Deregulation creates choice. Customers in the electric and natural gas markets now have the ability to choose the supplier of natural gas and electricity for their business. Prior to deregulation you only had one choice and no competition. The monopoly on energy made for poor service and high cost.
Following deregulation of the airline and telephone industries, the focus moved to natural gas and electric utilities. Consumers are now able to choose who supplies their natural gas and/or electricity. The utility delivers the energy regardless of who supplies the natural gas or electricity through their distribution system. Additionally, the utility is still responsible for maintenance of the distribution system, billing, meter reading and responding to outages.
Since deregulation came to the energy industry over 10 years ago, almost half of the states have passed major legislation and regulations to restructure their electric power, natural gas, or both.
When energy is deregulated, that means customers have more choices. If you're not getting high-quality service from your local utility company, you are able to switch to a provider that can likely provide you a better quality of service for a lower rate.
It's not impossible to switch even if you've been living at your house for 50 years. Your electricity will simply be delivered through the existing infrastructure that your local utility company provides.