Twenty-three states in the US have introduced some form of deregulation of their energy markets, but participation rates have varied from low single figures to percentages in the mid-30s. The biggest beneficiaries of the competitive market have been commercial and industrial customers í¯¿½ in New York, for example, 55% of C&I customers have switched supplier, while only 6% of residential customers have done so.
One of the criticisms of the deregulated market is that consumers have no easy way to compare costs or services. Another is that utilities offer short-term promotional rates to encourage consumers to switch, but when the promotion ends users find they are no better off than they were with their previous utility.
The choice of supplier has increased significantly in some states, however, with New York now boasting over 60 energy services companies, as opposed to only four before deregulation began in 1996.