One of our members called recently asking for help finding information on competitive electric suppliers, the electricity supply companies that often claim to offer cheaper rates – and sometimes greener power – than the Basic Service offered by her electric utilitiy. More than likely, you’ve also received a knock on the door or something in the mail from competitive suppliers. So many suppliers had contacted our member that she felt she should find out what they were offering. She was particularly interested in renewable electricity options, but didn’t know who to trust.
Have you recently received salespeople at your door or offers in the mail from competitive electricity suppliers? They lay the pitch on thick with too-good-to be true rates and feel-good energy mixes. It may seem hard to poke holes in the pitch, but under the smiling surface, many of these suppliers use smoke and mirror marketing to get their foot in the door and your signature on a contract.
In September, it was reported that wholesale electricity prices in Texas were negative during some evenings, largely a result of high wind production. Wind makes up a higher percentage of Texas’ energy mix than in New England, but we want to see more wind here. So what does it mean that there were negative electricity prices? To get a good answer, we asked our expert friends at the Cambridge-based Synapse Energy Economics.
Consumers have been on an electric rates rollercoaster ride this past year. Many have been left reeling from a freezing winter and higher-than-usual electric rates. The good news is that rates will be dropping back down this summer for utility basic supply customers. National Grid’s rate decreased more than 40% as of May 1st (for MA customers). Eversource customers will likely experience similar decreases beginning July 1st. These summer rate drops will provide much needed relief, but what needs to be done to ensure this does not continue to happen in winters to come?
For some time now in Massachusetts, you have been able to choose green power for your home or business. And for some time, your community has been able to choose an electricity supplier to serve the entire town. Today, we can put the two ideas together: renewable energy by community choice.
“Energy efficiency is the best hedge to reduce the impact of energy costs.”  This, according to National Grid in a presentation given last October and aimed at explaining the record-setting electric rate increases that took effect on November 1.
This heating season, not quite done, has been one for the record books. Huge amounts of snow, very cold weather, but also a big drop in oil prices compared to last year categorized the winter. And it’s been the best year for Mass Energy/People’s Power & Light Discount Heating Oil Service members in a long time. Compared to surveys conducted by the state energy offices in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, throughout this winter our members have paid 44 cents less than full-service dealer prices in Massachusetts and 35 cents less than full-service dealer prices in Rhode Island, after adjusting for heating degree days.
*If you live in Rhode Island read the People's Power & Light version of this article here.
You’ve been good enough to voluntarily sign up for one of Mass Energy’s green power products, New England Wind or New England GreenStart (if not, click here to learn how). By now, you have probably read or heard that electricity rates for customers of National Grid, NSTAR, and Western Mass Electric are all taking a big jump this winter. These rates will be in effect until the spring. At that point, we expect the rates to come back down. Below is some information on the electricity rate increases and Mass Energy’s response.
The utilities buy electricity according to rules set by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). Because this winter’s spike is so significant, the DPU has asked stakeholders for ideas on how to mitigate the rate increase and how to minimize its effects on consumers. Here’s what we had to say...