A three-building office campus in southern California reaches out to Alternative Utility Services for assistance in joining the direct access program.
Electric deregulation (retail choice) is active in 13 states including the District of Columbia. California initially started down the path of full access (complete electric deregulation) for all customer rate classes, but after periods of energy choice in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the model is now strictly limited.
A combination of 1) electric generator’s manipulation of the wholesale market and 2) the method that regulators used to set up the deregulated market eventually forced a financial collapse of the utilities.
The California legislature suspended electric choice, or direct access, in 2001 after the state suffered an energy crisis. Customers that did get on to 3rd party supplier contracts were allowed to not only complete their energy supply contracts, but remain on direct access as long as they continued to remain on 3rd party supply.
Direct access under the current rules created and enforced by the California Public Utilities Commission (CA PUC) and the California Division of Ratepayer Advocates remains limited, whereby very few customers have the opportunity to use a third party supplier.