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Energy Supplier vs. Utility: What’s the Difference?

August 02, 2019

What is energy choice?

Most residents and businesses in deregulated states have the option to purchase natural gas and electricity services from an energy supplier and the ability to shop and compare energy prices.

Like most of us, you’re probably interested in controlling your budget. While some of the services such as water, internet, or phone might be pretty straightforward, understanding retail energy can be more complicated. What is a retail energy supplier, anyway? In this blog, we’ll explain the difference between an energy supplier and a utility to help you better understand who provides your services, how they do it, and what your options are within the retail energy market.

What is an electric utility?

The utility owns and operates the wires that bring electricity into your home or business.  They are responsible for maintaining those lines and repair them during power outages and emergencies. The utility also reads your electric meter to see how much energy you consume each cycle. The utility can help you if:

  • You have questions about your meter or the meter reading
  • You have questions about billing
  • Your power goes out or there is an emergency, such as a downed tree on the power lines

What is an energy supplier?

Energy suppliers are companies who carefully watch the market and purchase wholesale electricity from electricity generators and sell it at a retail level to the public with a variety of options. Because the cost of power fluctuates, suppliers are able to purchase and sell electricity at different rates than the utility, offer customized choices such as fixed rates, different terms and even renewable products. A supplier can help you if:

  • You would like to enroll on a plan
  • You would like to renew, cancel or change your plan
  • You have questions about products and services

Here’s how it works:

Whether you choose an energy supplier or not, the local utility will continue to provide the same reliable energy to your home or business with no interruption of flow, continue to maintain power lines and read your meter each billing cycle. AEP Energy has a number of options for your home or business and you can explore them here or contact us at 1-866-258-3782.

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