Attorney General Report Says Massachusetts Residents Lost $173 Million Through Competitive Electric Supply Contracts In Last Two Years
April 1, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
The following story is brought free of charge to readers byEC Infosystems, the exclusive EDI provider of EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey released a report that found, "in the last five years, individual residential customers who received their electricity from competitive suppliers paid $426 million more on their bills than they would have paid if they had stayed with their utility companies."
The AG's office said that the approximately 450,000 individual residential customers in the state who are currently enrolled with competitive suppliers lost $173 million in the most recent two years of data examined in the report (June 2018 to June 2020). The loss in each of the past two years was about $86 million each year
As previously reported, the Retail Energy Supply Association recently released an analysis that showed that Massachusetts residents could save at least 9% by selecting a retail energy supplier, "creating significant potential saving to consumers of more than $522 million over three years (2018-2020)."
RESA, in announcing its analysis earlier this month, said that this finding, "contradicts claims made by the Massachusetts Attorney General Office," concerning the customer experience under retail electric choice
The AG's office said, "The AG’s report also found that these suppliers continue to charge low-income residents and residents in communities of color higher rates for their electricity."
As previously reported, the AG's office supports legislation that AG Healey, Sen. Brendan Crighton, and Rep. Frank Moran filed earlier this year that will ban retail suppliers from signing up new individual residential customers in Massachusetts.
"Our report shows that these companies continue to drain millions from communities across our state, and worse, our most vulnerable neighbors are being hit hardest in the midst of a deadly pandemic," AG Healey said. "We’ve heard far too many stories of these companies going door-to-door and calling residents over and over with false promises of cheaper electricity bills, only to stick customers with a higher rate and a contract they can’t get out of. It’s time to pass legislation to protect our residents from these inflated prices and put an end to this deception."
The AG's office said, "The AG’s report found that low-income customers in Massachusetts are nearly twice as likely to sign up with individual competitive electric suppliers and that they are also charged higher rates than non-low-income customers."
"According to the report, individual non-low-income customers who receive their electricity from competitive electric suppliers lose an average of $194 annually, but low-income customers lose even more -- an average of $241 annually," the AG's office said
"The AG’s report also found that the consumer losses in this market are disproportionately borne by residents in zip codes with a higher concentration of low-income and residents of color in many of the state’s Gateway Cities. In September 2019 alone, Worcester residents collectively lost nearly $400,000 to competitive electric suppliers—more than any other city or town in the state. Similarly, residents in Fall River, Lowell, Brockton, Lynn, and Lawrence lost more than $180,000 in the individual competitive supply market in the same single month," the AG's office said
The AG’s report did not analyze the market for commercial and industrial consumers, nor did it examine the state’s approximately 150 municipal aggregation programs.
Residents in Massachusetts have filed more than 1,000 complaints with the AG’s Office about competitive suppliers engaging in aggressive and deceptive tactics, the AG's office said. Complaints include conduct such as suppliers pretending to be utility companies to induce customers to turn over sensitive information; suppliers harassing customers with repeated calls or home visits; and door-to-door salespeople forcing their way into elderly customers’ homes and refusing to leave without signed contracts.