May 18, 2016
A review by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) finds nearly 30 competitive retail energy suppliers in Massachusetts actively posting more than 200 different product offerings at prices highly competitive with default rates offered by the state’s utility companies.
“The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities should be highly commended for its efforts working with retail suppliers and other key stakeholders to develop a best in class shopping website designed to assist residential and small business customers,” said Marc Hanks, RESA’s New England chairman.
“The website presents a wealth of competitive electricity products that offer Massachusetts consumers the opportunity to realize savings on their bill,” Hanks observed. “But there are also a wide range of value-added product offerings, the most prominent among them being ‘green’ energy products that offer consumers an opportunity to buy clean electricity that helps the environment.”
A significant number of the competitive offers – 44 or roughly 21 percent – provide the customer with 100 percent renewable energy.
In addition to “green” electricity products, competitive suppliers are offering value-added energy products such as energy-savings “smart” thermostats, HVAC warranty plans, reward points, gift cards, and more. These value-added product offerings are not available when consumers elect to receive utility default electric service.
“Unlike the distribution utilities that have a captive customer base, electricity suppliers must have compelling products and provide high quality service that will attract and maintain customers. Competitive suppliers compete on price, but are also working strongly to differentiate themselves from their competitors in other ways. This is driving innovation and value for consumers,” Hanks said.
RESA strongly encourages consumers to be smart, educated shoppers and pay close attention to the terms and conditions of the contract they enter into, just as they do when shopping for cell phones, Internet service plans, cable television packages, or home heating oil.
Responding to interest among consumers and state regulators, RESA has developed a Consumer Education Guide designed to help customers make informed decisions when shopping for competitively priced energy products. RESA’s guide is easily accessible and provides general information on competitive suppliers, what to look for when considering a contract offer, pricing and product options, and what to expect from legitimate sales interactions.
When assessing the competitive rate plans that best serve their energy needs, it is important that Massachusetts electricity consumers know and appreciate that utility basic service rates are adjusted twice a year. They should also determine whether their contract has an upfront “enrollment” fee or early termination charge should they opt to change to a different retail supplier or return to the utility before they complete the term of their existing contract.
“Some consumers may shop based on price, while others may shop based on budget billing options or product types, such as obtaining energy from environmentally friendly sources like wind and solar power,” said Hanks. “Massachusetts’ competitive retail energy market provides customers with choice, and as competitive suppliers we want the state’s consumers to be wholly satisfied with their shopping experience. RESA member companies desire a robust and sustainable retail electricity marketplace where we continue to offer innovative products.”
RESA is the nation’s leading association of competitive energy suppliers dedicated to creating and sustaining vibrantly competitive electricity and natural gas markets for the benefit of consumers.
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