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    Pennsylvania saw a dramatic upheaval in its electricity industry this year, with utilities finally opening up to serious competition with alternative electricity provider. Christine Herzog of The Energy Collective notes that shift saw some shocking successes despite some ongoing difficulties.

    Herzog was first confronted with the new electricity deregulation policies when her mother, living in a Pennsylvania retirement community, asked her to look at a handful of fliers from electricity suppliers.

    She found a wealth of resources available, including the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's website, but also noted that the current options can make switching electricity providers difficult without access to the internet.

    Despite this, however, she noted that the state had seen a shocking number of people make that switch, with nearly one-quarter of residential customers using alternative electricity providers by the end of the year. This compares favorably to Texas' first year of deregulation, which saw only 14 percent participation. reports that businesses were even more likely to switch electricity providers than homeowners, with 33.6 percent of commercial customers and 71.2 percent of industrial customers leaving their utility companies.