Companies in this industry own and operate high-voltage transmission lines and retail distribution systems, as well as intermediaries like energy dealers and brokers. Major companies include American Electric Power, Exelon, and NextEra Energy (all based in the US); Southern Power and State Power Grid (both headquartered in China); EON (Germany); SSE (Scotland); Tokyo Electric Power (Japan); and Federal Grid (Russia).
While deregulation has altered power markets in many nations, electric utilities often continue to operate as unofficial monopolies in a given service territory. Demand for electricity is driven by industrial and commercial activity and by population growth. The profitability of individual companies depends on government regulations and the efficiency of their operations. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing power; small companies can compete effectively by specializing in geographic regions. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 80% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
The primary operations of retail electricity distributors include acquiring wholesale power (often under long-term supply contracts), maintaining and extending a line network, and billing and collections.