Massachusetts Residents Speak Out Against Legislation to Block Energy Choice

June 7, 2023

Boston, MA (June 7, 2023) – At a Senate Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee hearing on Monday, stakeholders and customers spoke out against two proposed bills, House Bill 3196, sponsored by Rep. Frank Moran (D-17th Essex) and Senate Bill 2106, sponsored by Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Third Essex), that would close the residential competitive retail energy market in Massachusetts.

I have been a proud consumer in the choice market for electricity in the town of Brookline for over 10 years,” said Young Kim, testifying in opposition of market closure. “Recently, I bought an EV and found a supplier willing to give me a flat monthly bill no matter how much energy consumed. It was amazing value. I wanted to give the voice of the customer from a positive experience. I don’t think we should close the residential market. With the rise of EVs, heat pumps, and solar panels, I want every option on the table.”

Those calling for the closure of the market referenced a report by Susan Baldwin who was contracted by the Attorney General’s office to analyze the state’s retail energy market. The Retail Energy Advancement League (REAL) issued a release noting concerns with the report methodology and representation of data.

The most staggering omission was the absence of data for the past two calendar years. For example, during the most recent winter rate term, almost every offer from retail energy suppliers was below the utility default service rate and many were 100% renewable energy. Analyses show that if all utility ratepayers had switched to the lowest priced product in each service territory, residents would have saved $1.1 billion from November 2022 to April 2023.

The table below breaks down the current potential cost savings if all residents in each utility market switched to the lowest alternative offer. ​

Utility Supplier

Rate Term

Price to Compare

Lowest Alternative

Potential Market Monthly Savings




1/1/23 – 6/30/23




10.9 ¢/kWh

10.9 ¢/kWh

9.9 ¢/kWh


Eversource (WMECO)

1/1/23 – 6/30/23


11.5 ¢/kWh




NGRID (Nantucket)

5/1/23 – 10/31/23



11.5 ¢/kWh

14.0 ¢/kWh



Unitil – FGE

1/1/23 – 7/31/23


12.1 ¢/kWh


“Choice in competitive markets is the single most important consumer protection you can have,” said John Hanger in his testimony, a former consumer advocate and commissioner with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, who now lives in Shrewsbury, MA. “That $500M figure in the Attorney General’s report is based on a dataset that ended two years ago. That data ended in June 2021 and misses the whole ball game. In addition, those ‘overcharges’ are not overcharges at all. Those ‘overcharges’ are someone who signed up for a long-term contract. The report is saying ‘you got overcharged because you chose to have a long-term contract.’ That is not an overcharge; it is a difference in consumer preference.”

Customers across the Commonwealth who were unable to participate in the hearing, which was announced last week and held during the day, have shared their personal stories and opposition to any proposed removal of their right to choose their energy supplier.

“…to only be tied into one choice makes no sense to me. They need to talk to some of their constituents who use that and they need to understand it’s a really valuable tool that can save money in an environment where everybody is going through this inflationary period,” said Mike Kelly who lives in East Sandwich, Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, customers can shop for the supply portion of their electric bill. The commonwealth-managed website, lists available offers so customers can compare and find a supplier that aligns with their environmental goals.

Almost half a million Massachusetts residents are enrolled with a competitive supplier. Last summer, more than 1,200 customers signed a petition urging their legislator to oppose any market closure and protect their right to access the variety of products available from retail energy suppliers.

“I opt to pay a little more to get 100% clean energy from my current provider. There’s a benefit to having suppliers to choose from in electricity particularly when prices are posted online and it’s so easy to make comparisons. There may be some confusion on the part of legislators on how things are working or they may be focusing exclusively on price and not any other considerations,” said Larry Cole who lives in South Weymouth, Massachusetts.

As of June 2nd, there were 163 offers from competitive retailers for customers to choose from on EnergySwitchMA. Many of these offers were cheaper than the utility supply rate, with some products offering savings of 40-58%. Additionally, 72 of those options offer a 100% renewable product.

In the absence of proactive education for ratepayers about their options to shop, the Retail Energy Advancement League developed a shopping guide to help customers navigate the EnergySwitchMA website with explanations of contract terms and helpful shopping tips.

“I have exercised my energy choice right in Pennsylvania and shopped for energy supply for the past 15 years. When you look at some of the other state competitive markets, it becomes clear there are some fundamental consumer protections and market structures that do not exist in Massachusetts,” said Abby Foster, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for REAL. “We applaud Rep. Tackey Chan for his leadership in identifying the common sense reforms and consumer protections laid out in House Bill 3155 that will improve the market, rather than resorting to removing the right for Massachusetts residents to access options and choose for themselves.” ​

REAL Choice