about their energy service. 

States with a Deregulated Market

Over 50% of US states have deregulated energy markets, which allow customers to save money by choosing their own provider. The availability of energy choice depends on the local utility company’s participation in the state’s gas or electric choice programs. Some states offer both programs, while others only offer one or neither. Alternative energy providers determine which specific areas in each state can participate. Deregulation is important as it offers customers options from different companies and competitive rates.

Electricity & Natural Gas

Some states have so far deregulated only the electricity sector, while some have done the same with natural gas as well. Here are the states that have the most deregulated market, which means both electricity and natural gas deregulation:

  • Illinois, 
  • Maryland, New Jersey,
    New York, 
  • Ohio, 
  • Pennsylvania, and 
  • Rhode Island. 

Electricity Only

On the other hand, some states have deregulated electricity only. This means faster competition in only one sector. Nevertheless, residents in these states can enjoy all the benefits of electricity deregulation: 

  • Connecticut, 
  • Delaware, 
  • Maine, 
  • Massachusetts, 
  • New Hampshire, and 
  • Texas.  

Natural Gas Only

On the other side of the spectrum are all the states that have deregulated only their natural gas market. Here they are: 

  • Florida, 
  • Georgia, 
  • Indiana,
  • Kentucky, 
  • Michigan, 
  • Montana, 
  • Virginia, and 
  • Wyoming. 

How to Find the Best Energy Provider in a Deregulated Market?

In a deregulated energy market, residential and commercial customers have the opportunity to save money on their electricity and natural gas bills by choosing the best energy provider for their needs. With increased competition in the energy market, finding the best energy provider can seem like a daunting task. However, with the right guidance and information, it’s easier than ever to choose an energy supplier that fits your needs and budget.

Here are the top ten tips for finding the best energy provider in a deregulated market:

  1. Assess Your Energy Needs: Determine your average monthly usage of electricity and natural gas to help you choose the right plan.
  2. Compare Rates: Look at the rates offered by different energy providers and compare them with your current supplier to see if there are any savings to be had.
  3. Check Contract Terms: Be aware of contract terms, including length, cancellation fees, and any penalties for leaving early.
  4. Read Reviews: Read online reviews from current and former customers to get an idea of the energy provider’s customer service, billing practices, and reliability.
  5. Research Energy Suppliers: Research energy suppliers operating in your area to find out about their history, reputation, and customer satisfaction.
  6. Consider Renewable Energy Sources: If you’re interested in renewable energy, check if the energy provider offers plans that are powered by wind, solar, or other renewable sources.
  7. Check for Discounts and Incentives: Look for discounts, incentives, and other promotions that the energy supplier may offer to save you money on your energy bills.
  8. Look at Billing Options: Consider the different billing options available, including monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly, to find the best fit for your needs.
  9. Visit ElectricRate: Visit ElectricRate to compare the rates and plans offered by the top energy providers in your area and find the absolute best deals.
  10. Choose a Provider with Good Customer Service: Choose a provider with a good reputation for customer service to ensure that you receive the support you need if you have questions or concerns about your energy bill.


What are the Disadvantages of Deregulation?

Deregulation can lead to a lack of stability in energy prices, as the market becomes subject to the fluctuations of supply and demand. It can also result in decreased investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, as energy companies focus on maximizing profits. Additionally, there may be concerns about the potential for market manipulation and anti-competitive behavior in deregulated energy markets.

What is the Difference between Regulated and Deregulated Power System?

In a regulated power system, the government controls the prices that energy companies can charge for electricity and natural gas. In a deregulated power system, energy prices are determined by supply and demand in the marketplace. Customers have the ability to choose their energy supplier and rate plan in deregulated markets.

Who Benefits from Energy Deregulation?

Customers in deregulated energy markets benefit from the ability to choose their energy supplier and rate plan, potentially leading to lower energy prices. Energy companies also benefit from the potential to earn higher profits in a competitive marketplace.

Is Deregulated Energy Cheaper?

The prices in deregulated energy markets are subject to fluctuations in supply and demand, so there is no guarantee that deregulated energy will be cheaper. However, the increased competition in the marketplace can drive prices down and provide customers with more options to choose from.


Every electric company in a deregulated market works really hard to provide you with the best possible solutions and the most reliable energy supply. This means faster competition and low prices, this answers the question: “Why is deregulation important”? If you live in any of the aforementioned states, it is important to use this to your advantage and save each month. 

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