Managing the costs of energy can be a major stressor for any company. For small businesses, utilities are the third biggest expense they face, only behind rent and payroll. It’s essential to know your options when it comes to energy providers in your state to make informed energy decisions based on your company’s unique needs, budget, and sustainability goals. Whether your goal is lowering bills or reducing your carbon footprint, this guide provides you with the tools to negotiate the best energy plan for your business.
Regulated vs. Deregulated Energy States
The American energy industry is broken into two types of markets: Regulated and Deregulated. In regulated markets, government agencies or public utilities commissions set the prices, terms, and conditions for energy services, resulting in less control over energy providers and plans. In deregulated markets, also known as competitive markets, consumers can choose their energy providers, fostering competition and leading to lower prices.
Regulated markets benefit from stability and consumer protection, however it limits consumer choices and control, potentially resulting in higher energy expenses. Deregulated markets benefit from flexibility and competitive rates, however consumers can be challenged by a more complicated market and may not know how to make the right energy decisions for their business. Integrity Energy acts as your partner in deregulated energy markets, helping you navigate these complexities and the energy options available, ensuring you find the best plan tailored to your business’s needs.
State-by-State Energy Provider Comparison
In order to optimize your energy strategy, it’s essential to compare what options are available in your area. Our state-by-state provider comparison offers an important glimpse into the diverse array of choices available, allowing you to tailor your energy plan to your needs and goals. When evaluating your choices, factors like pricing, reliability, customer service ratings, and the availability of renewable energy options play a crucial role in shaping your decision. Businesses can also pair their energy plans with federal energy efficiency programs and tax incentives for additional cost savings. Each of the states and energy providers below are part of the extensive Integrity Energy network, ensuring a wealth of choices and expert support for your energy plan journey.
Connecticut is the fourth most densely populated state in the nation and has the third-smallest land area. This state does not have any fossil fuel reserves, so it relies heavily on the national grid for power. That being said, Connecticut does generate renewable energy. Due to the Connecticut River, this state has used hydropower resources since colonial times. Beyond hydropower, Connecticut also produces solar and biomass energy.
For business owners who would like to take advantage of renewable energy, this state has several renewable energy programs available through the New Clean Energy Program as well as financial incentives and rebates available to fund energy conservation efforts through the EnergizeCT organization.
Illinois is the fifth largest energy-producing and energy-consuming state in the nation. This state often produces a surplus of energy, typically sharing 20% of their electricity with the regional grid. Illinois produces more nuclear energy than any other state, accounting for roughly 13% of the nation’s total nuclear energy production. While most of Illinois’ energy consumption is non-renewable, they are also a major generator of wind energy due to the strong, consistent winds from Lake Michigan.
For businesses seeking to harness some of Illinois’ wind energy, there are ample renewable energy programs available through the Illinois Power Agency. Additionally, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has gathered financial incentives and rebates available, ranging from renewable energy implementation to efficiency upgrades.
Massachusetts is a leader in sustainability efforts. They have a goal of achieving Net Zero Greenhouse Gases by 2050, and with renewable energy making up 20% of in-state generation in 2022, they are making great progress. Since 2017, there has been no utility-scale coal-fired electricity generation, and oil is only used to meet peak demand in winter. Massachusetts relies on natural gas as a transitional energy source as they pursue their sustainability goals.
Businesses have a wide variety of renewable energy sources to choose from in Massachusetts including solar, biomass, hydropower, and wind power. Businesses interested in sustainability can find renewable energy programs through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) including a variety of financial incentives, grants, and rebates.
Maryland is a small but mighty state that consumes five times more energy than it generates. This state does not have any recoverable oil reserves or petroleum refineries. They also banned fracking practices in 2017, so this state relies heavily on the regional grid to meet power demand. Maryland does, however, produce nuclear power and a diverse array of renewable energy. Despite its small size, Maryland has the ability to produce hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass energy due to its varied natural resources.
For residents of Maryland who would like to prioritize renewable energy sources in their business energy plan, there are two main programs: MD-PACE and EmPower Maryland. Funding for energy efficiency and sustainability projects are available through Maryland’s Energy Administration and the Commercial Clean Energy Rebate Program (C-CERP.)
The Great Lakes State has crude oil and natural gas reserves in the Lower Peninsula. They are also a substantial supplier of wind energy due to the consistent, strong winds from the surrounding Great Lakes. Michigan consumes almost four times more energy than it produces, relying on the regional grid to meet power demand. Michigan has a varied renewable energy portfolio, producing significant wind energy as well as biomass, hydropower, and solar energy due to its proximity to the Great Lakes, riverways, and large forests.
In order to take advantage of renewable energy sources in Michigan, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) offers the Clean Energy in Michigan initiative and community solar programs. For support in your energy conservation and sustainability efforts, Michigan Saves and the EGLE have a variety of financial support and incentives available.
Nuclear power is the main energy source generated within New Hampshire‘s largest source of power comes from nuclear energy, often producing a surplus that’s shared with the regional grid. New Hampshire also produces a significant amount of hydroelectric power from the Connecticut River and is a leading producer of biomass energy. This state does not have any crude oil or natural gas reserves, relying on the regional grid to meet gas demand.
For businesses interested in sustainability, Clean Energy NH offers a renewable energy program. New Hampshire also offers grants and rebates to support the adoption of renewable energy through the NH Renewable Energy Fund as well as four commercial programs through the New Hampshire Department of Energy (NH DOE.)
