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    With a successful year for Pennsylvania electricity providers, the state could become the new focal point of the debate over electricity deregulation, according to GreentechMedia.

    For most of the past decade, Texas has been the poster child for deregulation and competition in electricity prices. According to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, more than 56 percent of all customers, including more than 55 percent of residents and 65 percent of businesses, had chosen to switch electricity providers as of June.

    However, through late November of this year more than 1.4 million Pennsylvanians have chosen to make that change, including 85 percent of the state's businesses.

    "Shopping is increasing through 2011 and we believe it will continue to grow," Nick Fernandez, director of POLR at Pennsylvania electricity supplier First Energy, told GreentechMedia.

    The state removed the last utility company rate caps at the end of 2010 and a commission looking into the reforms could suggest further changes in coming months. Already, though, the state plans to seek a 4.5 percent reduction in the peak electricity demand, which could encourage companies to create innovative new offers to control usage.

    Still, reports that Metropolitan Edison and UGI, the two utilities with the lowest participation rates, have only 5.4 percent and 0.8 percent receiving power from alternate electricity providers, illustrating continued reticence in some regions.