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RESA: Millions in Potential Electricity Savings Available to Rhode Island Consumers From Shopping, Competitive Market Offers Customers Alternatives to National Grid 53% Rate Spike

August 25, 2017

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Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • ring@energychoicematters.com

The Retail Energy Supply Association issued an analysis finding that many competitive retail electric supply offers listed on the state's Empower RI website are priced below the 53% National Grid default service rate hike which will take effect in October

As previously reported, the SOS rate for the Narraganset Electric Residential Customer Group for the October 2017 through March 2018 period, including the current per-kWh Standard Offer Adjustment Factor of ($0.00465), the Administrative Cost Factor of $0.00148, and the Renewable Energy Charge of $0.00040 is jumping to $0.09515/kWh. This is an increase of $0.03287/kWh or 53%, compared with the current SOS rate of $0.06228/kWh.

RESA said that if all Rhode Island electricity consumers taking utility standard rate service switched to these lowest available competitive offers, the potential monthly savings are more than $10.7 million.

While RESA touted savings available from individual shopping, EnergyChoiceMatters itself notes that the continued fallout from the 53% increase in SOS rates -- driven by capacity market prices -- has led other stakeholders to call for changes in state law that would remove alleged barriers to communities' existing authority to implement opt-out municipal aggregations, as further discussed by RetailEnergyX.com today (see story here)

"Customers can take control of their energy costs by considering competitive alternatives to National Grid’s standard service rate," said Retail Energy Supply Association spokesman Bryan Lee. "Customers have a range of valuable energy supply options, including fixed rates that can protect against volatile price spikes. If all the state’s electricity customers receiving utility service instead chose the lowest available competitive offer, considerable potential savings would be realized."

As of Aug. 15 in National Grid’s service territory, 19 competitive supply offers were available from seven competitive suppliers. Of those, eight would provide a fixed rate below the utility rate and seven offered renewable energy, RESA said

"Price is only one factor consumers weigh when choosing electricity supply," said Marc Hanks, RESA’s New England chairman. Suppliers are innovating and developing value-added products and services that go beyond price to differentiate themselves from competitors, he noted. While some provide incentives like gift cards and loyalty points, others offer smart thermostats, smart devices and energy services that allow consumers to take charge of their energy usage. Chief among these value-added products are 'green' energy options that allow consumers to express their environmental preferences through their electricity purchase."

"Rhode Island’s consumers are benefiting from a range of developing value-added products and services available through competitive supplier product differentiation. Price is only one consideration," Hanks said. "By failing to consider alternatives to utility standard offer service consumers are failing to benefit from the value and emerging innovation available through the state’s competitive energy market."

The analysis of potential savings is derived using information readily available to consumers at https://www.ri.gov/app/dpuc/empowerri, the state’s official rate board website. "The state of Rhode Island has developed an excellent and comprehensive tool to inform and compare the many choices designed to help consumers find the option best suited to meet their energy needs," Hanks said.

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