Competitive retail electricity markets in the United States and Canada are thriving and evolving while providing an ever-widening range of innovative products and services, the findings of the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the U.S. (ABACCUS) show. While competition is providing added value for consumers through innovative product offerings, the annual assessment by the Distributed Energy Financial Group also found that average electricity prices are declining in states with successful retail markets.

Consumers in the dozen states with successful retail power markets are becoming more sophisticated, and energy suppliers are adopting increasingly innovative products and services to provide customer value, the ABACCUS report finds. Competitive providers are using telecommunications technology to give customers online and mobile access to their account information, which helps them better manage their usage and costs.

Other advancements enabled and accelerated by competition include building retrofits, on-site generation, pre-paid service, increasing product differentiation based on time of use and clean energy generation, advanced meters and data portals, and transmission investments to facilitate access to clean energy generation are among the innovative products and services the markets are enabling, the ABACCUS report finds.

The assessment also looks at regulatory developments and trends, finding that none of the states with workably competitive retail power markets is retreating from competitive reforms. Rather, many states are exploring avenues to further evolve their markets and boost competition while states that in past years retreated from competitive reforms in electricity, such as California and Michigan, are actively debating the limits they have placed on consumer choice.

“The annual ABACCUS assessment offers an important barometer of the success and benefits of competition in electricity, and this year’s findings are especially encouraging. The consumer benefits of competition in electricity are real and tangible, and they are becoming demonstrably more apparent with every passing day,” said COMPETE co-chairman and former U.S. Energy Secretary Federico Peña.