Frequently Asked Questions
Energy Market Deregulation Means Choices for Customers
Competition drives prices down, and fittingly, beginning in 2006 energy companies and legislators reshaped the electricity and natural gas markets in Maryland to increase competition. In addition to changing legislation, utilities were also required to sell off their generating plants to private companies. These divestitures created more energy suppliers and consequently more competition. This Legislation was passed to eliminate the market inefficiencies of the regulated monopolies, create more choices at the retail market and ultimately lower prices for consumers. In Maryland a regulatory framework was established to protect the consumer. This is regulated through the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Since 2006 many consumers have benefited from the energy market restructuring and have saved thousands of dollars a year by exercising their options to switch to a competitive energy supplier. You now have the opportunity to purchase your commodity energy from competing suppliers. When you switch to a competitive energy supplier, everything else remains unchanged. The service stays the same and the local utility company will continue to deliver your electricity or gas and bill you. The only difference is that you will pay a competitive supplier for the electricity or natural gas that your facility uses.
Why Choose Veterans Energy Supply Company, VESCO?
Simply stated we save you time and money. While there are savings to be reaped by participating in the competitive energy arena, these markets are complex and volatile. VESCO will navigate the maze of electricity and natural gas supply options to find the best fit for your specific business energy needs. We will analyze your consumption inputs such as your facility’s usage levels, how the energy is used and hours of operation along with trends in the energy futures markets, competitive timing and regulatory factors. We then negotiate a contract on your behalf. VESCO provides a straight forward procurement process with minimal time commitments from you.
What Is The Out of Pocket Cost to My Company?
Nothing, there is no out-of-pocket cost to your company. VESCO works on your behalf to provide you with pricing offers from various competitive energy suppliers. We are paid a commission by the energy supplier selected by you, but only if you implement a solution that we have presented. The commission is the same from each supplier, thereby ensuring VESCO’S indifference and integrity in the procurement process.
Are there any fees incurred when I switch suppliers?
No, there are no charges or fees incurred when a business switches to a competitive energy supplier. The date of the change occurs on the day of your normal meter reading.
How will your electricity be delivered?
Your new energy supplier will deliver your electricity over the same wires just as before, because the transmission and distribution system is still owned by the local utility. We supply the electricity to the PJM Electricity Grid which serves Maryland and the local utility delivers it to you.
Who Do I Call If My Service is interrupted?
The delivery of the electricity is still regulated and maintained by the local utility. A customer whose power goes out should contact the local utility immediately and report the outage.
How Am I Billed?
Depending on the supplier you may have two invoicing options. One option is to receive a single bill which combines both the delivery charges from your local distribution company and the commodity energy charges from your chosen competitive energy supplier. The other option is to receive two separate bills – one from the distribution company and one from the competitive energy supplier. The invoice format depends on the specific supplier that you choose and their arrangement with the local distribution company. Many suppliers offer both options. The supplier charges will be listed as a line item on your bill from the utility company.
Where we get our electricity from?
Customers in Maryland get their electricity from the PJM Interconnection. PJM coordinates the continuous buying, selling and delivery of wholesale electricity through the Maryland Energy Market. In its role as market operator, PJM balances the needs of suppliers, wholesale customers and other market participants and monitors market activities to ensure open, fair and equitable access. PJM’s Energy Market operates much like a stock exchange, with market participants establishing a price for electricity by matching supply and demand. In addition to Maryland the PJM Interconnection also serves Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The scope of PJM’s operations is extensive including 58 million customers, 1,365 electricity generators and 61,200 miles if transmission lines.
What is the Role of the Maryland Public Service Commission?
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is an independent administrative agency within the state government that was established in 1910 which regulates public utilities. Similar to other state Public Utilities Commissions, the Maryland PSC regulates and sets tariff rates for natural gas, electricity distribution, local telephone, water, and sewage disposal. The initial purpose of the PSC was to fix the rates of steam railroads, street railways, ferries, toll bridges, and gas, electric, heating, water, telegraph, telephone, and water utilities.
In 1999, legislation titled the Electric Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1999 was enacted to restructure the electric industry and electric generation was deregulated. As a result of the 1999 deregulation of the state electric industry, the PSC no longer regulates the cost of electricity generated in plants located in Maryland; it still is responsible for the approval of electric generating plants and transmission lines and for the approval of certain modifications. Although there are approximately 40 generating plants that provide power for customers in the state, Maryland imports about 35% of its electricity.
What deregulation means is that the utility companies BGE, PEPCO and Potomac Edison cannot produce their own electricity. They must buy it from a supplier. This means that all of the Utilities in the state must buy their electricity from a supplier that is approved by the Public Service Commission.