Competitive energy markets began developing in the 1980s for natural gas and in the late 1990s for electricity following Energy Policy Act of 1992 which paved the way for competitive wholesale and retail electric markets.
Today, businesses can choose from a range of relatively simple, to very complex, energy management strategies that can be used to gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Homeowners and renters can choose from a range of options that provide price protection, savings, and environmental benefits.
In competitive electricity markets, regulated utilities continue to manage power transmission and distribution. Competition centers on the electricity commodity and other products and services. The advent of competition has no impact on distribution system reliability, which continues to be the responsibility of the local regulated utility.
In states without retail competition, government regulators set electricity prices. Consumers and businesses often have less access to green energy options and new and innovative products and services in such markets.