By Dan Allegretti
The writer is the national spokesperson for the Retail Energy Supply Association.
A recent guest commentary by the AARP recommended that the government take away the ability for consumers to subscribe for electric service from a provider of their choice.
The AARP would instead have one electric power company provide service, on terms set by state government, regardless of consumer preference. Why does the AARP sell the Maryland consumer so short?
Today, people make decisions about purchases of many things on a subscription basis. Examples include mobile phones, the internet, water, fuel oil, natural gas, data storage, cable television, streaming video, streaming music, newspapers, magazines and more. Does the AARP believe the state should make those purchasing decisions for everyone as well? Of course not.
People want to make their own buying decisions and we all know it.
In March 2020, the Retail Energy Supply Association commissioned Ragnar Research to conduct a national scientific poll on customer choice. Telephone interviews were done with 1,000 likely voters representing a diverse demographic. The polling results revealed that by a margin of 3 to 1 voters prefer to have a choice when purchasing goods or services and "strongly agree" consumers should be able to shop for energy supplies just like other goods.
When told that allowing customers to choose their energy supplier would increase the number of low-cost, green energy products, 70% of those polled said they would be more likely to support increasing the number of energy suppliers in the market.
If the AARP really wants consumers to make good choices when subscribing for energy maybe they should help to better inform their members about their choices, rather than seek to have those choices taken away altogether.