The tricky part of this, however, is that there are only a few different entities that provide this type of service.

Let’s take a look at the various types of electrical utilities you can find in the United States moving into 2020.

3 Major Types of Electrical Utilities in the United States

There are over 3,000 companies, or utilities, that operate in the United States according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, also known as the EIA. These companies set the standard for electricity rates around the nation.

Who are they? And, how do you choose your provider among them?


Co-ops are utilities that operate with no intention for profit. They are mostly available in the Midwest and Southeast but can be found in 47 states. Each roughly averages a customer base of 24,000 with a total of 812 co-ops in existence.

Publicly Owned Utilities

POUs or Publicly Owned Utilities may not be the largest utility companies in the U.S. but they certainly account for millions of customers. There are at least 1,950 POUs in the country that provide utilities for approximately 12,000 customers each.

These types of companies are government entities and/or political subdivisions known as public utility districts. This means that residents that use the services will vote the operations into existence.

Investor-Owned Utilities

IOUs or Investor Owned Utilities are in fact the largest electric utilities in the U.S. The largest provider is PG&E, or Pacific Gas & Electric Company based out of California with almost 5.5 million customers alone. South California Edison Company is also based out of California with just over 5 million customers.

You’re most likely to find IOUs on the East and West Coast serving approximately 654,000 customers each. This equates to about to 75% of the nation receiving their energy from these corporations.

What Does This All Mean?

The ownership type of a utility company can affect changes in market conditions, especially due to mergers, and changing jurisdictions. This ultimately affects how much you’ll pay for your electricity so pay close attention to their ethics in business operations.

Choosing Your Electric Utility Company

Choosing the type of company or corporation to handle your electrical utilities doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. There are options! Just make sure you do your research before making your decision.

Remember, electric companies want your business. This means you have an advantage when making your selection. Get the best rates and higher quality service when you know more about each type of utility company.

And, don’t be fooled by specials to lure you into any type of contract—if you think it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Did you find this article helpful? Then be sure to explore the rest of our content to learn other great tips!