At a time when New Yorkers are focused on energy costs, a new survey reveals that 42% of respondents have heard about energy deregulation "but don't know that much about it." Awareness about ESCOs (Energy Service Companies) who offer competitive and innovative pricing options in New York's deregulated markets is even lower.

The survey, conducted by FGI Research for Accent Energy, polled residents living in New York City and other areas of New York state. The survey was designed to assess the level of awareness about energy deregulation, the option to choose an energy provider other than the utility and the types of products and services consumers would value from an energy provider.

Highlights of the survey indicate:

  • 46% of residents living in New York City and 44% living in other parts of New York "know all about energy deregulation"
  • 38% of residents living in New York City and 46% living in other parts of New York "have heard about energy deregulation but don't know that much about it"
  • 21% of residents who are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current electricity supplier said they "definitely" or "probably" will switch to an ESCO within the next year
  • Before exposure to any information about innovative pricing solutions offered by ESCO's, 10% in New York City and 7% in the rest of the state say they "definitely" or "probably" will switch to an ESCO in the next year.
  • Among those who have heard of deregulation the most commonly used sources of information to learn about it included:
    -- An insert in their current electric bill
    -- Direct mail advertisement
    -- A TV news story

"More and more, consumers are looking for ways to better manage their energy costs," says Lance Schneier, chairman and CEO of Accent Energy, an ESCO. "The marketplace has changed significantly in the past few years. There are many more options. Our goal is to help educate consumers so they can make informed decisions about their energy choices. "

The majority of power plants that generate electricity are run on fossil fuels. To date in 2007, 47% of the nation's electric power was generated at coal-fired plants, 18% was generated at natural-gas fired plants, and 2% was generated at petroleum-fired plants. The market prices of these fuels fluctuate constantly based on supply and demand causing the price of electricity to fluctuate hourly. New Yorkers pay some of the highest prices in the country for electricity. Higher than average prices and the volatility of the market makes it difficult for consumers to budget energy costs.

"Since there are so many dynamics that impact what a consumer pays for electricity, there is a real need for education about what factors are within their control," says Dana Saucier, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Accent Energy. "The most significant action consumers can take to lower their energy costs is simply to consume less energy. Another is buying their energy from an ESCO who can offer pricing plans not available through a traditional utility. The real challenge is getting the information out to the public," adds Saucier.

"We all (ESCO's) face hurdles in this business, including a general lack of understanding among energy consumers as to what deregulation is and what it means to them," adds Schneier. "We are focused on offering innovative pricing and service options to our customers to give them real value for their energy dollar," he said. "Energy education and acting in the best interest of the consumer will continue to be our top priorities."