Archive for Massachusetts

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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Compare National Grid MA Rates to Offset Default Price Increase

On November 1, 2018 the basic service rate offered by National Grid to Massachusetts residential customers increased by a baffling 26.2%. Basic service is a default rate that National Grid charges to those customers for electricity generation supply who have not elected to purchase their power from a competitive electricity supplier. Residential customers can save money against the higher default rate by comparing competitive rates offered by suppliers who are licensed by the state of Massachusetts. Those customers who are already on a competitive rate plan will not be effected by the November 1 rate increase.

Numerous competitive rate plans are available for National Grid customers to choose between. In response to the 26.2% price increase competitive Massachusetts suppliers are pushing back and stepping up their marketing efforts in order to gain new customers. Energy price comparison sites such as ElectricRate.com are posting competitive rate offers as much as 12.6% less than the basic service rate offered by National Grid. Other rate green energy options are available that provide small savings.

As of May 2018, the Massachusetts state government reported that roughly 42.8% of the 1,035,462 residential customers that National Grid delivers power to had elected to purchase their electricity from a competitive supplier. The remaining 592,000 customers have the ability to substantially lower their National Grid electric bill by comparing and selecting a lower rate plan. The new basic service rate of $0.13718, up from $0.1087 in October, is the highest the default rate has been in over three years. Massachusetts electricity suppliers are expecting a large new batch of first time shoppers in response to the high rate, which will stay in effect until the end of April of next year.

Competitive rates offering savings versus the basic service rate are shown below. All competitive rates are provided by suppliers who have been licensed by the state of Massachusetts.


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Compare Boston Electricity Prices

Boston HarbourElectricity choice in the Boston area has swelled in popularity in recent years as more consumers have become aware of the savings that competitive suppliers are offering. The deregulation of power markets in Massachusetts has resulted in the opportunity for Boston citizens to reduce their electricity bills by comparing offers presented by multiple energy companies. While multiple offers is a good thing for the overall consumer base, taking the time to properly compare Boston electricity prices can be overwhelming for some people who are still learning about the concepts behind electricity choice.

Boston homes and buildings receive their power from Eversource Energy. Eversource Energy services as the city’s local utility company. Though consumers are able to compare electricity prices for their power supply, they do not have the ability to shop for which company delivers them the power through the grid. Prior to rebranding itself as Eversource Energy, the company operated under the name NSTAR in the Boston region. Many customers still call the utility company by the name NSTAR. Boston residents who have lived in the city prior to 1999 might remember their local power company being called the Boston Edison Company. Before Massachusetts deregulated the power market, the Boston Edison Company provided regulated power supply to the city of Boston.

Eversource Energy provides a default electricity supply rate for customers who have not taken the opportunity to compare Boston electricity prices from multiple companies. The difference between the default rate and competitive prices has at times been significant. Customers who have not switched and compared energy suppliers can lower their Eversource electricity bills by over ten percent. At the end of 2017 roughly 38% of residential customers in the Boston area had selected a competitive supplier.


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National Grid Massachusetts Rate Increase 2017 Update

National Grid electric bills in Massachusetts are going to be substantially higher this winter for customers who have not selected a competitive supplier. According to the most recent data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, the higher National Grid electric bills will effect just over 600,000 residential customers. The cause of the the change is a result by an adjustment in the generation supply price that National Grid charges to their customers who have not selected a competitive Massachusetts electricity supplier.

Formerly divided into two separate companies – Massachusetts Electric Company and the Nantucket Electric Company – National Grid now delivers power to just under 1 million residential customers in Massachusetts. All of their customers have the ability and right to shop for competitive electricity rates. Those that do not pay a default rate charged by National Grid. This default rate changes three or four times a year and fluctuates around the wholesale energy markets.

On November 1, 2017 the National Grid default rate in Massachusetts will rise 34.4%, and will stay in effect through April of next year. The current price of $0.09432 will jump to $0.12673. Roughly 39% of customers in the National Grid service area have selected a competitive electricity supplier, and as a result will not be effected by the November rate increase. The remaining 61% of customers can avoid the rate increase by shopping for lower electric rates from electricity suppliers who are licensed by the state of Massachusetts (see below).


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Basic Service Rates Going Up for National Grid Massachusetts Customers

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.


