Mass. AG: Competitive electric suppliers costing consumers millions

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey wants to stop competitive electric suppliers from operating in the commonwealth.

“They have abused and overcharged Massachusetts customers for way too long,” Healey said at a news conference Thursday morning.

According to a report commissioned by Healey, “Massachusetts consumers in the competitive supply market paid $176.8 million more than they would have paid if they had received electric supply from their electric company during the two-year period from July 2015 to June 2017.”

The report also says “absent legislative and regulatory intervention, the existing competitive supply market will continue to lead to substantial and unwarranted consumer harm.”

The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA), a national industry trade association comprised of over twenty retail energy suppliers, is fighting back. In a statement to Eyewitness News, RESA said it was “dismayed” by Healey’s announcement.

“Ms. Healey’s message takes a sharp yet unfounded aim at the competitive electric power industry,” the group said. “Her recommendation to terminate residential retail choice is effectively taking away the right to choose and leaving consumers stranded on utility monopoly supply service. RESA believes that is not in the best interest of Massachusetts consumers.”

Healey’s stance is in stark contrast to Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, who has touted competitive electric suppliers and the Empower RI website as a place for consumers to safely shop for the best electric rates.

Now, McKee says he plans to introduce legislation that would add a new layer of protection for Rhode Island consumers.

Under his proposal, detailed in a letter to the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, any customers who chose an alternate supplier will be automatically dis-enrolled and return to the standard offer at the end of each term to avoid being placed on more expensive rate plans.

Andrea Palagi, McKee’s communications director, called the proposal a natural next step in the effort to protect consumers. 

“Individuals who are using the state’s Empower RI website to choose a competitive supplier and those paying attention to the required contract notifications are benefiting from significant savings on their electric bills,” Palagi wrote in an email.

“We do not want to see these savings eliminated,” she continued. “Instead, we are making this proposal to protect consumers who may not be using Empower RI or paying close attention to their contract terms.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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