The Players in the DC Energy Market
Understanding how deregulation in the District of Columbia electricity market operates can be a challenging undertaking. To give you a better understanding of your energy choice options as a resident of Washington, D.C., we will discuss the following major players and their role in how you buy electricity for your home.
- PJM Interconnection
- District of Columbia Public Service Commission
- PEPCO (your utility company)
- Retail Electric Suppliers
The PJM Interconnection (PJM) is a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity for 61 million people in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. As an RTO, PJM is responsible for moving electricity over large interstate areas, while coordinating, controlling and monitoring an electricity transmission grid.
The District of Columbia Public Service Commission (DCPSC)
Established by Congress in 1913, the District of Columbia Public Service Commission is an independent agency responsible for regulating electricity, natural gas and local telephone utilities in DC. The mission of the commission is to serve the public by ensuring that electric, gas, and telecommunications companies provide high quality, safe and reliable services at a reasonable rate for the residents, businesses and government customers in the District of Columbia. In addition, the commission also publishes monthly updates on the prices offered by various electric suppliers and PEPCO to help consumers compare different supply prices and calculate savings.
Established in the 1920's, PEPCO is an investor-owned public utility supplying electricity to Washington DC and to surrounding communities in Maryland. PEPCO is the sole provider of distribution services within the District. When consumers choose to stay with PEPCO, known as the standard offer service, they are choosing a rate that is set twice a year, in November and June. Although customers have the choice to leave Pepco, the company still has over 80% combined market share between residential and business customers.
Retail Electric Supplier
In Washington DC, a retail electric supplier is also known as an alternate electric supplier or generator. Currently, there are over 150 electric suppliers licensed to supply power in Washington, D.C. (like Direct Energy!). Each supplier buys electricity in bulk through power plants and distribute it through PEPCO. This company can offer lower rates than PEPCO because they're able to buy electricity more frequently than PEPCO, who only purchases electricity twice a year.
Ultimately, the more you know about the companies and institutions in control of the energy market in Washington, D.C., the better off you are as a consumer. For more information, please view the following links: