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.

Up Next

Go Green While Traveling


Spring has arrived and it’s the time of year when many of us start to put together our spring break and summer vacation plans. Did you know you can go green while traveling? That’s right! You can enjoy the sights and be kind to the environment at the same time. Choosing a destination There’s something …

What is the Price to Compare?


There are several components that make up the amount you are charged on your energy bill. One you’ve probably heard about is the “Price to Compare” rate or PTC, but what is it, exactly? The Price to Compare rate is the price that local utility is charging (per kWh) for the generation portion of your …