A new survey released by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA), indicates that Maryland residential electricity consumers favor policies that promote competition and choice of suppliers in Maryland's electricity market. The survey found 79 percent of respondents said they want a choice of electricity suppliers to give them more control over the price they pay for electricity versus allowing the state government to set prices through one supplier.

The benchmark survey was conducted among 450 randomly selected residential electricity decision makers from across the state of Maryland. Other key findings of the survey include:

  • More than 73 percent of respondents believe competition among electricity suppliers leads to better pricing for consumers.
  • Over 57 percent of residential customers state that the price consumers pay for electricity should be set based on market competition between suppliers, not by a government agency.
  • More than 74 percent of those surveyed said they would modify their behavior to take advantage of lower, off-peak rates if they were able to monitor their usage on a real time basis.
  • 65 percent of Maryland's residential consumers believe competitive electricity suppliers have a greater incentive to offer new, innovative products and services to residential customers.

"The results of this survey indicate that Maryland consumers understand that market competition is an efficient way to keep downward pressure on the cost of electricity service and to foster innovation, conservation and responsible business decisions by service providers and generators," said Richard Rathvon, president of RESA. "Competitive markets benefit customers by enabling them to modify their behaviors and reap economic and environmental rewards for smarter, more efficient, energy usage. This survey provides important data showing that Maryland customers want competition. In fact, 73 percent of those polled said they are most likely to support public policies that promote competition in Maryland's electricity market and consumer choice of suppliers," Rathvon added.

"RESA members support competitive markets which deliver a more efficient, customer-oriented outcome electricity market than regulated utility structures," said Rathvon. "We hope the PSC report and any forthcoming legislative actions, takes consumer opinion into consideration as they deliberate their actions. RESA will be reviewing the Public Service Commission report to the legislature and will provide comments to help ensure customer-driven solutions which foster innovative products and services, greater operational and energy efficiencies, and downward pressure on market prices."

The most recent survey data echoes the findings of an April 2007 survey of nearly 220 residential electricity decision-makers split evenly between service territories in Maryland (Western Maryland, Eastern Shore, Suburban Washington area, and Baltimore region). The April 2007 survey found that a majority (73 percent) of Maryland and BGE residential customers prefer having a choice of electricity providers versus having no choice.