In states and markets with deregulated energy — like most of Texas, as well as some of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and a handful of other states — homes and businesses can “shop around” and select the retailer energy provider (REP) of their choice.

Energy consumers in deregulated energy markets have the power to switch to another energy provider if they’re unhappy with their current one — the biggest selling point of deregulation.  Like in any other industry, competition naturally encourages companies to offer better prices, plans, and overall experience to attract and retain consumers.

Deregulated Energy Markets in July 2024

Deregulated Energy States

State Gas Year Electric Year Comments
Alabama No N/A No N/A No Comments
Alaska No N/A No N/A No Comments
Arizona No N/A No N/A In 2004 energy regulation was placed on hold due to various regulatory orders.
Arkansas No N/A No N/A In 2003 Bill 1114 was signed to reverse energy deregulation laws.
California Yes 1995 Yes* N/A *California’s electric choice works on a very limited lottery system called DirectAcccess.
Colorado Yes 1999 No N/A Colorado is Natural Gas Deregulated, however no utilities currently offer choice programs.
Connecticut Yes* 1996 Yes 1998 *Gas choice is partial and very limited.
Delaware No* N/A Yes 1999 *Gas choice was trialed and discontinued.
Florida Yes 2002 No N/A No Comments
Georgia Yes 1998 No N/A No Comments
Hawaii No N/A No N/A No Comments
Idaho No N/A No N/A No Comments
Illinois Yes 2002 Yes 1997 Approximately 75% of the state of Illinois is eligible for Natural Gas Choice.
Indiana Yes 1998 No N/A Natural Gas Choice is only available for NIPSCO customers.
Iowa Yes* 1997 No N/A *Natural Gas Choice is only available to a small number of consumers.
Kansas No N/A No N/A No Comments
Kentucky Yes 2000 No N/A No Comments
Louisiana No N/A No N/A No Comments
Maine Yes* 1998 Yes 2000 *Natural Gas Choice underwent more of a ‘restructuring’ process. It is only available to Industrial and Commercial consumers.
Maryland Yes* 1995 Yes 1999 *Some residential, commercial and industrial customers in some areas of Maryland are not eligible for Natural Gas Choice.
Massachusetts Yes 1998 Yes 1998 No Comments
Michigan Yes 2008 Yes 1998 No Comments
Minnesota No N/A No N/A No Comments
Mississippi No N/A No N/A No Comments
Missouri No N/A No N/A No Comments
Montana Yes 1986 No N/A No Comments
Nebraska Yes 1998 No N/A No Comments
Nevada No N/A No N/A Nevada is currently campaigning to adopt energy deregulation. The status of this state could change in the near future.
New Hampshire Yes* 1998 Yes 1998 *New Hampshire does not offer Natural Gas Choice to residential customers at this time.
New Jersey Yes 1999 Yes 1999 No Comments
New Mexico Yes 1980s No N/A Natural Gas Choice is available however, participation is very limited.
New York Yes 1999 Yes 1997 No Comments
North Carolina No N/A No N/A No Comments
North Dakota No N/A No N/A No Comments
Ohio Yes 1997 Yes 1996 No Comments
Oklahoma No N/A No N/A In 2001 Senate Bill 440 was signed for further investigation and study of the impacts of energy deregulation.
Oregon No N/A Yes 1997 No Comments
Pennsylvania Yes 1999 Yes 1996 No Comments
Rhode Island Yes 1996 Yes 1996 No Comments
South Carolina No N/A No N/A No Comments
South Dakota Yes 2005 No N/A No Comments
Tennessee No N/A No N/A No Comments
Texas Yes* N/A Yes 2002 Electricity deregulation is available to 85% of Texans.  *Gas choice is available to commercial customers who consumer 3,650 MCF/annually.
Utah No N/A No N/A No Comments
Vermont No N/A No N/A No Comments
Virginia Yes 2001 Yes 2007 Both Natural Gas and Electric Choice programs are limited for residential consumers.
Washington No N/A No N/A No Comments
Washington DC Yes 1999 Yes 2001 No Comments
West Virginia Yes 2010 No N/A Natural Gas Choice is available but participation is very limited.
Wisconsin No* N/A No N/A *Wisconsin’s Natural Gas Choice program was discontinued in 2001.
Wyoming Yes* 1996 No N/A *Very limited program, only one utility offers a choice program.

As the map and table indicate, many homes and businesses in the US are still operating within regulated energy markets.  In regulated markets there is no competition — you pay your local utility directly for the electric/gas they provide you, whatever that (high) cost may be.

Deregulated Natural Gas Markets

As of March 2024, nearly half of US states have introduced some degree of energy deregulation and retail energy choice to homes and businesses within their borders.

Approximately two dozen states — states like Georgia, Massachusetts,  and Illinois — operate a deregulated natural gas market.  As is the case with electricity, deregulated natural gas markets are where the buying/selling of natural gas is not monopolized and  controlled by a single utility.  Instead, suppliers are allowed to enter the market to create competition and and hopefully lower the cost of natural gas rates for homes and businesses in that area.

Last updated April 2024