Energy Deregulation in Massachusetts: An Overview
Massachusetts energy deregulation enables Massachusetts consumers to purchase electricity from a competitive supplier other than their utility. By comparing rates from different electric companies and electric suppliers, Choose Energy helps you make informed decisions regarding your energy choices.
Though it has been around for more than 15 years, energy deregulation can be confusing. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help clarify Massachusetts energy deregulation.
Massachusetts Electric Deregulation: Frequently Asked Questions
I have decided to switch to a new competitive electricity supplier. Will there be any change in the reliability or service of my electricity?
No. Your local wires company, or utility, is responsible for delivering electricity to your home or business, regardless of the electricity supplier. The utilities and maintenance of power lines are regulated by the Massachusetts DPU (Department of Public Utilities). If the power goes out or any other electricity problems occur, you should call your local utility as you have done in the past. The contact number is located on your electricity bill.
What has changed from deregulation?
A lot. In short, electric suppliers compete to offer better electricity rates to consumers. Prior to 1997, all Massachusetts residents received energy from their local utility company. Following deregulation, consumers in deregulated services areas are allowed to select independent competitive electricity suppliers. These electric companies compete to offer homes and businesses better electricity rates. As a result, Massachusetts residents have better offers and incentives, and can choose different types of energy plans. These plans can be fixed rates or variable rates, shorter-term or longer-term and some use 100% renewable power. Just like selecting a telephone plan, competition offers consumers better rates and options. You have a choice to pick your ideal electricity supplier to best fit your needs.
Can every Massachusetts resident choose their energy plan?
No, unfortunately not every Massachusetts consumer has the ability to choose a new electricity supplier. Some areas of Massachusetts are serviced by electric cooperatives. Electric Cooperatives, or co-ops, are not required to restructure for deregulation. They are not-for-profit member-owned utilities, which provide service to only their members. There are currently over 150 electric cooperatives in Massachusetts, which serve residents and small businesses throughout the state. On the other hand, over 2.5 Million Massachusetts residents receive service from major utilities, which are open to deregulation. The largest cities in Massachusetts, including Boston, have the option to choose a new competitive electricity supplier. Those served by National Grid (Massachusetts Electric), National Grid (Nantucket Electric), Eversource, and Western Massachusetts Electric (WMECo) enjoy the benefits of energy choice.
California has faced challenges with deregulation. Is Massachusetts at risk as well?
California’s deregulation challenge was very different than the situation in Massachusetts. First, California lacked the power reserves like those in Massachusetts. Secondly, Massachusetts consumer protection laws are strong and the Massachusetts DPU has created a number of laws to protect consumers, by which all companies in the sector must abide.
Will I lose power when I switch?
No. Your utility delivers electricity independently of billing, so electricity will continue to your home or business regardless of the supplier you choose.
I’ve heard a lot about green energy. What is it, and how does it relate deregulation?
Green energy is a term that describes energy generated through renewable sources. Because of deregulation, Massachusetts consumers have the option to choose green energy plans from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to build an offshore wind project, Cape Wind, which is expected to deliver wind-powered electricity to consumers in Massachusetts.
What is the best way to choose from available electric suppliers?
Choose Energy offers information on the top electricity suppliers in Massachusetts and our engine helps you search for the perfect energy plan. We offer fixed rates, variable rates, and renewable energy plans. Choose Energy helps you compare, switch & save. Enter your ZIP Code above to start.