Competitive supply for natural gas

If you are a customer of a regulated gas company, you can purchase your gas supply through retail agents or gas suppliers

Supply Options for Massachusetts Gas Customers

If you are a gas customer in Massachusetts, you have the option of choosing a natural gas supplier other than your gas company.  

Your monthly bill is broken into two main charges:

  • Supply (or Commodity) Charge: This charge recovers the costs associated with purchasing and transporting natural gas to Massachusetts. Your gas company pays to purchase natural gas on your behalf at the current market price and passes the cost onto customers through a DPU-approved rate (known as the cost of gas adjustment or GAF rate). Because this charge is dependent on the wholesale natural gas market and the time of year, it can fluctuate from season to season.
  • Delivery (or Distribution) Charge: This charge recovers the cost of delivering natural gas through the gas company’s distribution system to your home or business. 

You can shop the competitive market and compare rates against ​your gas company's approved Supply rate.  The DPU posts the approved supply rates for all gas companies on its Cost of Gas Adjustment Factor website.  Your gas company’s supply rate will be adjusted on May 1st and November 1st of each year, with the possibility of additional DPU-approved revisions. 

Regardless of who your gas supplier is, your gas company will continue to deliver ​natural gas to your home or business, respond to emergency calls, read your meter, fix the pipes delivering gas, and provide customer service.  

Before switching over to the competitive market, you should consider asking the following questions to the potential supplier/retail agent:

  • What is the contract length?
  • Is the rate fixed or variable?
  • Are there any early termination or cancellation fees?
  • Who do I contact if I have questions?

Choose between a Gas Supplier and Retail Agent

If you are a gas customer looking to enter the competitive market, you have the option to contract with one of the following:

  • A gas supplier, an entity licensed to sell natural gas and related services to retail customers. A gas supplier holds a title to the natural gas at city gate deliveries. 220 CMR 14.02.
  • retail agent, an entity licensed to facilitate or otherwise arrange for the purchase and sale of natural gas and related services to customers. A retail agent acts as a conduit between gas suppliers and customers. 220 CMR 14.02.

The DPU does not regulate the prices offered by gas suppliers or retail agents.  Further, not all gas suppliers provide gas supply to all types of customers in all parts of Massachusetts.  In order to find out if a supplier serves you and at what supply rate, you must contact the supplier.

The DPU keeps a list of licensed gas suppliers and retail agents. If there is an “R” in the RCI column on the same line as the Company’s name, then the gas supplier or retail agent has requested, and is licensed, to serve residential customers. Gas suppliers and retail agents must apply to the DPU for a license and renew the license annually.

Looking to become a Supplier or Retail Agent?

If you want to become a gas supplier or retail agent in Massachusetts, you must first apply for a license from the DPU.  If you are a currently licensed by the DPU, you must renew your license every year prior to the expiration date.

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