AGA: Choice an Option In Most U.S. Homes
Nearly half of the U.S. households with natural gas service
already can or soon will be able to buy their fuel from a
competitive supplier, demonstrating how quickly competition is
growing in the natural gas industry, according to a study by the
American Gas Association.
In an updated report released last week, AGA noted that nearly
49%, or 26 million of the 54 million U.S. households with natural
gas service, could now or will soon be able to buy their natural
gas from a non-utility supplier. Customer choice has steadily grown
in the past four years, with customer choice offered to fewer than
two million customers nationwide before 1996, according to AGA.
The report, "Providing New Services to Residential Natural Gas
Customers: A Summary of Customer Choice Pilot Programs and
Initiatives," said that competition exists in 23 states and the
District of Columbia. About 20%, or nearly one in five households
with a choice option, already have switched suppliers, said the
AGA reports that more than 95% of large-volume natural gas
customers, including factories and electric power plants, may
select their own natural gas supplier. Also, nearly 70% of
commercial natural gas customers, such as hospitals and office
buildings, have a choice in suppliers.
New York, which offers a statewide customer choice program,
leads the country in the potential number of customers who may
choose their supplier, with 4.1 million customers and a potential
demand of 339.5 Bcf. California, which offers customer choice to
about 4.07 million customers, is second with a potential demand of
254.9 Bcf. Pennsylvania is third, offering choice to 2.49 million
customers and a demand of 217.9 Bcf, while New Jersey is fourth
with 2.25 million customers and 1.96 Bcf demand.
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