Retail Electric Competition
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


What does Electric Competition mean to me?

In the past, your electric utility operated as a monopoly. It both generated and delivered energy to you. In this new era, these combined services will be split into at least 2 parts - generation and delivery. The generation portion of your service will be open to competition. In addition to generation, some Electric Service Providers (ESPs) may also offer added services on a competitive basis, such as metering of your power consumption or billing for electric services. Now you will be able to shop among the new Electric Service Providers for the best rates and services. This change in the market is expected to bring about new products and services and also to give you better value for your energy dollar.

Can anyone sign up with an ESP?

Currently a small percentage of residential customers are eligible to choose an ESP. By January 1, 2001, all residential customers will be eligible. Contact your current utility company for more information about eligibility.

Where can I get a list of ESPs?

You can get a list of approved (certificated) ESPs from our website ( or by calling the Commission at (602) 542-4251 or toll free at 1-800-222-7000.

Should I switch companies?

You are not required to switch companies. Electric Competition was designed to give you energy options. Individual customers may have different preferences; for example, one person may be looking for lower rates, while another may want to choose a provider based on environmental concerns. In a competitive market, you have the ability to shop for services that will best suit your needs.

What if I don't want to change anything?

You don't have to change. Existing utilities are required by the Commission to continue to provide "Standard Offer Service," which is the same electric service that you have received from your electric company in the past.

How can I compare costs and services?

In the new competitive market, a separate itemized statement in your bill will show the different components of electricity costs and will specify the services open to competition. You can call any ESP and ask them what they charge for the same services. They may also offer additional or different services. Then you can compare the rates and services of the ESP to what you currently have. A checklist is included at the end of this brochure that lists important questions to ask ESPs when comparing costs and services. The more information you have, the easier it will be to choose.

Will my bill go down?

If you choose an ESP that charges less for energy generation, you may have a lower electric bill. However, a variety of factors will affect your bill. Our checklist sets forth the significant ones.

Will it cost me anything to change providers?

There may be a charge for switching. Ask ESPs about this before you switch providers. If you signed a contract, there may be termination charges associated with the change.

How do I go about changing my Esp?

A written authorization is required to initiate any change of your Electric Service Provider. All ESPs will allow you three business days to rescind your authorization in case you change your mind. Specific ESPs may require additional steps to initiate service.

What if I have environmental concerns about my power generation?

All providers of generation services are required to disclose, upon request, the fuels they use to generate power and the resulting pollutants. You can use this information to assess a company's environmental impact.

Who should I call if the power goes out?

Distribution will continue to be offered by your existing utility, also called a utility distribution company (UDC). In case of an outage, you should call your UDC, regardless of who generates your power. Your UDC will continue to maintain the poles and wires that bring electricity to your home.

How will another company know how much to bill me?

Your UDC and any ESPs you choose to provide services to you will share information regarding readings of your meter. Your bill will always be calculated based on a reading from your meter.

What happens to the electric lines to my house if I change ESPs?

Nothing. Electric power will be delivered on the same power lines that service your house now.

What protection do I have from being "slammed," or switched without my permission?

The Commission is committed to ensuring Arizona consumers are protected from scams and unfair business practices, including unauthorized switching of providers. Therefore, ESPs will require written authorization from you to initiate any change in service. If you do get switched without your prior approval, call the ESP immediately. The Commission requires the ESP to return you to your previous service and to pay for any switching costs. The ESP is also required to refund the entire amount of your generation related charges from them for three months or the period of unauthorized service, whichever is greater.

Who can I talk to if I have questions about my bill?

You should try to get answers or resolve issues with your provider(s) directly. Call the phone number given on your bill. If you are unable to resolve an issue call the Commission for assistance.



Consumer Checklist

Following is a list of questions or points you may wish to consider in selecting your Electric Service Provider(s) (ESPs)


About the ESPs

  • Verify that the ESP is eligible to sell you energy by contacting the Commission.


Prices and Services

  • Will the price per kilowatt-hour remain the same, or will it vary from month to month?
  • Does the price include taxes?
  • Are there any discounts or bonuses?
  • Are other plans available?
  • Are there additional charges for necessary services such as billing, metering, and transmission?


Terms and Conditions

  • How long is the agreement?
  • Are there any penalties for breaking the agreement?
  • Are there additional fees?
  • Is a deposit required?
  • Be sure to ask your provider for literature so you can have the rates and terms in writing.


Customer Service

  • What are the office hours?
  • What is the complaint handling process?
  • Are there toll free numbers?

Energy Options

  • Are there choices about where or how the power is produced?
  • Are you interested in choosing environmentally friendly generation sources such as solar, wind, or hydropower?
  • Are you a member of a group that wants to purchase energy together to increase buying power?

Billing and Payment Options

  • How many bills will you receive?
  • Are there payment plans?