Energy deregulation in Massachusetts is a topic worth exploring for both homes and businesses. The reason for this is because energy deregulation can lower the electricity bills for many consumers throughout the state. Ultimately, through deregulation, consumers gain control over the energy services and products they purchase as opposed to being forced to use a local utility.
What Does Energy Deregulation Mean for Massachusetts?
In the early 1990’s many states were forced to address the fact that the cost of electricity for all consumers was reaching an all time high. Due to theses rising costs, many people, businesses, and eventually state governments started looking for answers.
The major problem seemed to lie with utilities.
As was the case before deregulation and still is today, most consumers have access to only one or two local utilities. The local utility or utilities provide all energy related services to consumers in the area. This means that most consumers around the US, electricity generation, transmission, delivery, supply and customer service is provided by one entity.
When there are only one or two organizations that provide a necessary service, this can often generate a monopoly because there is no competition to encourage rates to remain low.
The main purpose of electricity and gas deregulation is to introduce competition into the market. The idea is that some of the business elements that the utilities used to handle on their own are opened up to companies known as retail energy providers (REPs). In a deregulated market, these providers can offer services, products and customer service related to the supply of electricity. While customers still need to rely on a utility for energy delivery and maintenance, they also have the ability to choose the company that supplies their energy — a local REP.
Ultimately, REPs are incentivized to keep their rates low and reasonable so that they can gain and retain customers. In an energy deregulated market, if the customer is unhappy, they can simply switch to another service provider and take their business elsewhere. That’s not possible in a regulated market.
Other Deregulated States
Currently, over a dozen states participate in energy deregulation across America in some way, shape or form. These states include:
- New York
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- Washington (DC)
Energy Choice for Massachusetts
Massachusetts entered the deregulated energy market by deregulating both electric and gas in 2005, calling their official energy choice program “Energy Switch Massachusetts.” Since then, thousands of consumers across the state have taken advantage of the benefits electric choice offers
While we’re the leading site for energy deregulation information around the US, the department of Energy and Environmental Affairs Massachusetts is a government resource residents of the state can turn to when looking to learn more about deregulation.
Electricity Providers in Massachusetts
Some additional information the Energy and Environmental Affairs Massachusetts office provides is registered and approved electricity providers by utility.
Some of these electricity providers includes:
- Ambit Energy
- Champion Energy Services
- CleanChoice Energy
- Town Square Energy
- Verde Energy
- Xoom Energy
- Absolute Energy Services
- Just Energy
- Liberty Power
- Tradition Energy
- Entergy Solutions
- Viridian Energy
- Palmco Power
- Quest Energy Solutions
Massachusetts Electricity Providers, Plans, and Services
Exploring energy providers from reliable sources is a critical step to customer choice. These approved companies have plans and options that provide consumers with the best energy supply services in the state. Many providers offer a wide range of plans with different contract-term lengths anywhere from 1 month to 60 months. There are options for variable and fixed rates as well as green energy and pre-paid services, all of which can be found on our website by entering your zip code above.
Additionally, many providers also sell different energy related products including smart thermostats, smart meters, and energy efficient appliances.
Regulated Areas in Massachusetts
While the majority of Massachusetts is open to electric choice, there are some areas that remain energy regulated. This simply means that energy consumers do not have the option to select an electricity supplier. They must receive all services from one entity, their local utility. Customers do not have any electric choice options in areas of the state where service is managed by electric cooperatives. The reason for this is that by law, electric cooperatives are not required to make any changes to the way they currently do business. The restructuring process is only required of utilities. Electric cooperatives provide energy services to their members only, which includes both homes and businesses.
Currently, Massachusetts has around 150 electric cooperatives across the state.
Energy deregulation opens up the supply component of electricity to competition. However, it’s important to remember that utilities still remain in charge of the delivery of energy and maintenance of equipment like poles and wires.
In Massachusetts, there are many utilities that are required to allow consumers to participate in electric choice. These utilities include:
- Western Massachusetts Electric Company
- National Grid (Nantucket Electric)
- Massachusetts Electric Company
- NStar Electric Company
Overall, Massachusetts is one of the most popular states in the US for energy deregulation with many homes and businesses in the state taking advantage of the benefits of REPs.