Choose Among Natural Gas and Electricity Rates in Maryland
Since 2000, consumers have been allowed to shop for natural gas plans and compare electricity rates in Maryland. Consumers of all types – whether they be homeowners, renters or business owners – living in the service areas of participating utilities, such as Baltimore Gas and Electric, can choose among many options sold by competitive retail suppliers.
In May 2013, roughly one quarter of the residents living in a deregulated electricity area were exercising their Maryland electric choice. If you're interested in finding out whether you have the option of participating in the natural gas or Maryland electric choice program, take a look at this list of participating utilities:
- Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E)
- Delmarva Power and Light
- Potomac Edison
- Potomac Electric Power
- Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E)
- Chesapeake Utilities (commercial and industrial customers only)
- Columbia Gas, Maryland (commercial and industrial customers only)
- Elkton Gas (commercial and industrial customers only)
- Washington Gas
In order to make the most of the Maryland electric choice and natural gas choice programs, you have to take the initiative to make it work for you. That means comparing natural gas and electricity rates in Maryland if you are able to do so, and taking the time to make an informed decision.
For an easy way to get a head start, just enter your ZIP code here at SaveOnEnergy.com®. We've got the tools and information you need to capitalize on the Maryland electric and natural gas markets.
How to compare electricity rates in Maryland
There is not a huge difference between the way the electricity process works with a retail supplier and the way it operates with your local utility. Retail suppliers only exist to provide competitive alternatives to the supply prices charged by local utilities, such as BG&E electricity rates.
Alternative electricity suppliers purchase power wholesale from generation companies. They then create a variety of plans with Maryland electric rates designed to fit the needs of all sorts of consumers. By comparison shopping, you could purchase an electricity supply for your home or business at a lower rate than your utility offers, whether you're paying BG&E electricity rates or have a plan with one of the other three utilities participating in the Maryland electric choice program.
What remains the same?
The delivery portion of electric service is still provided by utilities in Maryland. The local utilities own the infrastructure, such as power lines, that transport energy to your home. Even if you choose a retail electricity supplier, your utility will charge you for the distribution of electricity through these structures. In addition, it is responsible for maintaining its infrastructure. In the case of a power outage, you should always notify your local utility directly.
Exceptions to the rule
There are a few exceptions to the deregulation law that limit Maryland electric choice for some residents. For example, rural electricity cooperatives are exempt from the deregulation laws and residents in these areas may not have the option to compare electricity rates at this time. It's up to the discretion of the cooperative to decide if its customers can shop for a retail supplier or have to stick with the plans offered by the co-op. The same is true for consumers served by city-owned utilities.
Choosing among Maryland natural gas rates
Soon after Maryland electric choice got off the ground, many residents were given the opportunity to compare Maryland natural gas rates as well. Just as it did with electricity, Maryland split its natural gas market into two parts: supply and delivery.
The legislation allows you to choose Maryland natural gas rates from a retail supplier, potentially saving you money, while continuing to work with your utility for the delivery of your gas. However, the law left some leeway, allowing customers to continue purchasing their gas supply from the local utility if they prefer.
Consumers who do not elect to compare rates from retailers will automatically receive default supply service from their local utility, such as Baltimore Gas and Electric. But, those who do not shop for alternatives could be missing out on lower rates. The only way to know whether you are getting the best Maryland natural gas rates on the market is to see what retailers have to offer.
If you choose an alternative supplier, you should expect the same quality in your gas supply that you get with your utility. Not only do all gas suppliers in the state have to be licensed by the Maryland Public Service Commission, your supply will continue to be delivered by your local utility.