Understanding New York's deregulated energy market, the main utility companies, basic service rates, electricity suppliers, and ways to save money on your bills.
In most states, energy users don't have a choice where their electricity supply comes from—you simply pay your local utility for their basic electricity service and that's that. But New York is one of several states in the U.S. that has a deregulated energy market—meaning third-party competitive electricity suppliers can compete with utilities to provide electricity to local renters, homeowners and businesses. Deregulation gives New York residents the ability to choose from a variety of electricity suppliers and plan types that match your budget or energy preferences. This means you could find cheaper electricity supply rates than your current utility's basic service offering—or even switch to cleaner electricity (think: renewable sources instead of fossil fuels) at an affordable rate. You still get one bill from your utility, since they still deliver the electricity to you (they own the transmission lines and the box outside your home)—but the supply rate on your bill would reflect your third-party selection.
On average, New York has some of the highest electricity rates in the country. The average utility electricity supply rates in a given month over the last decade typically range between $0.16 to $0.20 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Most New York residents either receive their electricity from their local utility—who's required to provide a default basic service offering for New Yorkers who do not shop for electricity elsewhere—or your area could have a Community Choice Aggregation plan that you're opted into, or, lastly, it may be part of the New York Municipal Power Agency. If you are on your utility's default basic service receiving their basic service electricity supply rate, this rate will vary depending on both where you live in the state and the current demand for electricity, which fluctuates daily. New York's energy market is broken down into pricing zones, and your utility basic service supply rate is determined in part by the particular zone you live in.
Community solar allows you to enjoy the cost-saving benefits of solar power without installing rooftop panels. Local solar farms pump clean energy onto the overall electric grid; as a New York resident or business owner, you can subscribe to a farm and get credited for a share of the power it produces. These credits, enabled by government incentives, are received as a discount on your own electricity costs—like a reward for helping the environment.
New York has seven major utilities that provide electricity across the state. Six are investor-owned and one is a municipal utility, owned and operated by a local governing or state body. If you live in New York, one of these utilities may be responsible for providing you your electricity.Utility information last updated March, 2022
National grid is one of the largest energy companies in the Northeast. They serve more than 20 million energy users across New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Their main service areas include much of upstate New York and the western regions of New York where they provide electricity to nearly 1.6 million customers.
New York State Electric and Gas is an electric and gas utility company owned by Avangrid that serves customers in upstate New York. They have a massive service area, covering nearly 40% of upstate New York. NYSEG is owned by Avangrid, a large energy company that operates in 24 states in the U.S.
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation (Central Hudson) provides electricity to just over 300,000 customers located in the Mid-Hudon River Valley.
Rochester Gas & Electric provides electricity to 385,925 customers in nine-counties around the City of Rochester, New York. They also provide gas to 319,737 customers in this area. Like NYSEG, RG&E is affiliated with Avangrid.
Con Edison has been providing electricity and gas to New York since 1823. Today, they service roughly 10 million New Yorkers who live in New York City and Westchester County. Con Edison owns one of the largest energy systems in the world.
Orange and Rockland provides electrical services to roughly 300,000 households across six counties in New York and New Jersey. Their service area focuses on the northwestern suburbs of New York City.
Once called Long Island Power Authority, PSEG Long Island is a municipal utility that distributes electricity to all of Long Island and part of the Rockaways.
There are hundreds of electricity suppliers in New York, and they're referred to as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Each offers unique plans and rates from a variety of energy sources. New York's Power to Choose program allows you to shop for different electricity rates.
Formed in 1998, the New York Municipal Power Agency (NYMPA) is made up of 35 municipal agencies across New York State, including cities and towns as well as “Light Plants,” which are local electric company alternatives to the utility companies. Together, the members of the NYMPA handle both the supply and distribution of electricity to residents in each of its municipalities. If your city or town is an NYMPA member, you may be on their exclusive energy plan instead of one of New Yorks' big six utility companies. Check with your local government to confirm if your area uses NYMPA.
In certain cities and towns, residents don’t use one of the three main utility companies—and instead have a dedicated municipally-owned electric company, or Municipal Light Plant (MLP).
