For more than 10 years, residents in New Hampshire have been free to shop around for an energy provider that offers the best electricity rates and switch away from their municipal or state utility.

However, it is only recently that residential customers have taken full advantage of this offer – a trend that is expected to pick up as the benefits of energy deregulation continue to spread, the Union Leader reports.

Originally, retail energy providers went after large industrial customers and encouraged them to switch by offering incentives and other financial rewards. But in recent years, a growing number of independent electricity suppliers have turned to the residential energy market, which has been helpful to customers throughout the state.

Doris Robinson recently switched away from Public Service of New Hampshire, the state's largest utility, in favor of ENH Power's electricity rates.

"Even $5 is a help. That’s the way I look at it," she said. "So I’m very happy I made the change."

New Hampshire is one of several states that have developed energy deregulation laws, fostering a competitive energy market that can drive down rates.