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Feb 12, 2007
Copyright© 2007. Platts. All Rights Reserved.
Retail energy marketer Liberty Power Monday named Texas and New York as the top competitive retail electricity markets for small commercial customers because they allow business customers to easily shop for affordable prices and there are more than 50 marketers in each state.
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida–based company ranked state regulatory policies for small commercial customers in a “report card,” with grades based on the ability to compare prices, restrictions on shopping, whether utilities own generation and overall regulatory climate. States such as Nevada and Oregon, for instance, only allow large commercial or industrial customers to but power from retail marketers. Other states make comparing power prices difficult, have minimum–stay requirements or do not require utility generation prices to reflect market conditions, Liberty said.
Of the 20 states and the District of Columbia included in the rankings, half received a C grade or lower, with Texas and New York the only states earning an A from the marketer. Liberty currently sells power in Texas, New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia, but is entering Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states where capped utility rates are ending and retail market conditions are improving.
The poor marks in many states show that business customers are often a forgotten class compared with residential customers and industrial customers, said David Hernandez, CEO of Liberty Power, which specializes in selling to commercial customers. “Texas and New York have led the nation in creating rules that foster an environment where small and medium businesses get robust choices and can shop for power freely and easily,” Hernandez said in a statement. “Other states can learn from their leadership and should consider adopting similar policies to make energy shopping a simple process for busy business owners while encouraging more suppliers to offer a diverse range of products.”
Those earning a B grade from Liberty include Maine, Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, and Connecticut. States earning a C include California, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Those receiving a D grade are Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia. Montana and Nevada received Fs, with Montana only allowing small businesses to buy from marketers through regulator–approved aggregation pools.