As chances for a bill which would deregulate electric utilities in Iowa dim at the statehouse, Radio Iowa looks at one state which has already deregulated electric companies.Two years ago, Pennsylvania officials voted to give their residents the power to shop around for a new company to provide their electricity. Peter Fader of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school studies deregulation in his state, where about ten percent of customers have opted to change electric companies. That’s more than in other states which have deregulated. For example, in California just two percent of consumers have opted to change to another electricity provider. He says people aren’t motivated to make a choice as the money saved isn’t substantial. He says they’re taking the attitude that if it works, why mess with it. One provision in the bill being considered in the Iowa legislature allows consumers to band together to buy electric service as a group. That group purchase of electricity is called “aggregation” and Fader says it’s probably the only way rural Iowans will be able to get cheaper rates.Fader says few rural customers in Pennsylvania have opted to change electric providers, because there are fewer companies competing for their business.Fader says many of the customers who are changing electric providers are opting for a “green” company — one that uses alternative forms of energy like the wind rather than fossil fuels or nuclear plants to generate power.
You are here: / / Pennsylvania didn’t find dramatic changes with electric deregulation