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Electric Choice is a statewide initiative giving customers the option to choose the company that generates their electricity. These companies are referred to as Alternative Electric Suppliers. Providing electricity includes three separate activities: generation, transmission and distribution. Only the generation portion of your electric service is open to choice. Regardless of who supplies your electricity, Detroit Edison will continue to provide the services required to deliver power to your home or business.
Electric Choice is sometimes referred to as restructuring. Restructuring or deregulation refers to changes taking place in the electric utility industry as it transitions from a regulated monopoly to a more competitive market. It is the process of separating, or unbundling, electric service into its three basic components:
Generation (electric supply)
The production or purchase of electricity.
The movement of electricity over high-voltage power lines from the generation source to a local distribution system.
The delivery of electricity to individual customers.
In a restructured environment, customers will be able to shop for electric generation supply among competing Alternative Electric Suppliers or stay with their current electric utility under full service. Transmission and distribution functions will remain regulated. Detroit Edison will continue to be responsible for the delivery of electricity within its existing service territory.
In 1992, the U.S. Congress empowered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow wholesale electric customers the opportunity to purchase electricity on the open market. This led to a desire for similar access for all customers. Each state is addressing this issue individually.
In October 1997, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) ordered Michigan's electric utilities to develop plans to allow all customers to choose their own electric generation supplier. In June 1998, Detroit Edison filed its Electric Choice Plan with the MPSC. In September 1999, Detroit Edison began a phase-in of Electric Choice. On June 5, 2000, then Governor John Engler signed legislation enabling electric restructuring in Michigan. On January 1, 2002, Electric Choice became available to all Detroit Edison customers.
Electric Choice is intended to bring competition to the electric utility industry. The underlying theory is that competition can do a better job than government regulation in setting prices and promoting efficiency and innovation.
All Detroit Edison customers received a 5-percent rate reduction as a result of electric restructuring legislation.
- Alternative Electric Supplier (AES) - an entity that produces or purchases electric generation on the wholesale market for retail sale to end-use customers. An AES does not provide electric transmission and distribution services. In Michigan, an AES refers to a retail company that has been licensed to sell electricity by the MPSC.
- Aggregator - a person or group that consolidates customers into a buying group for the purpose of purchasing large amounts of electricity. Alternative Electric Suppliers, customers and brokers may act as aggregators.
- Utility - traditional electric utilities (e.g., Detroit Edison) that sell regulated electricity in exclusively defined areas, and are responsible for energy distribution in those defined areas.
- Customer - a residential, commercial or industrial end-user of electricity at one or more locations who has facilities connected to the utility's distribution system.
Yes. All customers have the option to choose the company that generates their electricity. However, customers must meet certain eligibility requirements i.e., a current account, and no special contracts. Otherwise, any Detroit Edison customer is eligible to choose an Alternative Electric Supplier. Note: Electric Choice is not available for unmetered service.
You will need to contact an Alternative Electric Supplier of your choice directly and make arrangements to enroll in Electric Choice. Upon your approval, your new supplier will submit an Electric Choice enrollment to Detroit Edison.
You can change you mind without penalty, up to the point you begin receiving service from an Alternative Electric Supplier.
There is a $5.00 switch fee to return to Detroit Edison Full Service. When you return, you may be subject to additional charges in accordance with the Retail Access Service Rider Section 5.3 Term, Commencement of Service and Return to Service.
Under electric restructuring legislation, any company that wants to sell retail electricity in Michigan must be licensed by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) before they can begin to provide service. The MPSC Web site contains a directory of Alternative Electric Suppliers that have been licensed by the MPSC. The Web site address is www.michigan.gov/mpsc.
An Alternative Electric Supplier can request your usage history, but only if they submit a Customer Information Release Form to the Detroit Edison Electric Choice Supplier Support Center indicating the specific account number(s) and meter number(s). The release form must be signed by the person who is responsible for the account. To protect you against slamming, no electronic signatures will be accepted.
Slamming is the unauthorized switching of your energy supply without your permission.
The Detroit Edison Electric Choice customer enrollment process incorporates a confirmation process to help reduce the likelihood of slamming. The electric restructuring legislation enacted in June 2000 made slamming illegal. The Michigan Public Service Commission has established penalties for companies that engage in this practice. For more information, go to the MPSC Web site. The Web site address is www.michigan.gov/mpsc and then locate MPSC Case Number U-12640.
Each Alternative Electric Supplier (AES) may offer you different programs and prices, so it is best to make comparisons. The more you understand your electric usage, the better prepared you'll be to make a wise energy decision. Consider the details of each program and ask questions such as:
- What price is being offered?
- Is the price fixed or variable?
- Is this price guaranteed, and if so, for how long?
- If you are offering a discounted rate, to what part of my bill does this discount apply?
- Do I have to sign a contract? If so, for what period of time?
- What other charges, if any, will appear on my bill?
- What services are included?
- Who will read my meter and send my bill?
- How do I contact the AES when I need assistance?
- Is a deposit required?
- Will I have to pay a fee to switch my electric supply from Detroit Edison to an AES?
- What guarantees does the AES offer for its products and services?
- Are there any penalties if I decide to switch from one AES to another?
- Where is the AES located?
- Does the AES have a local office or a local telephone number?
- What literature does the AES have that can be mailed to me?
- Does the AES have a Web site with more information?
You do not have to participate in Electric Choice or select an Alternative Electric Supplier. You can still buy electricity from Detroit Edison under rates regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Electric Choice is designed to provide customers with options - and one of those options is to do nothing.
Electric service is traditionally provided on a bundled basis, meaning the generation, transmission and distribution services are provided by an electric utility company on a total-cost basis. Bundled service is also known as "full service." By unbundling, the total cost for the traditional utility services are separated into individually priced components and itemized on customers' bills.