July 8, 2011 / 2:30 PM / 6 years ago

Retailers supply more than half of Illinois power

3 Min Read

NEW YORK, July 8 (Reuters) - More than half of the electric demand in Illinois now comes from competitive power suppliers, according to a report by state utility regulators.

At the end of 2010, 97,020 customers were buying power from competitive suppliers rather than the state's traditional utilities, Exelon's (EXC.N) Commonwealth Edison and Ameren's (AEE.N) Ameren Illinois utilities, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission's Office of Retail Market Development.

"The new statistics show that retail electric choice continues to thrive in Illinois with more than 58 percent of all electric load now served by competitive suppliers," Roy Boston, Illinois State Chair for the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA), said Thursday in a release.

Most customers who have switched electric suppliers were commercial and industrial businesses seeking to lower costs and better manage their power usage.

But in ComEd's territory, RESA said nearly 83,000 residential customers also switched suppliers as of late June.

There are 37 suppliers certified to sell power in Illinois - 18 in Ameren's territory and 24 in ComEd's territory, according to the state report and the RESA release.

In the mid 1990s, all U.S. states looked into opening their power markets to competition, but most decided not to pursue deregulation following the collapse of the restructured California energy market in 2000 and 2001.

In a deregulated state, consumers have the option to pick their power supplier. Today, there are about 15 deregulated states, plus the District of Columbia. Other states, like California, are slowly opening their markets to competition once again.

RESA represents retail electric suppliers including units of investor-owned energy companies Consolidated Edison (ED.N), Constellation Energy CEG.N, Centrica (CNA.L), Exelon, GDF SUEZ GSZ.PA, NRG Energy (NRG.N), Hess (HES.N), Integrys Energy TEG.N, Just Energy (JE.TO), DPL DPL.N, NextEra Energy (NEE.N) and PPL (PPL.N). (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jim Marshall)

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