Electric Generation Supplier Q&A

Electric Generation Supplier Q&A

I am a First Energy customer (Penelec, PennPower, etc.), can I switch to Northwestern REC for service?

No. You cannot change the "distribution" or electric lines that serve your home/business. Northwestern REC is a distribution electric cooperative. Northwestern REC is not an Electric Generation Supplier (EGS).


What is Retail Choice?

Retail Choice (also known as Retail Competition, Electric Choice, or Deregulation) comes from a 1996 law in Pennsylvania that gives consumers the ability to choose the company that supplies their electricity. The idea behind the law was to encourage competition in the generation (energy supply) market to lower electricity prices for consumers. Retail competition does not apply to any of the Pennsylvania electric cooperatives.


What exactly can customers choose?

Co-op members are exempt from retail choice. If you are a customer of an investor owned utility, you can choose the company that supplies the “generation” or energy supply portion of their service. However, your existing IOU would still deliver that power to your home or business.


What is an electric generation supplier or EGS?

An electric generation supplier (EGS) is a company that has been licensed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to provide electric generation service to all or a portion of Pennsylvania.


If the law allowing Retail Choice was enacted in 1996, why haven’t members heard much about Retail Choice until now?

Retail Choice was relatively active in Pennsylvania in the 1999-2001 timeframe, although few, if any, Electric Generation Suppliers (EGSs) chose to supply cooperative members. Then market prices for electricity increased dramatically in 2000-2001, and soon almost all of the EGSs disappeared. In January 2015, all Pennsylvania electric cooperatives became exempt from Retail Choice.


Why should anyone switch?

The most obvious reason anyone would switch is price. Also, some consumers may be willing to pay a premium for the opportunity to receive power supply from an EGS that sells green or renewable energy.


Can everyone shop for an EGS?

All consumers in Pennsylvania have the right to shop for electric generation supply (if an EGS is available), except for consumers of certain municipal electric systems and all electric cooperative members.