Due to its central location on the East Coast, New Jersey is much more of an energy distribution hub rather than a generating state. There are no fossil fuel reserves in this state, so the state relies on the regional grid to meet energy demand. Despite the lack of non-renewable resources, the Garden State does produce some renewable energy through solar power and biomass. The state also uses hydroelectric power to meet peak winter demand.
Business owners can take advantage of free benchmarking and energy audits through the state’s Clean Energy Program. Additionally, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection offers a variety of financial resources to support renewable energy adoption and other efficiency upgrades.
New York is the third most populous state in the country, however almost 90% of it is considered rural. Due to extensive natural resources from the Niagara River to the agricultural land of the Adirondacks, New York is at the forefront of renewable energy production. Hydropower is their largest renewable energy source, but they also generate considerable amounts of wind, solar, and biomass energy across the state.
In order to take advantage of New York’s renewable energy, business owners should review the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), who provide resources, education, and benchmarking for renewable energy and efficiency objectives. Furthermore, the NYSERDA and NY Power Authority offer financial incentives, rebates, and grants for businesses pursuing renewable energy initiatives.
Ohio is the 7th largest electricity-generating state and the 4th biggest energy-consumer. This state is the largest oil-producer east of the Mississippi and one of the top 10 natural gas producers in the country. Their natural gas production often surpasses demand, sharing the surplus between the interstate pipelines and storage reserves to meet peak demand in winter. While Ohio primarily produces nonrenewable energy, 4% of in-state generated energy is renewable from wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower.
To opt-in to renewable energy in Ohio, review the resources, education, and Green Achievement Awards provided by Green Energy Ohio. The Ohio Department of Development has a robust energy efficiency program that helps connect businesses with energy auditors to implement efficiency upgrades as well. Furthermore, businesses can find financial support for energy conservation endeavors through the Department of Development’s Energy Loan Fund or OH Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program.
Pennsylvania is the third largest electricity producer in the nation due to its abundant fossil fuel reserves. This state is a leading supplier of coal, refined petroleum, and natural gas. The Marcellus Shale, the third largest natural gas reserve in the world, is located under Pennsylvania’s surface, allowing the state to produce a surplus of natural gas energy to share with interstate pipelines. While renewable energy production is limited, 4% of in-state electricity was generated from wind, hydroelectric power, biomass, and solar.
The Alternate Energy Investment Act of 2008 provides grants and loans to businesses implementing clean and alternative energy projects. Additionally, businesses can find financial support through their Department of Environmental Protection’s efficiency initiatives or the PA Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing program.
The largest energy-producer and energy-consumer in the United States is Texas, providing 25% of the country’s energy production. Texas benefits from abundant oil and gas fields as well as coal reserves. Beyond fossil fuels, Texas is also the top producer of wind energy as well as a leading generator of solar power. The Texas landscape also has geothermal energy resources and uranium mines for nuclear energy production. Due to its massive energy market, Texas is not connected to the national power grid. Instead, Texas relies on an individual grid operated by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT.)
There are a wide variety of renewable energy programs and initiatives available in Texas. Business owners can find programs, resources, and energy codes through the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO.) Texas is dedicated to renewable energy and sustainability efforts, providing financial incentives and rebates through the Public Utility Commision of Texas’ energy fund, ERCOT’s renewable energy credit program, and the SECO LoanSTAR Revolving Loan Program.
Benefits of Comparing Business Energy Costs
Once you understand your state’s average electricity rates, you’ll be in a better position to assess your current energy plan and whether a lower rate might be available. Comparing business energy costs opens the door to substantial cost-saving opportunities, allowing you to reduce operational expenses. Furthermore, it informs your company’s budgeting and financial planning by providing a clearer picture of energy expenditures. These insights will help you allocate resources more efficiently and foster energy-saving practices. Beyond the financial benefits, comparing energy costs also promotes sustainability and environmental conservation. This knowledge empowers businesses to make informed decisions that reduce their carbon footprint, demonstrating a commitment to a cleaner, greener future.
In the landscape of deregulated energy markets, the power to choose the right energy provider for your business is a transformative advantage. For a more in-depth discussion about comparing business energy costs, Integrity Energy is here to help! As one of the largest energy brokers in the country, our representatives are dedicated to helping you find cost-effective energy plans that meet your business’s unique needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average commercial electricity rate for businesses in the United States?
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average commercial electricity rate is 13.27¢ per kWh and the average commercial natural gas rate is $10.87 per thousand cubic feet as of August 2023. Commercial rates are prone to fluctuations. They vary depending on the state you live in and whether the energy market is regulated or not.
How do regulated and deregulated energy markets affect energy prices?
Regulated energy markets have government-set prices, resulting in less price variability but fewer cost-saving opportunities. Deregulated markets foster competition which can lead to more price fluctuations but offers the power to choose suppliers, often resulting in lower utility costs.
How can businesses find and compare energy providers by state?
Businesses can find and compare energy providers through online resources or by contacting one of Integrity Energy‘s consultants who specialize in cost-effective energy solutions.
Are there any tax incentives or rebates available for businesses that use renewable energy?
There are a number of federal renewable energy programs, rebates, and tax incentives available. Additionally, businesses can find incentives specific to their state through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).
Can businesses switch energy providers easily in deregulated energy states?
Yes, businesses can switch energy providers relatively easily in deregulated energy markets. This allows them to take advantage of competitive pricing and service options.
What are the potential risks of switching energy providers?
Potential risks of include contract termination fees, transitional service issues, and the need for thorough evaluation to ensure the new provider meets your needs.
For additional answers to your energy industry questions, please refer to our General FAQ page.