New York energy choice

While energy choice laws have been in effect for almost a decade in the New York City area, an alarming number of consumers are still unaware of their option to shop for competitive electricity and natural gas rates. The majority of citizens are still under the belief that they have to pay the energy rates offered by Con Edison, the local utility company. In truth, New York City consumers only have to pay the regulated delivery charges for energy to Con Edison, the supply component of their energy bills is open to customer choice. New York energy choice laws changed Con Edison from being the sole energy company in the New York City area, responsible for the delivery and generation supply of the energy, to only being responsible for the delivery and maintenance of the energy lines and wires.

On top of their delivery duties, Con Edison also provides a default rate for electricity supply to customers who do not choose to initiate in electricity shopping activity. Con Edison customers can find attractive rate plans offered by competitive electricity companies that will replace the default rate. The competitive electricity companies in New York are referred to as ESCOs, which stands for energy supply companies. ESCOs can offer customers rate plans that differentiate from the “one size fits all” default plan offered by Con Edison.

The Con Edison default electricity rate changes each month as it is variable and tied to market fluctuations. This volatility does not allow for ESCOs to market exact savings with their rate offerings as they are able to do in other state markets. In the neighboring states of New Jersey an Pennsylvania, utilities have default rates that last anywhere from three to eight months at a time. Electricity companies there can offer rates below the default rates and consumers can calculate exact savings. While this isn’t the exact case in New York, consumers can still lock in low Con Edison rates that are fixed and will offer price certainty during the term of the contract.

In addition to price, Con Edison customers can shop for plans that offer renewable energy as the source of power. ESCOs can purchase power generated from wind farms and sell it to retail customers so that there money is supporting renewable resources.

Consumers have a variety of options when shopping for competitive electricity in New York City. Getting this idea out has been difficult as people have become used to accepting whatever rate Con Edison imposes. The last migration data in New York was released at the end of 2015 which showed that only 23.6% of residential customers where purchasing their power from a competitive ESCO. Below are competitive offers from ESCOs who have been approved to sell power in the Con Edison service area.