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New York FAQs

Electric Deregulation

What is supplier choice?

Your New York electricity bill consists of two main sections: electricity supply and electricity delivery. Since the late 1990’s, the generation portion of your electric bill had been deregulated. This means that you have the opportunity to choose your electricity generation supplier. Electricity delivery charges are the same regardless of which supplier you choose.

Do all New York customers have electric choice?

Supplier choice is only available to customers served by the six investor-owned utilities. These utilities include Consolidated Edison, Orange & Rockland, Central Hudson, NYSEG, RGE, and National Grid (Niagara-Mohawk).

What is an ESCO?

An Energy Service Company (ESCO) is a company licensed by the New York Public Service Commission (NY PSC) to provide electricity and/or natural gas supply to consumers.

What is the role of an ESCO?

ESCO’s purchase electricity on the wholesale market and sell it to retail consumers like you. ESCOs can also can also offer value-added services including smart thermostats, heating and cooling maintenance services, and renewable energy plans.

What is the role of a utility in electricity delivery?

Utilities are still responsible for reading electric meters, responding to service interruptions, and maintaining the wires and poles to ensure reliable electricity delivery.

Does the reliability of my service depend on which retail electric supplier I choose?

No. Reliable service is the responsibility of the utility. The New York PSC regulates utilities and requires that they provide the same quality of service without consideration of which ESCO you choose.

Shopping for an ESCO

What is a fixed rate or fixed price plan?

These plans protect you from market price changes during the term of their agreement. Fixed rate electricity plans can give you peace of mind by locking in your supply rate for terms of serval months to several years.

What is renewable or green energy?

Renewable or green energy generation includes wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal, and other environmentally friendly sources. Some electric suppliers offer plans with renewable energy percentages exceeding New York minimum standards. The good news is that choosing green energy is not as expensive as it used to be.

Changing Electric Providers

What information do I need to have available during the enrollment process?

Your utility account number, service address, and other information are typically required to complete the ESCO enrollment process. Have a copy of a recent utility bill handy when shopping for competitive electric rates.

Will my service be interrupted by switching electric suppliers?

No. Switching from the utility to an ESCO or from one ESCO to another does not interrupt your service. You will keep your same meter and receive the same electricity delivery service from your utility without any gaps or interruptions.

What documents will I receive from the ESCO?

The ESCO is required to provide with a copy of the terms and conditions and the ESCO Consumer Bill of Rights. The terms and conditions describe the length of the agreement, renewal provisions, fees and other important provisions. If the ESCO guarantees savings compared to the utility rate, this must also be disclosed in writing in the terms and conditions.

What is the ESCO Consumer Bill of Rights document?

The ESCO Consumer Bill of Rights document explains customer protections mandated by the NY Public Service Commission.

Can I change my mind after enrolling with a new provider?

As a residential customer, you can cancel your enrollment within three business days without penalty. You can also return to your utility for electricity supply at any time. Check your ESCO’s terms of service for information on whether a cancellation fee will apply. Keep in mind that it could take several weeks to switch back to utility supply service depending on your meter reading date.

Electricity Provider Switching Process

How soon will I be switched to my new ESCO?

After enrolling with your ESCO, your electricity supply rate usually starts on your next meter reading date. Information about your meter reading date is shown on your electric utility bill.

Do I need to notify my current ESCO or utility that I am switching service?

No. They will be notified electronically once a switch request is received from your new ESCO. You may incur a cancellation fee if you end your agreement with your current ESCO before the end of the contract term.

What should I do if I receive a switch notice from my utility and I did not switch providers?

Fortunately, intentional slamming is not a common occurrence in the deregulated New York market. First, make sure that nobody else at your residence initiated a switch to the new ESCO (this actually happens a lot!). If you believe the switch is unauthorized, contact your utility immediately.

How do I know if my service has switched to the ESCO I chose?

When you receive your electric utility bill, check the generation or supply portion of the bill to verify the name of the ESCO.

Billing and Service

Who sends my electric bill?

As a residential customer, you will continue to receive your electric bill from your utility regardless of which ESCO you choose. The only difference is that the electricity generation rate on the bill will reflect the rate charged by the ESCO instead of the utility default supply rate.

Where do I direct my billing questions?

Your first contact for billing questions should be with the utility as they serve as the billing agent. If your question specifically on the electric generation portion of the bill, some ESCOs encourage you to call them directly. If a billing or service dispute cannot be resolved, you can contact the NY Department of Public Service’s complaint hotline at 800-342-3377.

What happens if I have an electrical outage or an electrical emergency?

You should call your utility to report outages or electrical emergencies such as downed power lines. Check your billing statement for the phone number.

What is a kilowatt-hour or kWh?

This is the billing unit for energy consumption. It represents 1000 watts used for a period of one hour.

What is the electric supply charge?

This is the charge from your ESCO for the electricity you used during the billing cycle in accordance with the terms of the plan in which you enrolled.

What if I cannot pay my electric bill or if I need additional time to pay my bill?

Contact your utility and advise them of your situation. You may be able to work out a payment plan or an extension with them.

What happens if I stay with my current electricity provider past my contract end date?

Consult the terms of service or plan documents provided by your ESCO. There are options for remaining with the ESCO on a new fixed price plan, continuing on month-to-month variable rate plan, or switching back to utility default supply service.

How do I find out when my current electric service agreement ends?

You can contact your ESCO to verify the date your plan ends. ESCOs are also required to notify you about a change in the supply rate when the end of the fixed rate plan is approaching.