Under the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, some New York cities and counties may buy or generate electricity for residents and businesses within their communities. CCA gives governing bodies the option to purchase electricity through a shared purchasing model and distribute it to eligible residents in their municipalities. Aggregating demand for electricity gives these governing bodies more purchasing power to negotiate lower rates and also choose where they get their electricity supply and the quality of that supply.
In New York, 80 municipalities have adopted CCA programs (as of March 2022), enabling residents in those municipalities to potentially lower their energy costs and invest in cleaner energy sources, like solar, wind and hydro. While CCA programs are always voluntary, you may automatically be opted in, so you'll need to manually opt out if you want to choose a different energy supplier.
It's a common misconception that utility companies are handling every aspect of your electricity. In fact, third-party suppliers, as well as the part of the utility company responsible for default basic service, are both buying up electricity supply. Then the utility is the one delivering your electricity and billing you for it.
The biggest advantage of deregulation is that you can purchase electricity directly from the suppliers (the ESCOs) who may be offering more competitive electricity rates than the local utility’s basic service offering. And you have options now of how your personal electricity is generated. You can choose an ESCO that matches its energy source to 100% clean, renewable resources instead of environmentally harmful fossil fuel resources. But the process can be overwhelming and hard to navigate.
You need to shop the market: Supply rates go up and down and need your constant attention.
You need to become a contract expert: Suppliers may hike prices after an introductory period, or they put you on a variable rate.
You need to switch suppliers regularly: Waiting on hold. Hustling with customer service. You don't have time for that.
Perch handles all of that for you, automatically. We're always looking out for you, your wallet and the environment.
New Yorkers consume energy most prominently from natural gas, which is used in the residential and commercial sectors for things like building heating systems (HVACs), water heating, and cooking. A strong portion of New York's renewable energy consumption contributions come from hydropower (using moving water to generate electric power) and biomass (organic matter such as wood, crops, food waste and animal manure that is turned into fuel). Renewable sources such as wind and solar are categorized by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) as "Other Renewables" in the chart below—expect those to increase in coming years as more investment is put into solar farms and wind turbines.
As a renter or homeowner in New York, your cost of electricity is directly impacted by your individual and household energy usage. The first step to keeping your usage—and your bill—low is understanding what aspects of your home are using up the most power.
New York has been a leader in the country's clean energy revolution, using aggressive policy and innovative market structures to incentivize and drive the adoption of renewables throughout the state. Since deregulation in the 1990s, New York State has been working to create policies that make renewable energy more accessible to residents and commercial businesses. Additionally, the state has also taken initiatives to reduce electricity usage to help limit carbon emissions.
Other actions to lead New York towards a cleaner energy future include creating the state-sponsored NY Green Bank to make it easier to invest in renewable projects and setting climate goals like achieving 70% renewables by 2030 and cutting greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050.
New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) also recently became one of the country's most aggressive. The RPS includes policies that require electricity suppliers of a state to source a certain amount of their electricity from designated renewable resources. New York joined a handful of other states in requiring all retail electricity sales to be backed by 100% clean energy by 2040.
Historically, renewable energy has been more expensive than coal and gas generated electricity. But in recent years, this has begun to change. Thanks to incentives and advances in technology, solar, wind, and hydroelectric have seen massive drops in price, resulting in cheaper rates for residents. For example, in many markets, it is now cheaper to build a new solar farm and operate it than to operate an already existing coal plant. Energy experts expect this trend to continue.
What does this mean for energy users? Choosing clean energy is now no longer just the better choice for the environment, but in some instances, it also could be the better financial decision. Energy users in New York can take advantage of these cleaner options by opting to source their electricity from a third-party supplier, or Energy Service Company (ESCO).
Join Perch and get matched to a local community solar farm. Your “share” of the solar farm represents a portion of its energy generation, which is translated into solar credits that get applied directly to your utility bill reducing what you owe.
Perch will help you subscribe to a solar farm share in your area (subject to eligibility and availability).
While you won’t be receiving solar electricity directly to your home, you’ll be supporting the addition of more solar power to the overall energy mix on the grid—fighting climate change by lessening the reliance on dirty, harmful fossil fuels
You’ll receive a discount on your electricity bill in the form of credits—like a reward for supporting clean energy in your state!