Materials can be categorised into conductors , semiconductors or insulators by their ability to conduct electricity. It is a popular belief that insulators do not conduct electricity because their valence electrons are not free to wander throughout the material. In fact they are free to move around, however, in an insulator there are as many electrons as there are energy levels for them to occupy. If an electron swaps place with another electron no change is made since electrons are indistinguishable. There are higher energy levels, but to promote the electrons to these energy levels requires more energy than is usually practical.