Massachusetts successfully implemented a competitive energy market that has significantly reduced costs for consumers and promoted the development of clean energy resources. A recent study found that the cumulative average utility rate increase was roughly 40% for customers of restructured states, while it was nearly 60% higher for non-restructured states between 1997-2014.
Utility companies such as Eversource Energy and National Grid are responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity and gas to customers. The Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE) serves as the Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), managing the transmission of electricity across the region and ensuring a reliable electricity supply. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) oversees the wholesale electricity market and regulates interstate electricity sales and transmission. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approves rate changes from utilities for electricity delivery services charged. While customers receive transmission and distribution services from their utility company, they have the option to choose a competitive supplier for their electricity generation. Competitive suppliers offer a variety of options, including fixed or variable rates, renewable energy options, and other incentives.
The Massachusetts energy sector has some of the nation’s most forward thinking environmental policies. The Massachusetts RPS requires retail electricity suppliers to obtain a percentage of their electricity from renewable energy facilities. They meet this obligation by acquiring RECs, (Renewable Energy Credits) traded and tracked at the New England Power Pool Generation Information System. RPS standards are broken down into the following categories.
The fuel mix in New England has changed over time with the addition of more efficient natural gas plants and renewable sources of generation, resulting in a decrease in emissions of both conventional pollutants and carbon from power plants in the region. The Clean Energy Standard sets a minimum percentage of electricity sales that utilities and competitive retail suppliers must procure from clean energy sources. You can learn more here: https://www.mass.gov/renewable-energy-portfolio-standard
In Massachusetts, consumers can shop for electricity by accessing the state’s online database of licensed energy suppliers. This database provides a list of suppliers offering competitive pricing for electricity generation services, renewable energy options, and other incentives. Customers can compare different suppliers’ rates, contract terms, and other features, and choose the one that best meets their needs. Once a customer selects a supplier, the supplier will work with the utility company to ensure the electricity is delivered to the customer’s home or business. You can check out our shopping guide here or make the change on energyswitchma.gov.
In Massachusetts, the retail energy market is regulated by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to ensure fair and transparent practices. Retail energy service providers (RESPs) are required to disclose all rates, fees, and terms and conditions of service to customers before they sign a contract. They must also provide customers with a summary of the contract in plain language. RESPs must have formal procedures in place to handle complaints and disputes, and these procedures must be easy to understand and use. Additionally, RESPs are required to offer price protection options to customers, like fixed rates, to help protect customers from unexpected price increases. Customers must provide their consent before an RESP can switch their energy service. If a customer feels that they have been switched without their consent, they can file a complaint with the DPU. The DPU provides educational materials and resources to help customers understand their rights and make informed decisions about their energy service.
You can find more information on the Mass.gov page.
The 2025/2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) is expected to help the Massachusetts economy grow while achieving emissions limits and sublimits. Economic analysis shows that it will create over 22,000 new jobs by 2030, with most being in clean energy projects. The new jobs will be middle to high wages, paying over $26 per hour. Households are expected to save approximately $400 per year due to reduced consumer spending on imported oil and gas. Additionally, improved air quality will result in public health benefits worth over $400 million per year. Policies mandating energy efficiency investments show the greatest cost savings, while renewable energy requirements produce cost savings that exceed program costs.