Eversource Energy

Eversource Energy will change their default pricing for residential and commercial customers on July 1, 2018. The current prices have been in effect since January 1 of this year while the new prices will stay in effect through the end of the year. Since Connecticut has gone to an energy choice state Eversource Energy, formerly Connecticut Light & Power, has been updating their default prices twice a year on January 1 and July 1, so the change shouldn’t come as a big surprise to most consumers.

Residential customers will see a small drop in their default price of $0.09078 to $0.08530 while small and medium sized commercial customers will see a modest increase from $0.09304 to $0.09422. Customers who are currently purchasing their power from a competitive electricity supplier will not be affected by the change. The Eversource Energy default rate in Connecticut encompasses the charges that would be imposed by a competitive supplier’s electricity plan. The default price is merely the rate customers pay for electricity service who do not shop for prices available in the competitive energy marketplace.

Since the Connecticut residential electricity market became competitive in 2006 the number of participating customers have fluctuated in correlation with the Eversource Energy default price. When competitive electricity suppliers can offer rates that are below the default price more customers flock towards the electricity shopping experience. However, when the default rate and competitive rates are near the same consumers are less likely to shop. Over the years competitive electricity suppliers have attempted to smooth out the shopping droughts by offering customers with more incentives to shop other than low electricity rates. In addition to savings versus the default price, many competitive suppliers now offer renewable electricity rates and long term contracts that can offer customers price stability.

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Customers of Eversource Energy living in the Boston and surrounding areas are quickly becoming familiar with the benefits of Massachusetts electricity choice. Competitive electricity suppliers are flocking towards the Boston market offering attractive offers that can save Eversource customers hundreds of dollars per year on their electric bills. The goal is simple for the competitive supplier – acquire as many new customers as possible in what is becoming one of the hottest electricity markets in the country. In trying to accomplish this goal many electricity suppliers are slashing their prices to entice first time Boston electricity shoppers to switch over to their service.

The ability to shop for competitive electricity rates has remained a foreign concept to the majority of Boston residents with switch numbers hovering around the 30% mark. Despite the fact that several companies are offering savings of more than 20% against the Eversource price to compare, seven residential customers out of every ten in the area have elected not to shop for competitive electricity rates. The low shopping numbers are suspected to be caused primarily by a lack of education and understanding of Boston electricity choice laws. Customers who are not participating in energy shopping are often unaware that switching electricity suppliers is an easy automated process that does not require the power to be turned off or repair personal to visit the customer’s property. The electricity switch process is unlike switching cable providers or cell phone carriers which can often require a consumer to dedicate hours to complete the process. In contrast, switching electricity suppliers in Boston can be done in less than five minutes by using an electricity price comparison website.

In order to entice consumers to shop for electricity rates, companies need to offer a price that is below the Eversource price to compare. Eversource Energy is the regulated utility company for the city of Boston and surrounding suburbs. As a regulated utility they are responsible for delivery power to all properties within their service area at distribution rates that are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Eversource Energy’s role as a regulated company is often a source of confusion to consumers who are being told that Massachusetts is now an electricity choice state. To clarify, it is the electricity generation or supply component that is open to choice, while the delivery of the power remains regulated.

In addition to charging their customers regulated distribution charges, Eversource Energy also charges a default generation rate to their customers who do not switch to a competitive Boston electricity supplier. Currently they are charging this rate to about 70% of their residential customers. When a competitive supplier can offer a rate below the default price to compare rate, they are able to advertise the difference as the amount of customer can save by switching. Eversource Energy is also responsible for invoicing their customers, even the ones who have elected to purchase their power form a competitive supplier. When a customer switches suppliers they still receive their monthly Eversoruce electric bill. The only difference is that the competitive supplier and rate is listed in the electricity generation supply portion of the electric bill. The distribution or delivery section of the bill remains the same regardless of whether of competitive supplier was chosen. Below is a list of some of the more competitive rate offers available in Boston compared to the current Eversource price to compare default rate.


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Western Massachusetts Electric Company recently announce a rate increase for their residential class that will take effect at the beginning of the new year. On January 1, 2016 the Western Mass Electric price to compare price will increase to $0.10394 per KWh from the previous $0.09767 rate. The rate change amounts to a 6.42% increase on the generation supply section of the electric bill.

The change will only take effect on customers who are on the basic service rate plan with Western Mass Electric, also known as the price to compare. Customers who do not select an alternative electricity company pay the basic service rate for power supply. Through Massachusetts electricity choice energy consumers have the ability to shop the market for competitive rate plans offered by licensed electricity companies. Some competitive plans offer significant savings (above 20%) against the price to compare default rate, giving consumers the ability to not only avoid the Western Mass Electric rate increase, but to also lower their monthly bills a substantial amount from what they are currently paying.

The Western Massachusetts Electric Company provides power to roughly 150,000 customers in west Massachusetts. The company is owned by Eversource Energy, who recently decided to change the branding of the Western Mass Electric logo on the electric bill to the new Eversource logo. Despite the branding change, the company still has the same ownership. Even though default rate payers can save more than 25% and avoid a price hike in January, to date only about 20% of customers in the area have switched electricity suppliers. The rate increase is expected to spur more shopping activity in the region.


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National Grid Massachusetts customers on the variable basic service rate have seen huge volatility in the price that they pay for electricity over the last year. After recent news of National Grid releasing their variable rate over the next six months, it is apparent that the volatility will continue. Consumers on the variable basic service rate can avoid the price uncertainty, as well as reduce their electricity bills, by shopping for lower competitive electricity rates offered by alternative Massachusetts electricity suppliers.

Through State energy choice laws, Massachusetts has opened up their electricity market to allow competitive energy companies to offer service to residential and business customers. The law allows customers who receive their electric bill from one of the three major utilities in the state – NSTAR, National Grid, and Western Mass Electric – to shop for a lower electricity price that would replace their utility default rate for electricity generation supply. The default rate is charged to all customers who decided not to purchase power from a competitive supplier.

Customers on the default rate pay a charge known as the basic service rate for electricity supply which includes the generation and transmission components of the electric bill. Default rate payers have a choice between paying a fixed basic service rate and a variable basic service rate. The fixed rate remains the same for six month periods, while the variable rate changes every month. However, even though the variable rate changes on a monthly basis, customers know what that variable rate will be for the next several months. Both rates are determined through an auction process that National Grid holds for alternative suppliers for the right to service basic service rate customers. The outcome of the auction process is largely dependent on the condition of the wholesale energy markets during the time of the auction.

Both rate structures have been extremely volatile over the last several years, with recent rates being the higher end of the spectrum. The high default rates have allowed for competitive electricity suppliers to offer rates that are well below the basic service offers, presenting an opportunity to for customers to lower their National Grid electric bills. Since 2012, the variable basic service rate has ranged from a low of 6.544 cents per KWh in September of 2012 to a high of over 20 cents per KWh in January of 2015. In November, the variable rate will increase by 26.4% from the October rate. Customer who remain on the variable basic service rate are going to see their total electric bills increase by about 20% as their supply rate goes up from 8.8 to 11.27 cents. The variable rate will continue to rise over the next several months going to 13.38 cents in December and then over 15 cents in both January and February of next year.

The volatility in the rates and increasing electric bill amounts can be stopped by simply shopping for a lower competitive electricity rate. In order to avoid further price uncertainty consumers should find a competitive offer that is fixed and not a floating month to month price. Finding a fixed electric rate will eliminate the uncertainty of volatility in the energy markets that leads to negative surprises on the electric bill amount. Furthermore, if the fixed rate is lower than the variable basic service rate on a monthly basis, consumers will also save money through a lower electric bill.


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