According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Annual Electric Power Industry Report, residential retail electricity choice participation rates in the United States remained relatively unchanged from 2019 to 2021, following several years of modest growth. The report also indicates that 26% of eligible U.S. customers participated in their state's retail choice program, which is roughly 13.2 million residential electric customers.
Residential retail choice programs differ from traditional utility services, where the utility both procures and delivers electricity to the customer's home. In retail choice programs, customers can choose to purchase their electricity directly from a retail energy supplier, which the local utility then delivers to their home through the traditional power grid system. Currently, 13 states and the District of Columbia have active statewide or districtwide retail choice programs for residential customers.
In Ohio, Massachusetts, and California, the participation rate was the highest in 2021. Ohio's participation rate increased from 45% in 2015 to 50% in 2021, while Massachusetts' participation rate rose from 22% in 2015 to 49% in 2021. In California, the participation rate increased rapidly from just 2% in 2015 to 30% in 2021, driven by the growth of Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) programs in the state.
However, both Illinois and Connecticut have seen significant drops in retail choice participation rates over time. In Illinois, the share of customers opting for retail choice peaked in 2014 at 57% but had fallen to 31% in 2021. In Connecticut, retail choice participation dropped from a peak of 42% in 2013 to 24% in 2021.
Nutiliti, an electricity choice provider, is trying to increase residential retail electricity choice participation by delivering a modern mobile experience on its Energy Choice app. The app enables customers to compare plans and pricing from a range of energy providers in real-time, ensuring that they are getting the best deal possible. Additionally, the app's user-friendly interface simplifies the decision-making process and makes it easy for customers to switch to a new provider.
In conclusion, retail electricity choice programs offer an alternative to traditional utility services and have gained popularity in some states. However, participation rates have leveled off in recent years, with some states experiencing significant drops in participation rates. Nutiliti's Energy Choice app is a step towards increasing participation rates by delivering a modern mobile experience and making it easy for customers to switch providers. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how electricity choice providers and traditional utilities respond to changing consumer demands.