What’s the Difference Between an Energy Supplier and the Utility?

Understanding Energy Choice

If you live in a state that offers energy choice, you have the option to purchase natural gas and electricity supply services from a retail energy supplier. Energy choice offers many benefits for residents and small businesses such as the ability to shop and compare energy prices, as well as choosing from a variety of plan types and term options.

Learn more about energy choice and how you can get the most out of it. In this blog, we’ll explain the difference between a retail energy supplier and a local utility, who provides your services, what they do and your options within the retail energy market.

The Role of the Local Utility

The local electric utility owns the powerlines that bring electricity into your home or business. They are responsible for maintaining those lines and repairing them during power outages and emergencies. The local gas utility owns and maintains the systems that deliver natural gas to your home or Ibusiness. Both the local electric and gas utilities read your meters to see how much energy you consume each cycle and will continue to send your bill. You should contact the applicable local utility if:

  • You have questions about billing, your meter or the meter reading
  • You would like to request maintenance services
  • You experience an outage or there is an emergency, such as a downed tree on the power lines or a gas leak

What is a Retail Energy Supplier?

Retail energy suppliers closely monitor energy prices and purchase energy based on current market prices. Since retail energy suppliers purchase and sell energy at different prices than the local utility, they are able to offer competitive rates and customized choices such as different terms and products. A retail energy supplier can help you if:

  • You would like to learn about the best products for your home or business based on your energy usage, goals or preferences
  • You would like to enroll on a new plan, renew, cancel or change your current plan


How Does it Work?

When you choose a plan with a retail energy supplier like AEP Energy, you are choosing the price for your energy supply charges, term options and a plan type. The local utility will continue to provide the same reliable energy to your home or business with no interruption of flow. It’s a win-win! AEP Energy has a many electric and natural gas options for your home or business –  you can explore them here or by contacting us at 1-866-258-3782.

AEP Energy does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, freedom from error, or value of any information herein. The information presented is provided “as is”, “as available”, and for informational purposes only, speaks only to events or circumstances on or before the date it is presented, and should not be construed as advice, a recommendation, or a guarantee of future results. AEP Energy disclaims any and all liabilities and warranties related hereto, including any obligation to update or correct the information herein. Summaries and website links included herein (collectively, “Links”) are not under AEP Energy’s control and are provided for reference only and not for commercial purposes. AEP Energy does not endorse or approve of the Links or related information and does not provide any warranty of any kind or nature related thereto.

Up Next

How to Lower Your Energy Bill


In today’s world, finding ways to lower your energy expenses is not just a smart choice but a responsible one. From simple lifestyle adjustments to embracing innovative technology, join us as we discover ways and strategies to help you achieve a more sustainable and cost-effective lifestyle. It is time to take control of your energy …

Understanding Electricity Pricing


If you live in a deregulated state, you have the power to purchase energy from an energy supplier or from the local utility. With so many options, it can be difficult to know what to look for when selecting a plan. In this blog, we will explain the price components and differences between energy suppliers …