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Boston Electricity Choice Provides Lower Price Options for Eversource Customers

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 Mass Electric Customers Start Year Off With Rate Increase

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 MA Variable Electric Customers See Increased Pricing Volatility

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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Massachusetts Residential Customers Face Substantial Price Increase

Many energy consumers in Massachusetts are unaware of a massive price hike that is getting ready to go into effect that will greatly increase the size of their monthly electricity bills. Residential customers of National Grid will experience a rate hike of 40% for their power supply. The rate hike will effect all residential customers who are on the basic service rate, which includes all consumers who have not switched to a competitive electricity supplier.

As an energy choice state, Massachusetts consumers have the ability to shop for lower electricity rates offered by licensed competitive energy suppliers. The competitive suppliers offer rates for the generation component of the electricity. Utilities such as National Grid continue to act as the regulated power delivery company. Customers who haven’t shopped and purchased competitive power pay the basic service rate offered by National Grid. The basic service rate is a default rate for electricity generation supply and is determined by an auction process effected by wholesale power prices. After the completion of the auction process, basic service rates stay in tack for six month periods. On November 1, 2015 a new period will begin causing the price to rise substantially for those consumers who are still on the default basic service rate structure.

Currently National Grid residential customers in Massachusetts are paying $0.09257 per KWh for their power supply. That price will increase to $0.13038 on November 1, 2015 which equates to a 40% price increase that will be seen on National Grid electric bills starting in late November. Residential customers in the National Grid service area have enjoyed the lower $0.09257 rate since May of this year. The 40% increase is going to surprise many consumers who do not keep up with energy market trends. While some consumers have complained that Massachusetts energy choice is bad because it adds another product on the list to shop for, those who have taken advantage have been able to reduce their electric bills month after month. It is important to understand that the purpose of basic service rate is to act as a default price for those consumers who are unwilling to take the necessary time and shop for better pricing options.

Customers who are willing to shop for lower Massachusetts electricity rates will be pleasantly surprised. There are many electricity suppliers who are competing with each other for new National Grid customers, offering rates that will save basic service paying customers substantial amounts on their electric bills. In order to sell electricity in Massachusetts a supplier must be licensed by the Department of Public Utilities, which minimizes the risk of consumers receiving unworthy offers. All electricity rate offers listed below are a direct comparison versus the National Grid basic service rate. Customers can avoid the November 2015 rate hike by enrolling in a competitive rate plan.


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Why did NSTAR Change their Name To Eversource Energy

If you reside in the Boston area, or the surrounding suburban cities, you have grown accustom to receiving your monthly electricity bill from NSTAR. You may have been surprised in February when your electricity bill arrived with a new name on the header. Looking for the familiar NSTAR name and logo, you were instead greeted by the new company name Eversource Energy.

NSTAR has not been bought out by another company nor did they participate in a corporate merger. The name change is instead a rebranding effort by the company that owns NSTAR and several other high profile utility companies in the New England and northeast area. In addition to NSTAR, National Grid operating in both Massachusetts and New York, Western Mass Electric, and Connecticut Light & Power are all going through the name change to Eversource Energy. The company wants to create a brand name that can be easily recognized across all of the markets that they currently service.

The timing of the name change has not been good for the people at Eversource as severe rate hikes through many of the company’s electric utility default rates have taken place over the last few months, prompting consumers to think that the name change is related to the price hike. The reality is that this is just a coincidence. NSTAR, National Grid in Massachusetts, Westerm Mass Electric, and CL&P have all recently increased their electric default rates due to the results of auctions they held for the price in late 2014. The price increases are about 20-25% in Connecticut while they range from 30-100% in Massachusetts. Customers can lower their electric bills by shopping for a lower electricity supplier in their state. In an attempt to obtain new NSTAR customers, energy suppliers are offering low electricity rates in Boston that provide savings of up to 30% when compared to the NSTAR generation default price.

While the name is different the role that Eversource Energy plays is the same. This role includes delivery reliable power to homes and businesses, responding to power outages and other power lines and wires malfunctions, sending out and collecting money for the monthly electric bill, and providing a default rate for generation supply. For customers looking to lower their electric bill they can choose a lower electricity rate which will replace the Eversource default rate, even though Eversource will continue to send out the electric bill and respond to power failures.

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