At MA State House ‘Energy Market Breakfast,’ REAL & Two Former State Utility Commissioners Present Overview of Energy Market, Share How Consumers Can Shop & Save
November 15, 2023
Amid rising winter electric rates, REAL and two former state utility commissioners provided a briefing to legislators and staff on the state of the Massachusetts energy market, options for customers seeking cost-savings and resources for their constituents.
Paul Hibbard – Former Chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
The benefits of a functioning competitive market for retail electricity go well beyond price; it allows consumers to exercise choice, drives lower long-run costs through the pressure of competition, fosters innovation, and allows for unique product offerings tailored to consumer interest.
Analyses of retail markets to date have not included a review of the comprehensive benefits and made “apples to oranges” comparisons between default service and the variety of retail product offerings
While it has been proven that retail energy markets drive lower long-run costs through the pressure of competition, evaluations of the benefits or success of these markets cannot rely solely on price and cost savings.
Bad experiences in some states with the actions and predatory practices of some retail suppliers can be effectively ironed out with straightforward changes to the regulatory construct.
A comprehensive review demonstrates retail energy choice has fostered innovation, accelerated the reduction of carbon emissions, increased consumer engagement and control of their energy usage and provided consumers with a variety of products tailored to their unique energy needs and preferences.
John Hanger – Former Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Patronizing customers on shopping has pacified customers on shopping. We have to empower and activate the demand side of the residential customer market to successfully decarbonize.
The five states with the highest carbon emissions intensity use government power to protect monopoly utilities and prohibit competition.
Virtual Power Plants have emerged as a key tool for decarbonization efforts. Competitive retail markets provide a catalyst for their success where energy providers are incentivized to explore and invest in various sources of power generation like solar, storage, and other distributed energy resources, giving customers more options to support clean energy development.
Abby Foster, Vice President of Policy & Advocacy with the Retail Energy Advancement League
In addition to cost-savings, retail energy suppliers offer value-added products such as fixed-rate plans, flat monthly bills, EV charging incentives, home energy products and more.
Customers need to know they have options and how to access and use the state-managed shopping website EnergySwitchMA.gov to compare products and plans.
Educating customers about changes in rates, contract terms, their rights and how to identify scams creates an informed customer population, resulting in a protected consumer population.
REAL thanks Representative Tackey Chan for creating the opportunity to provide this briefing and for his leadership championing reforms to modernize Massachusetts’ retail energy market and improve consumer protections through proposed legislation (H. 3155). On Tuesday, Rep. Chan discussed the intricacies of the energy market, how retail choice has evolved over the past few decades, and why reform, rather than market closure, offers the best path forward for Massachusetts.
The Retail Energy Advancement League (REAL) is a national advocacy organization dedicated to the expansion and modernization of American retail energy markets. In many states, utility monopolies still control the electric market and customers can’t choose where they buy their electricity and gas.