Energy and business writer for Forbes.com, James Conca, has a reputation for carefully and with appropriate detail covering U.S. energy issues. His December 17th piece Pipeline And Nuclear Shortages Send New England’s Utility Bills Soaring is among his strongest.
Accompanying his piece is this graphic that depicts natural gas pipeline infrastructure across the county. Those who understand the basic laws of supply and demand can easily understand how parts of New England are so far behind other parts of the U.S. (in terms of the availability of nat gas) and why electric utilities here are so susceptible to fluctuations in the energy market.
Consumers interested in saving on their electric bill often see competitive supply companies as a good alternative to the utility default or stand offer. Due to sophisticated buying practices, and being able to look over longer periods of time ,like 12 or 24 months (many utilities look at pricing only for 6 months at a time), consumers benefit from shopping the market.
Since many electric utilities are owned by large national or multi-national companies, using an electricity supply company also enables consumers to shop locally with a businesses in their own state or region. Doing so has the added benefit of supporting local jobs and community.