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Energy Freedom Thanks to Deregulation in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is one of the many states in the country where energy consumers have a choice of both their electricity and natural gas suppliers. Unlike some markets where choices are more limited to one commodity or narrowed by location, most of Massachusetts plays by the same rules when it comes to energy deregulation.

You can still purchase your natural gas or electricity supply from your utility if you want to, but choosing a regulated rate plan isn't for everyone. For one thing, you'll have less control over your costs by going with the utility rate in comparison to your options when you choose your own supplier. Still, it's important to know your options so that you can make an informed decision.

Deregulated service areas in Massachusetts

Before you can make the most of the Massachusetts laws that bring energy choice to so many people, you have to ensure you live in a deregulated area. Consumers in the service territories of these utilities have the option of choosing a competitive plan:

Electricity:

  • Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company
  • National Grid
  • NSTAR Electric
  • Western Massachusetts Electric Company

Natural Gas:

  • Bay State Gas Company (Columbia Gas of Massachusetts)
  • Berkshire Gas Company
  • Blackstone Gas Company
  • Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company
  • National Grid
  • New England Gas Company
  • NSTAR Gas

Choosing a plan from a competitive supplier is as simple as entering your ZIP code here at SaveOnEnergy.com®. If any of our partners offer competitive plans in your area, we make it easy to compare the options available to you.

Learn More About Massachusetts Electricity Deregulation

Massachusetts deregulated its energy market in 1998, essentially creating a separation between the supply and delivery portions of electricity service. Retail electricity suppliers were allowed to enter the state to offer competitive energy supply options for consumers.

Regardless of whether you choose a competitive supplier or your utility for electricity supply, you will see both charges on your energy bill. Your utility will always charge you delivery fees because it retains the responsibility of transporting electricity to your home, as it owns the infrastructure capable of distribution.

Retail suppliers are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, but the prices these companies charge are relative to wholesale prices in the electricity market. Sometimes, these wholesale supply prices translate into savings for Massachusetts customers who shop around.

Do you find yourself asking: Who is the best electricity provider in MA? By comparing rates, plans and customer service options, you can easily discover which alternative electric supplier will work best for you.

Deciding what qualities are important to you is the first step to shopping for a retail energy supplier. For example, if you are an environmental enthusiast or just want to combat climate change, you may want to purchase a plan from a retail supplier that offers green energy. If you need to cut the costs of your energy bill, you should look for the supplier that offers the lowest electricity rate in Massachusetts. Another factor you might want to compare is customer service. Do you want to make online payments? Do you want 24-hour assistance? Is a rewards program important to you? By considering these options, you are sure to find the best electricity provider in MA.

Massachusetts Allows for Natural Gas Options Too

In the late 1990s Massachusetts unbundled the supply and delivery portions of natural gas service, creating an environment of increased competition for customer benefit. Residential, business and industrial customers were given the opportunity to choose among competitive natural gas suppliers.

The idea behind the unbundling, or deregulation, of the natural gas industry was to give consumers an alternative to the local utility's rates. Before this legislation went into effect, residents had to purchase natural gas from their utility.

After the law passed, everything changed. Consumers were given the freedom of natural gas choice in most areas of Massachusetts. You no longer have to settle for utility supply rates or plans. You can shop around to find the natural gas supplier that best fits your needs!

The difference between competitive suppliers and your utility is simple. Competitive natural gas providers sell unique packages for your natural gas supply directly to consumers. They purchase gas in bulk allowing them to offer different pricing and a number of plan options to cater to different types of consumers.

If you'd rather not shop for a new plan, Massachusetts law allows you to receive default service from your utility. Regardless of whether you opt to go with a competitive supplier or not, your utility will continue to deliver your gas to your home because it still owns and maintains the infrastructure in its service area.

Reporting an electricity outage or a natural gas emergency

If your electricity is out or you're experiencing a natural gas outage or emergency, you need to contact your utility company immediately to ensure that repair crews are notified as quickly as possible. Find your utility below for their contact number:

Electricity

Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company (Unitil)
Outage hotline: 1-888-301-7700

National Grid
Outage hotline: 1-800-465-1212

NSTAR Electric
Outage hotline: 1-800-592-2000

Western Massachusetts Electric Company
Outage hotline for Springfield: 1-413-781-4300
Outage hotline for all other areas: 1-877-659-6326

Natural Gas

Bay State Gas Company (Columbia Gas of Massachusetts)
Emergency hotline: 1-800-525-8222

Berkshire Gas Company
Emergency hotline: 1-888-779-8559

Blackstone Gas Company
Emergency hotline: 1-508-883-9516

Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company (Unitil)
Emergency hotline: 1-866-542-3547

National Grid
Emergency hotline: 1-800-233-5325

New England Gas Company
Emergency hotline: 1-800-936-7000

NSTAR Gas
Emergency hotline: 1-800-592-2000

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How does Massachusetts energy use measure up?

state facts pdf

Ever wonder how much energy the average resident uses each year? How about how much carbon dioxide the state emits or how big the renewable energy industry is? We did the homework for you and created some glance-worthy fact sheets on each state's energy profile.

Check it out