Pennsylvania’s Focus on Shopping: Why Commercial Customers Should Take a Second Look

In a report released by the Distributed Energy Financial Group (DFEG) on January 22, 2014, Pennsylvania ranks third in North America for its residential retail electricity market and fourth for its commercial and industrial retail electricity market, behind the U.S. states of Texas and Illinois and the Canadian province of Alberta.  Some of the factors for Pennsylvania’s high rankings include: a large number of retail energy suppliers located within the state, sophisticated consumers, and customized contracts.

Since 2007, DFEG has produced this report, known as the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS), to score and rank the progress of U.S. states and Canadian provinces in their efforts to evolve from full regulation of electric prices to a paradigm where the market determines what consumers will pay for supply.   The ABACCUS is intended to help policy makers in various jurisdictions establish conditions that will facilitate robust retail competition and is available at

As observed by ABACCUS, a robust retail electricity market is designed to produce a wide array of innovative product offerings to consumers.  Some examples given by the report of offerings developed by competitive suppliers and aimed at commercial customers are:

  • An energy optimization program that allows commercial customers to profit from fluctuations in commodity prices by turning their energy management programs into a revenue stream
  • A load control system that permits commercial customers to take advantage of price responsive offerings and modify their usage patterns
  • An on-bill financing program that enables consumers to economically purchase the equipment needed to measure and manage building energy use
  • An online billing program that gives commercial customers the option of easily locating their hourly load and pricing information
  • A web-based program that helps commercial customers understand their consumption patterns, as well as saving opportunities

According to Pennsylvania’s electric shopping website,, almost half of the commercial customers are purchasing supply from a competitive supplier.  This statistic alone demonstrates that many commercial customers are not taking advantage of the opportunities to save money or choose product offerings that meet their business needs. In fact, even commercial customers who are shopping may not be aware of all of the options that are available for saving energy costs. Questions should be directed to


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