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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Solar Pathway Lights: An Easy, Elegant Outdoor Lighting Solution

Setting up these little lights is a snap, and they deliver day after day.

We set out to find a lighting solution that is energy-efficient, elegant, and easy to set up, and we found the Maggift solar lights fit the bill perfectly. These lights are super environmentally friendly “they naturally don’t produce emissions as they don’t consume any power, making their carbon footprint minimal. For homeowners who are committed to green living and trying to be as environmentally conscious as possible in all of their household purchases, this lighting pack is an excellent choice.

These solar power lights are also a breeze to set up, and they deliver soft, elegant lighting day after day (or rather, night after night). They cast a gentle glow along a driveway, garden path, walkway, or the border of a yard“ or just about anywhere else you want lighting effects, like around trees.

For instance, you can use them to line garden patches around large trees or a water feature for a very stylish look that highlights landscape accents even at night. It’s super easy to create subtle accents wherever you want to highlight a landscape feature such as shrubs, rocks, you name it to keep them from disappearing into the background at night. Show off your beautifully lit yard by hosting get-togethers with friends and family!

The Maggift 12-pack of solar-powered pathway lights provides a lighting option that is convenient as well as environmentally friendly. Because it uses no electricity, it produces no emissions even if it stays on all night long. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. They easily charge up during the day (as the product specs say, it takes about 6 to 8 hours). They’re very easy to assemble as well, and to rearrange, if you choose to move them around.

Sticking them in the ground is simple with the included spike (and there are clear instructions included, though it’s pretty straightforward even without them). After you stick them in the ground, you really don’t need to do anything, they charge themselves and then light up on their own, night after night. They’re about as low-maintenance as it gets, keeping you environmentally friendly all year round. And we’ve found they work well rain or shine, in all kinds of weather.

These little lights add elegant illumination to a walkway or garden, casting a lovely glow on the ground. It’s soft yet bright enough to clearly light your way, which definitely lends a sense of safety when returning home at night.

We really love how they provide the option to change the look of a yard in creative ways, too. Because they don’t need to be plugged into a power source, they can be easily rearranged.

Seeing the beauty these lights add to your yard might inspire your neighbors to choose solar power lights themselves (and reduce their own carbon footprint). The understated elegance of the Maggift solar lights is bound to bring you a lot of compliments – and perhaps get your neighbors more interested in going green, too!


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Lowest CLP Eversource Rates versus 2019 Standard Service Rates

rate-increase-signCompetition in electricity rates is alive and well throughout Connecticut as we head into 2019. Both major utilities in the state, Eversource Energy and United Illuminating, have announced large price increases in their default standard service rates that will likely result in an increase in shopping activity amongst all customer rate classes. After a rough 2018 which saw little market growth for the majority of companies, competitive Connecticut electricity suppliers are finally able to offer worthwhile savings to customers on their utility default service.

Eversource Energy, formerly Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P), announced rate increases for commercial and residential customers on their standard service rates to go in effect at the beginning of the new year. On January 1, 2019 residential customers in Connecticut who receive an Eversource electric bill will see their electricity generation rate increase by 18.9% which equates to $18.90 more for power for a customer who uses 1,000 KWh a month. The best thing a customer on the standard service rate can do is to start shopping for a competitive Eversource rate offered by a licensed Connecticut supplier. Several competitive electricity suppliers are offering rates that are lower than the default standard service rate which will result in electric bill savings for customers who take action and choose a competitive rate plan.

The new standard service rate is increasing to $0.10143, which will be the first time the rate has surpassed ten cents since the January to June period of 2015. Eversource Energy updates the rate on January 1 and July 1 of each year. Eversource Energy in Connecticut has been able to keep the rate relatively low over the last couple of years which has slowed electricity shopping growth in the state as the incentive for new customers to shop was limited. Now that the default rate is in an upward trajectory, shopping activity is expected to increase. Historic Connecticut standard service rates reveals that the price usually goes up in the January period and down in July. However there is no guarantee that the price will go down on July 1, 2019 as this is not always the case. In fact, in 2017 the default rate actually increased in July from the January period. The unpredictability of what direction the standard service rate will go is another reason for customers to shop the competitive Connecticut electricity market for long term fixed electricity prices. Below are current rates offered by licensed Connecticut electricity suppliers.


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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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How Do I Stop the JCPL Rate Increase

New Jersey electricity customers who receive service from Jersey Central Power & Light (JCPL), and who are on the utility’s default generation plan, will experience a sharp rate increase beginning on the first of October 2018. The default rate, known as the basic generation service charge, changes twice annually and is derived by a series of auctions that take place as long as three years before the rate actually takes effect. The auctions are spaced out over a three year period as a way to spread out the price volatility that often occurs in wholesale energy markets; in this way default paying customers are not stuck paying high prices due to an auction occurring during a time when wholesale prices were high. However, if current energy prices are lower during the time the default rate is in effect, customers are then presented an opportunity to save money by switching to a lower competitive New Jersey electricity supplier.

Residential JCPL customers on the basic generation service rate will see at most a 13.93% rate increase take effect on October 1, 2018 compared to what they had been paying since the beginning of June. The new higher rate will have the biggest impact on lower usage customers. Since June 1, 2018 JCPL customers on the default rate have paid $0.083846 per KWh for the first 600 KWh they consume in a given monthly service period. This rate then increased to $0.093071 for all kilowatt hours above 600. On October 1 these residential customers will pay a flat rate of $0.095527 for all KWh consumed. The JCPL rate increase can be stopped by simply shopping the New Jersey competitive electricity market for a lower fixed price.

