Electric utilities in the United States
Utilities provide the public with vital commodities or services such as power, natural gas and water. The number of electric utility companies operating in the United States is estimated at over 3,300, with around 200 of them providing power to the majority of users. The U.S. power grid connects about 2.5 million miles of feeder lines and over 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The consumers of utility companies can be segmented into industrial, commercial and residential users, the latter of which account for the bulk of retail electricity sales. U.S. residential electricity users bought some 1.41 petawatt hours worth of power in 2017.
Following its merger with Progress Energy, Duke Energy became the one of the largest U.S. energy companies in terms of market value* and was ranked second in the 2017 list of leading electric utilities in the United States. As is the case with 17th-ranked Wisconsin Energy, a utility’s name often indicates its main region of operation in a market which used to be highly regulated. Over the past decades, the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity has been deregulated in various states, including Texas, New York and California. The extent to which the local electricity market is regulated also determines the level of power rates paid by consumers. The structure and design of electricity tariffs may vary greatly throughout the country. While electricity prices in Hawaii and Connecticut are considerably higher than the national average retail price, customers in Louisiana and Idaho are asked to pay the lowest rates.