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    All over the U.S., utilities are pairing up with retailers such as Best Buy to sell energy directly to consumers to stay competitive with the dozens of retail electric providers that have appeared in several states in recent years, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    According to the news source, utilities are hoping to put to use the excellent customer service these retailers provide, as well as the existing trust their customers have in the businesses. In turn, the retailers understand the potential for energy-conscious shoppers, who are interested in switching providers to receive lower electricity rates.

    The move comes as the utilities are forced to go up against retail providers in deregulated states, and could revolutionize the way energy is purchased.

    "The better job we do to present a range of energy solutions beyond just providing power, we become a lot more valuable to that consumer," said Jason Few, president of Reliant, the Houston-based arm of power provider NRG Energy Inc.

    Retail electric providers offer several incentives that are expected to further increase competition, resulting in lower electricity rates and better customer service.