Understanding the cost of electricity and your supplier options in MA's deregulated energy market
Massachusetts residents are no longer forced to get electricity from the utility companies. Deregulation allowed third-party suppliers to compete with utilities to provide electricity for your home. More players led to more competitive prices, and now you can often find lower rates by shopping the supply market.
The cost of each MA utility company's fixed basic service rate across all the areas they serve. This data is meant for informational purposes only, as prices will be different based on your exact zip code.
Current basic service rate
|Eversource (East)||15.764 ¢/kWh (valid through 01/01/2022 to 06/30/2022)|
|Eversource (West)||13.731 ¢/kWh (valid through 01/01/2022 to 06/30/2022)|
|National Grid (MA)||14.821 ¢/kWh (valid through 11/01/2021 to 04/30/2022)|
|Unitil||15.298 ¢/kWh (valid through 12/01/2021 to 05/31/2022)|
As a Massachusetts resident, you might be receiving electricity from one of the three main utility companies. If you've never talked with them about your current plan or shopped around yourself for more affordable or cleaner electricity options elsewhere, then you're likely on your utility's fixed basic service rate. This rate's made up of a few different cost components, but most notably, your utility is usually choosing an electricity supplier who submits to them the cheapest bid. The utility's goal is to pay the least for the electric supply, so they can pass on a low rate to you. But even still, you can often find a lower rate for a similar electricity plan through a third-party supplier directly—that's the beauty of a deregulated market. So don't just take the utility's word for it that you're getting the cheapest possible rate out there.
For the eco-conscious consumer, the fixed basic service rate also falls short on sustainability and green energy. The basic service consists of what's called “mixed energy”—that is, the energy is coming from part fossil fuels and part renewables with a higher emphasis on fossil fuels. And while the basic service must include a percentage of renewable energy as mandated by MA's minimal required standard, it does not exceed that standard like some of the competitive third-party suppliers do. So if cleaner energy is a priority for you, you can find it at more affordable, low-cost rates via the supplier market than through your utility company.
Eversource is New England's largest utility company, delivering electricity and gas to over 4M customers across Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Eversource has an East and West division—stemming from the acquisitions of Northeast Utilities (NSTAR) and Western Massachusetts Electricity Company (WMECo). Combined, Eversource brings electricity to key areas such as Greater Boston, Lexington, Newton, Brookline, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard in Eastern MA, and the Berkshires, Franklin and Hampshire in Western MA.
National Grid has headquarters in both the U.K. and the U.S., with their U.S. business based in Massachusetts and delivering electricity and gas to over 3M people in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. In total, National Grid serves 168 communities throughout Massachusetts including Brockton, Marlborough, Franklin and Nantucket Island.
Established in 1984, Unitil is the smallest of Massachusetts' three utility companies, serving electricity to more than 100K customers and gas to more than 80K customers. In addition to Massachusetts, Unitil also serves Maine and New Hampshire. In MA, their main territories are Ashby, Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg, Shirley, Townsend and West Townsend.
There are more than 40 energy suppliers in MA, each offering different electricity rates and mixes of electricity sources. Some of the more prominent suppliers are Constellation, Infinite Energy, North American Power, Sperian Energy and YEP Energy.
In certain cities and towns, residents don't use one of the three main utility companies—and instead have a dedicated municipally-owned electric company, or Municipal Light Plant.
Municipal aggregation or community choice electricity is when your city or town negotiates a rate with a third-party supplier on behalf of all residents—often lower than the utility's basic service rate but not always the cheapest rate available.
Taking advantage of MA's electricity supplier marketplace is the best way to find savings or upgrade to cleaner energy. But it can be time-consuming and confusing.
You need to shop the market: Supply rates go up and down and need your constant attention.
You need to become a contract expert: Suppliers may hike prices after an introductory period, or they put you on a variable rate.
You need to switch suppliers regularly: Waiting on hold. Hustling with customer service. You don't have time for that.
Perch handles all of that for you, automatically. We're always looking out for you, your wallet and the environment.
Non-renewable natural gas dominates MA's energy generation, but the tides are shifting and renewables are poised to make up significant ground in coming years. Fitting for a coastal state, hydro holds a modest but impactful percentage of current energy generation—coming from the 30 conventional hydroelectric power plants in the state. The most exciting development, however, will be in non-hydro renewables such as solar and wind, each seeing a historical level of support in the form of increased funding, government incentives, research and development.
In 1997, it was one of the first states to implement a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring utilities and electricity suppliers to meet a minimum percentage of their electricity to be produced by renewable sources.
Massachusetts has continuously updated its RPS percentage, most recently to 51% (2022), and potential new legislation could accelerate that percentage even more in future years.
Initiatives like the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) offer cash incentives to homeowners and businesses that install solar panels.
The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) establishes statewide limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
MA is investing heavily in renewable energy projects like the development of the U.S.'s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm—set to contribute energy to the grid in 2023.
It's these government regulations and project investments that will continue to transform access to renewable energy in Massachusetts—making it available to everyone at affordable costs. As it becomes easier and more financially beneficial for developers to build (and investors to invest in) renewable energy projects, those savings get passed onto consumers in the form of lower electricity rates on this clean energy.
In fact, in many locations across America, it is actually cheaper now to build new wind energy and solar projects than it is to operate existing coal-fired power plants. The days of renewable energy equaling expensive energy are gone.
As a renter or homeowner in Massachusetts, your cost of electricity is directly impacted by your individual and household energy usage. The first step to keeping your usage—and your bill—low is understanding what aspects of your home are using up the most power.
MA's deregulated energy market can be beneficial for both the cost-conscious consumer and the eco-conscious — helping lower your rates or going greener, or sometimes both. If you're on your utility's fixed basic service rate, you may be paying more than what you could find for a similar mixed energy plan by shopping suppliers directly.
Consumers currently on a fully clean energy plan may be overpaying.
Your utility might be upcharging you unnecessary amounts for that greener energy. And for those wanting to upgrade to a cleaner energy plan from a basic plan, you shouldn't have to pay a sky-high rate for it.
There are affordable options available in the electricity supply market.
But the process of monitoring the market is complex, time-consuming, and sometimes misleading: Comparing plans, analyzing fine print around usage limits and rate hikes—and then you still have to manually switch every time you find a good deal.
Let Perch handle it for you.
We'll first analyze your electric bill to understand your current costs.
We'll then continuously monitor the supply marketplace to find you the lowest possible rate based on your desired energy mix (remaining on a mixed energy plan typically leads to greater savings while going 100% green energy has a greater environmental impact).
You won't notice any interruptions to your service—our automated matching technology seamlessly works behind the scenes.
Best part is: we don't stop after we find you a low-cost plan. We'll continue to monitor the market and switch you as soon as a new, cheaper plan is available. You're always getting the lowest possible electricity rates compared to similar options in the market—and based on your preferred type of energy.