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If a natural gas consumer chooses to buy natural gas from a marketer, the marketer purchases the natural gas (from other sources) and arranges for its delivery to the consumer's natural gas utility, sometimes referred to as a local distribution company (LDC). The LDC charges the consumer (their customer) to deliver the natural gas to the customer's home or business. State utility or public service commissions do not allow an LDC to earn a profit on the sale of the delivered natural gas. Sales of natural gas by marketers are unregulated, and marketers may earn a profit on the sale of natural gas.

Most natural gas customer choice programs began in the 1990s to promote more competition in local energy markets. Traditionally, LDCs provide natural gas to their customers as part of a bundled service that includes both the cost of the natural gas (sometimes called sales service) and the cost for distributing the natural gas to their customers. In customer choice programs, the volume and price of natural gas purchases may be listed on a customer's bill separately from distribution and other delivery-related services and costs.

The availability and characteristics of existing customer choice programs vary widely. Some states allow all natural gas customers to choose a natural gas supplier, while some limit choice to specific service areas or to a specific category or number of customers. Some states where customer choice is available may not have any or only a few participating marketers.

Many factors affect customer participation, such as the customer's potential to save money and the terms of service. In addition to month-to-month variable rates or fixed rates for longer terms, some marketers offer introductory rates, rebates, budget plans, or capped rates. The potential to earn a profit on natural gas sales influences marketer participation.

Natural gas is turning out to be one of the more popular petroleum fuels in the world right now. This is because when compared to gasoline, diesel, or kerosene, natural gas produces far less carbon dioxide and few other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide. This is part of the reason why the U.S. - one of the world's largest energy consumers - has shifted its energy production to natural gas in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while still exploiting the massive energy generation potential of petroleum products. In fact, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that natural gas was the second most widely fuel in the U.S., accounting for 32% of the energy consumption in 2021. While petroleum was still the largest, it was used mostly for transportation purposes, as natural gas was the dominant fuel of choice in residential, industrial, and commercial use cases. Within the electricity sector, natural gas also led the pack and accounted for 32% of the total usage, and overall, natural gas accounted for 36% of the U.S. primary energy production. Finally, U.S. natural gas production also outstripped usage in 2021.

The dominance of America in the global natural gas supply chain also grew in 2022 in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Europe, which had come to rely on Russian natural gas was in for a rough time as the Ukraine invasion saw its energy supplies disrupted and highlighted the need to drift away from Russian energy. This became a difficult task since Russia was the world's second largest natural gas producer in 2021, according to data from the BP Statistical Review. However, some progress is being made in this area, with the European Union having earmarked 210 billion euros to completely wean itself off of Russian fuels by 2030.

This plan requires shifting away to non-Russian sources, saving energy, and spending more on renewable energy sources at the same time. Where Russia loses, the U.S. wins and this Cold War adage is also true for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. The European search for substitutes has led to America's shores, with data fr


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