Since the 1930s, the energy market was regulated in a way that only utilities could deliver and supply energy. To control the cost for consumers, the government placed a rate cap on the utility's energy prices. While this controls the cost, the consumer is left with no choice in energy rates or plans. However, in the past few years, state governments have begun to pass legislation that would deregulate the electric utility market - separating the supply and delivery portions of energy service.
Various states have addressed the deregulation of utilities differently. Some states are deregulated across all energy types while some have partial deregulation such as only one commodity or for certain customers. Majority of the states haven't done anything yet or are still contemplating energy deregulation.
As of 2018, 18 states and D.C. had electric-power retail markets that permitted at least some consumers to purchase electricity from competitive retail suppliers. Most of the states (11 of 18) that allowed competitive retail markets were located in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
How Does It Work?
Currently in a regulated electric market, investor-owned utilities (IOU) control the power plants that generate electricity as well as all of the transmission and distribution equipment that is used to distribute electricity to homes and businesses. The consumer will then contact their local utility provider to set up electricity. In regulated states, utilities must abide by electricity rates set by state public utility commissions.
However, in a deregulated electric market, those investor-owned utilities (IOU) are forced to divest their ownership in generation and transmission. The IOU will still handle billing and distribution, but the supply of power can come from other providers. Each independent providers sets their own rates.
On April 18, FAC filed an Amicus Brief (alongside the Florida League of Cities, Florida Sheriffs Association, and the Florida Police Benevolent Association) arguing that the ballot summary is not only misleading to voters but violates the single subject rule. As currently drafted, the ballot summary fails to contain or explain the most basic material provisions – who will own generation, transmission, and distribution facilities after they are forcibly taken from investor-owned utilities (IOU). Of importance to counties, the summary gives the false impression that local governments will be protected. Just because counties will be able to “opt out” does not mean that they won’t be impacted by "Energy Choice" if passed. Not only will they be affected fiscally, their home rule powers will be diminished, and their operations will be drastically uprooted.
In addition, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Power & Light, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody as well as the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate have filed similar briefs or addressed similar concerns.