Massachusetts Electric Company's 42,000 business and municipal customers taking default service now have new choices of power suppliers and an opportunity to lower their electric bills thanks to a recent order by the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) and a new initiative the company announced last week.

The "New Choices" program is designed to jump-start the competitive retail electric marketplace by encouraging increased supplier activity and facilitating the flow of information and communication between "default service" customers and suppliers.

As a result of recent increases in wholesale supply costs, driven by high oil and gas prices, Massachusetts Electric's customers on default service are facing rates for the power supply portion of their bill ranging from 9 to 11.9 cents per kWh in July and August, depending on their customer class and whether they have opted for a fixed or fluctuating rate. Competitive supplier offerings under the New Choices initiative could yield substantial savings for business and municipal customers on default service.

New Choices, which is designed to comply with the DTE's June 29, 2001 order, consists of two parts:

  • Massachusetts Electric conducted an extensive outreach program to recruit suppliers already registered with the DTE who are "ready, willing, and able" to make competitive offers to customers on default service. The list of participating suppliers will be communicated to customers on default service through bill messages, Massachusetts Electric's Website, and meetings with customer, civic, community, and other groups.
  • Massachusetts Electric will make mailing lists of customers on default service available to qualifying suppliers who already are licensed by the DTE. To receive the lists, suppliers must agree to use such customer information exclusively to market power and energy-related services.