Massachusetts law about utility service

Laws, regulations, and web sources on utility service law.

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Best bets

Frequently asked questions about electric and gas utilities, Mass. Attorney General.
Many residents are struggling to pay their bills, including their monthly utility bills, following the COVID-19 crisis and due to the currently high fossil fuel prices. Electricity and Gas are essential services—that’s why it is important that customers know their rights and where they can go for help if they need it.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 25, § 4A Hearings on rate changes

MGL c. 25, § 19 Funding for energy efficiency programs; mandatory charge per kilowatt-hour; other funding; gas energy efficiency programs; allocation of funds

MGL c. 25, § 21 Energy efficiency and demand reduction resources cost-effective or less expensive than supply preferred; electric and natural gas efficiency investment plans; failure to reasonably comply with plan

MGL c. 148, § 38J Residential oil tank safety

MGL c. 175, § 4D Insurance coverage for release of heating oil

MGL c. 187, § 5 Installation of public utility services for abutting owners on private ways authorized

Massachusetts regulations

220 CMR Department of Public Utilities

940 CMR Mass. Attorney General

  • 940 CMR 19 Retail marketing and sale of electricity

Web sources

Affordable Connectivity Program
This program will provide a discount of up to $30 per month towards high-speed internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.

Energy switch Massachusetts, Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities.
A website developed by the DPU to "assist consumers in shopping for electric supply products." Also includes information about electric supply and delivery, how to read your electric bill, and FAQs.

File a complaint involving a gas, electric, or water company, Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities, Consumer Division.
Explains how to complain if you don't receive satisfaction from the company.

Get help to pay your bills, Mass. Legal Help, 2017.
Explains different types of assistance, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Help paying your utility bill, Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities, Consumer Division.
Site includes help with your utility bill, fuel assistance information and winter heating tips., Mass. 2-1-1 service.
"HelpSteps connects individuals to local health and human resources... The assessment and referral tools are available at no cost to anyone with access to the internet or a smart phone." Includes information on help paying for electricity, gas and home heating. Scroll down to Utilities.

Homeowner oil heating system upgrade and insurance law, Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities. 
"This fact sheet contains important information for those who heat their homes with oil. By September 30, 2011, you must upgrade your home heating system equipment to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to your furnace."

Information for consumers about the electric industry, Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities.
Get a better understanding of your electric service, compare products and prices, and file complaints.

Learn about home energy assistance - LIHEAP, Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities.
The Massachusetts home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) is a free resource to help eligible households pay a portion of winter heating bills.

Solar information & programs, Renewable and Alternative Energy Division.
Learn about how solar energy works and available incentive programs in Massachusetts.

Utilities, Mass. Legal Help, June 2017.
Covers the right to obtain service, protection against shut-off, what to do if your utilities have been shut off, getting help paying your bills, submetering for tenants, special rules for tenants living in condominiums and more.

Utilities advocacy for low-income households, 4th ed. National Consumer Law Center, 2019.
Online version of the 136-page book, covers obtaining service, restoring service, receiving financial aid, forms, and appendices of regulations and procedures.

When am I protected from having my utilities shut off?  Mass. Office of the Attorney General. 
Under certain conditions, your utilities may not be shut off, even if you haven’t or can’t pay your bill.  

Print sources

Access to utility service: disconnections, metering, payments, telecommunications, and assistance programs, National Consumer Law Center, 2018.
Introduction -- Right to utility service -- Tenant strategies for maintaining service -- Metering issues : metering errors, master-metering, submetering, prepayment meters, advanced meters -- Payment issues : payment, security deposits, and late charges -- Grounds for termination of utility service and termination protections -- Utility affordability programs : description and implementation -- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) -- Weatherization and energy efficiency programs -- Utility allowances in subsidized housing -- Telecommunications -- Affordable water service -- Bankruptcy issues : when either the consumer or landlord files for bankruptcy -- Manufactured homes and utility service -- Due process protections for municipal and REC customers : unregulated deliverable fuels -- Appendices.

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Last updated: March 11, 2024

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