As of July 2018, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities released electric switch data showing that 16.8% of JCPL’s 999,604 residential customers were purchasing power from a competitive supplier. This data indicates that there are roughly 831,348 residential customers who are on the basic generation service rate, and who can avoid the October 1 price increase and lower their JCPL electric bill by shopping for a lower rate. Below are fixed JCPL electric rates offered by suppliers who have been licensed by the New Jersey BPU.


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Lowest Chicago Competitive Electricity Suppliers

Energy choice participation is picking up in Chicago as consumers are becoming more aware of legislation that allows them to choose a competitive electricity supplier as opposed to their incumbent utility ComEd. The creation of a competitive electricity market in Illinois has created an abundance of electric rate options that customers can now choose between. As suppliers fight to gain market share and brand recognition consumers will find it easier to shop around for the lowest rates with names they trust. Residents who become more educated with electricity choice continue to shop to stay informed about which suppliers are offering the lowest rates.

Chicago residents searching for the lowest electric rate should consider switching to a competitive supplier immediately . Locking in a fixed electric rate may protect the consumer from volatility during harsh winter months. Competitive electric suppliers already have future weather projections built into their rates, marginalizing the effects short term spikes in the energy wholesale futures markets will have on competitive offers. In general, fixed rates offered by Chicago competitive suppliers provide price security for residential customers.

Trying to choose the lowest electricity rate in Chicago is becoming easier as the competition fights to gain more market share. One tool that is becoming increasingly popular to help electric choice shoppers choose and compare rates are online comparison sites. Online comparison sites allow consumers to compare the cheapest electric rates from multiple suppliers based upon the desired term that best suits the customer. The process of switching to a competitive supplier through an online comparison site is minimal in time for the customer. All it takes is a copy of the ComEd bill and a few minutes to compare current competitive offers to the ComEd price to compare.


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Eversource Energy Changes Default Pricing for All Connecticut Customers in July 2018

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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Commercial Electricity Rates in Houston Could See High Price Pressure this Summer

Hot Texas SummerTexas electricity suppliers have been issuing numerous warning to their commercial customers concerning likely higher prices this summer in the wholesale electricity market. These prices will trickle down to the retail sector hitting the electric bills of many business customers who are not on a secure fixed electricity rate contract. The Houston grid zone is already experiencing upward pressure on electricity prices as temperatures have been higher than normal in May. Houston zonal pricing for the 12 month strip, which determines the 12 month fixed rate, jumped up 7% in May.

The cause for concern over Texas electricity prices for the summer of 2018 is a result of recent coal fired electricity generation plants being closed over the last year. In an effort to move to a more green energy future, the closure of coal generation plants is likely going to put Texas is a electricity supply shortage that the state has not experienced in decades. If the shortage in electricity gets to close to a break even point to the demand, wholesale electricity prices will skyrocket as retail electricity suppliers bid of prices to meet the demand of their individual customers, many of whom are on variable rate products and won’t be protected by aggressive market increases.

Small and medium commercial electricity customers often let their fixed rate contracts expire without renewing for another fixed contract. When this occurs, electricity providers in Texas will likely place the customer on a monthly variable rate that is tied directly to the wholesale market with a retail adder for the provider. These variable products are the most accessible to the likely price spikes expected this summer in Houston and other parts of Texas. Texas electricity prices have been fairly stable over the last seven years, so keeping up with the electricity contract hasn’t been an issue for many small business owners. The stability in the market has created a moral hazard issue that could hit businesses hard this summer for commercial electricity consumers who are paying a variable rate with their provider. The variable rates have been quite low over the past few years that many customers have come to believe that low variable prices are normal; they are not and can jump up quickly and aggressively.

It is crucially important for all commercial electricity customers in the Houston area to lock in a low fixed electricity rate contract. Luckily in Texas, as opposed to other states who have electricity choice markets, the time it takes to switch providers and rate structures can be as early as the next business day. In some states in can take up to two months, which would leave customers on a variable rate in a bad situation if wholesale prices spiked.


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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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Energy Choice offers JCP&L Commercial Customers a High Rate of Savings

Savings CashJCP&L commercial customers shopping for competitive electric rates in New Jersey can expect to save 15-25% off of their electric bills. According to New Jersey electric switching Stats, over 70% of the commercial load has already been switched over to a competitive supplier. Natural gas prices are near a 10-year low, which is currently putting downward pressure on electricity wholesale rates. By locking in a long term rate a business will be protected against any spikes in the energy market for over the next few years. With energy prices near record lows the number of JCP&L commercial customers participating in energy choice will continue to increase.

Participating in energy choice will have no negative impact on the quality of power a business receives from the local distribution company (JCP&L). JCP&L will still be in charge of maintaining the lines and wires that deliver the electricity from the delivery point to your place of business. They will continue to charge the distribution cost, which is a regulated charge. Whether you decide to keep JCP&L for your basic generation service or switch to a competitive supplier, the distribution charges will remain the same.

Shopping for competitive electric rates has never been easier. JCP&L provides the official price to compare rate on the electric bill. This is the rate a business will use while comparing prices with a competitive supplier. The price to compare rate will include all components of the supply charge including New Jersey’s usage and sales tax (SUT). When comparing rates it is important to review the contract carefully to make sure your business is comparing apples-to-apples to JCP&L’S price to compare rate. A number of services are becoming available that can help find the lowest price, based on term and rate classification. ElectricRate.com offers a platform that provides a side-by-side comparison to JCP&L’s basic generation rate and a supplier’s competitive offering. If you want a hassle free experience and unbiased advice they are worth checking out.


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