If you want an alternative to basic service you may find value in products offered by competitive suppliers. These electric supply products may include:
- prices that remain fixed for a certain length of time,
- products that include a level of the renewable energy resources that exceeds the minimum required by law, and
- other products and services.
The DPU has developed Energy Switch MA, a website to help you shop for competitive electric supply products. While the DPU licenses competitive suppliers, we do not oversee or regulate how they set their supply product prices.
Competitive supply products
Competitive suppliers offer two types of product pricing structures: (1) fixed-price, and (2) variable‑price. A fixed-price product is one in which the price remains constant for a specified period of time. This timeframe can range from several months to several years. These products provide price certainty and protection against variations in wholesale market prices. Fixed price products may contain an early termination fee, where you may be required to pay an extra fee if you cancel your contract before the end of the product term.
A variable‑price product is one in which the price changes, often on a monthly basis. The price is set either at the discretion of the competitive supplier or based on a specified market indicator. An example of a market indicator is electricity futures prices published by the New York Mercantile Exchange. Since most products of this type do not have specified contract terms, you may be able to cancel your contract at any time without penalty.
Renewable energy content
Competitive suppliers may offer products with a renewable energy level that exceeds the Commonwealth’s minimum requirement established in the renewable portfolio standards (RPS). There are three attributes that distinguish renewable energy products:
- the percentage of the product that is renewable;
- the type of the renewable resources; and
- the quality of the renewable resources. For example, RPS Class I eligible renewable resources are located in New England and began operation after 1998.
Other products and services
Competitive suppliers may offer supply products that include:
- other energy-related products, which are related to your electricity usage (for example, smart thermostats, or solar-related products); and/or
- non‑energy related product and services (for example, rewards programs or gift cards).
Billing for competitive supply products
Competitive suppliers can bill you for their supply product in one of two ways:
- a consolidated-bill option, in which your competitive supplier uses your electric utility's company's monthly bill; and
- a dual-bill option, in which your competitive supplier sends you a separate bill for your supply product.
Unless you use a lot of electricity, most competitive suppliers use the consolidated-bill option. Under the consolidated-bill option, you will receive 1 bill from your electric utility company for delivery and supply services. Your electric utility company forwards the supply component of your payment to your competitive supplier.
Under the dual-bill option, you will receive 2 monthly bills - 1 bill from your electric company for delivery service, and 1 bill from your competitive supplier for supply service.