Unitil electric customers in MassachusettsNew Hampshire have the option to purchase their electricity from competitive suppliers or take supply service from Unitil. Because New England restructured its electric industry over a decade ago to offer “retail choice” to electric customers, third party electric supply companies are allowed to solicit utility customers in our service territories. These solicitations refer to the “supply” rate of your bill, which is only one portion of the overall rate utility customers pay.
State regulations require utilities to solicit bids from the market suppliers every six months, and this supply rate, which reflects the current market cost to actually make the electricity, changes every six months on June 1 and December 1. Unitil obtains new bids from energy providers bi-annually. Over time, market prices change, depending on a number of factors, including the supply and demand for electricity. These prices fluctuate similar to the ways home heating oil and gasoline prices fluctuate.
All customers not purchasing electricity supply from a competitive supplier will be placed on Unitil’s BasicEnergy service. The availability of BasicEnergy Service ensures that no one will ever be without a supplier of electricity.
You Have Choices for Electricity Supply
Have you ever received a flyer or solicitation in the mail asking if you’d like to switch your electric supply to another provider? As a Unitil electric customer we know how confusing this can be, but it’s important to know you have options and to understand what these options mean. If you are thinking of selecting another provider, you should consider the following questions:
What is the term of the contract?
Are there minimum bill amounts?
Are the energy prices fixed, or will they change from month to month?
Does the supplier have a customer service center or website?
Will the supplier bill you directly, or will charges be included on your Unitil statement?
Are there early termination fees associated with the contract?
Are there charges associated with leaving utility service?
for a list of active energy suppliers in your state.
Fixed vs. Variable Service Rates
In Massachusetts, small General Service (GD-1) customers are placed on the fixed pricing option.Fixed basicenergy service rates will remain the same for six months at a time and are based on the weighted average price over the six-month period. Unitil will set the rates for each six-month period (effective June 1 and December 1) based on its contract with the provider. If you are assigned to this fixed rate, you are allowed to change to the monthly variable rate; however, you may only make this change once as long as you continue to receive uninterrupted basic service. You can find the fixed and variable rates per kilowatt hour (kWh) by rate class on our website in the Electric Rates section.
Regular General Service (G2, G4, G5) customers are placed on the variable monthly pricing option. These variable basic service rates change monthly and are based on the monthly prices in Unitil’s contract with its provider. If you are assigned to this variable monthly pricing option, you are allowed to change to the fixed pricing option; however, you may only make this change once
as long as you continue to receive uninterrupted basic service. You can find the fixed and variable rates per kilowatt hour (kWh) by month by rate class on our website in the Electric Rates section
. Large General Service (G3) customers receive market based pricing which is based on actual pricing, changes monthly, and are shown on the Electric Rates page
Variable energy service rates will change from month to month to reflect the actual cost of electricity purchased each month. If you are assigned to this rate, you are allowed to change to the fixed rate; however, you may only make this change once
. You can find the fixed and variable rates by month by rate class here
If you are a regular General Service (G2, G4, G5) customer and currently receive the fixed pricing option and do decide to switch to a competitive supplier before the six-month period is over, your electric bill will be recalculated to reflect the variable pricing option from the beginning of the six month period to the date you are switched. This ensures that you pay the actual costs of the electricity you have used. The adjustment may be a credit or debit, and will be reflected on your first bill after the switch is effective. Requests to switch to a competitive supplier are made on the next regularly scheduled meter read date as long as the Company has been notified two or more business days prior to that read date. An example of a bill recalculation is shown below.
Renewable Energy Supply Options
Unitil has discontinued its Renewable Source Option, also known as the Green Neighbor Program, effective December 19, 2013. Unitil appreciated your participation in the program; however, due to a lack of customer participation, it is not cost-effective to continue providing this particular service to customers. If you have an interest in renewable energy, the following is a list of some energy suppliers that offer renewable energy products:
The US Department of Energy provides a web page
with a listing of more than 20 energy suppliers that provide renewable energy and retail renewable energy credit products available to customer nationally or regionally.