Western Massachusetts Businesses Battle Increasing Electricity Bills

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.

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