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Learn About Competitive Electricity Supply
Understanding Your Electricity Bill
What you pay for electricity can be split between two main components of your monthly utility bill: delivery charges and supply charges. The delivery costs listed on your bill compensate the local utility company, Eversource, for delivering electricity to your home or business. The supply cost listed on your bill as “Supplier Services” is the cost that your supplier charges for generating the electricity you use.
While your delivery costs will always be paid to the local utility company, did you know that you can choose your own competitive electricity supplier? As part of the 1997 Restructuring Act, utility companies in Massachusetts such as Eversource are only responsible for delivering but not generating the electricity you use. As a result, if you do not contract with a competitive supplier of electricity on your own, you are provided supplier services under Eversource’s Basic Service rates that it negotiates on behalf of its customers.
SHOPPING FOR ELECTRICITY SUPPLY
Negotiating a contract with a competitive electricity supplier can help you save on your Supplier Services cost, give you options to support local renewable energy development through renewable energy credits (RECs), as well as provide more greater control of utility rates.
The Electric Power Division of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) provides consumers with basic information on competitive electric supply products. The DPU has also developed an excellent resource to help you select a competitive supplier and learn about how you can green your electricity called Energy Switch MA.
MAKING AN INFORMED DECISION
While cost certainty, the possibility for greater savings, and the ability to support even more renewable energy are benefits of choosing a competitive supply product, consumers should use caution before entering into any agreement. In addition, if you are dissatisfied with service of your electricity supplier in any way, you can submit a complaint to the Consumer Division of the Department of Public Utilities.
If you are considering shopping for electricity supply, make sure to educate yourself about what you are currently paying, what competitive supply options are available, and which make the most sense for you. You should be aware that competitive supply contracts are not always guaranteed to provide you with cost savings as the value of any contract is dependent on conditions of electricity supply markets.
For example, a potential advantage to competitive supply contracts is that they can be for a longer term than the Basic Service Rates. However, while negotiating for a multiple-year supply contract may provide greater cost certainty, it does not eliminate the risk of the Basic Service Rate decreasing while your competitive supply contract rate remains the same.
Utilities and electric suppliers are currently mandated by Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and the Clean Energy Standard (CES) to procure a percentage of the electricity they sell from clean energy resources. Visit the Department of Energy Resources website to learn more about these requirements and standards. If you are only interested in greening your electricity supply in order to support local renewable energy development, one way to do this is by purchasing additional Class 1 Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). For example, there are programs available through organizations that will purchase renewable energy credits based on your electricity use at a premium over your utility costs. You can also use Energy Switch MA to find a competitive supplier that incorporates renewable energy as a larger portion of their supply.