Massachusetts electricity choice

Business customers in the western part of Massachusetts who receive their electric bill from Eversource Energy have started to feel the effects of a large rate increase that took effect at the beginning of the year. On January 1, 2019 Eversource Energy enacted a rate increase on their small business default rate. The default rate increased from $0.10859 per KWh to $0.12355, which represents a 13.78% increase. Since the rate did not go into effect until the first day of 2019, many business customers did not learn about the change until they received their electric bill in February.

The majority of Western Massachusetts electricity customers receive their power from Western Eversource Energy, formerly named WMECO. As an electricity choice state Massachusetts customers have the option to shop for electricity rates from competitive energy suppliers who are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The choice laws give consumers the option to shop for competitive rates. If a customer does not choose a competitive price plan they are put on a default supply price with their local utility such as Eversource Energy. When an environment exists that allows competitive suppliers to offer electricity rates below the default price it produces an obvious incentive for the customer to switch onto a competitive supplier’s plan. Such an environment currently exists for small business customers (rate classes 23, 24, G-0, T-0) in the Western Massachusetts service area of Eversource Energy.

Small business owners will have to battle the new default rate through the end of June 30, 2019, which they can do by searching for a competitive fixed electricity rate plan. Currently the new default rate that will go into effect in July of 2019 and stay stagnant through the rest of the year is unknown. However, there is no guarantee that it will go down from the current $0.12355 price. The volatility of the default rate throughout the last few years combined with the current high price provides business decision makers with an incentive to lock in a long term fixed contract of at least 24 months. In addition to lowering the electric bill and guaranteeing savings over the next few months, the business will be hedging its risk at potential further increases.

In a time of economic uncertainty the last thing business owners wants is an unexpected 13.78% increase on a necessary expense. The problem is easily solved by taking a little bit of time to search, compare, and shop for low Massachusetts electricity rates.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Massachusetts residential electricity customers who receive their electric bill from National Grid and have not switched off of the default basic service rate will see an increase on their electric bills in December and the first half of 2017. The basic service rate charge represents the component of the National Grid electric bill that encompasses electricity generation supply and transmission costs. In November the rate catapulted to a 21% increase from what it had previously been since May, taking the price to $0.09787 per KWh. The increase can be avoided if customers switch off of the basic service rate and onto a competitive rate plan through Massachusetts electricity choice.

Electricity choice in the state has largely been a success with consumers currently having dozens of rate options to choose. As of October 2016, roughly 40% of National Grid’s 1,016,242 residential customers were purchasing their power from a competitive supplier. Customers who are participating in electricity choice by shopping for their power supplier will not be effected by the recent basic service rate change. The remaining 613,351 customers who remain on the default plan can simply lower their National Grid electric bills by finding a lower electricity rate plan.

Over the last three years the basic service rate has experienced wide fluctuations. Besides near term savings, competitive electricity rate plans that are fixed also provide price stability for consumers who are looking to better manage their home expenses. Many National Grid customers will not be prepared for the 21% rate increase that they will see for the first time on their December 2016 electric bills. Locking in a low rate will not only save money over the next few months, but it also can provide even greater savings in the second half of next year. The new basic service rate of $0.09787 is scheduled to stay in affect through the end of April. As of now it is unknown what the rate will be for the rest of 2017, though recent energy market trends reveal that it is unlikely they will come back down below nine cents.

Below is a list of some of the best electricity rate offers for National Grid customers in Massachusetts. All offers are updated every day, and are offered by suppliers who have been licensed by the state of Massachusetts.


Share

{ 0 comments }

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.


Share

{ 0 comments }

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.


Share

{ 0 comments }

Boston Electricity Rates Set to Spike

December 18, 2014

Homes and businesses located in Boston and the surrounding areas are going to experience a sharp spike in the price they pay for electricity in January. NSTAR Electric, the utility company that delivers power to Boston consumers, recently announced a rate increase for power supply of 59.7% that will go into effect on January 1, […]

Share
Read the full article →

National Grid MA Rates Set to Explode

October 14, 2014

Energy choice in the state of Massachusetts has been active for the last several years, but for the most part has remained under the radar. Educated consumers who were aware of the choice laws may have participated by locking in a low electricity rate with a competitive Massachusetts electricity supplier or even elected to purchase […]

Share
Read the full article →