BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP)– The state wants consumers to be aware of ways to offset the expected rise in electricity prices this summer.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is partnering with service organizations and municipalities across the state to inform customers on the new rates and the available financial assistance programs with an ad campaign, an updated website, and trainings and webinars.
Some of the ideas being shared to consumers include:
Lower your energy usage-adjust your air conditioner setting, either manually or by installing a programmable thermostat. For every degree higher, the unit will use 1 to 3 percent less electricity. Closing window shades and curtains on hot sunny days can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. Use the dish washer, washing machine and dryer later in the evening. Turn off lights. Consider reducing energy usage through solar panels or community solar programs.
Enroll in a payment plan with your utility-Massachusetts utility companies offer several financial assistance programs for customers, including flexible payment plans – regardless of income.
Look into income-eligible assistance programs-Customers who are struggling financially may want to consult with their utility company to see if they qualify for an income-eligible rate. Customers who have a household income that is between 60 to 80 percent of the state median income may be able to seek help from the Good Neighbor Energy Fund.
Beware of competitive suppliers-The AG’s Office urges customers to beware of deceptive competitive electric suppliers who may try to take advantage of this summer’s high rates and lure customers in with a promise of cheaper electricity. Many sign a contract only to find that after a certain time period, the rates rise significantly higher than the local supplier.
Massachusetts residents and businesses are eligible for a free energy efficiency audit through Mass Save. The audit can help find ways to reduce overall energy use.
For more information on electric prices and the available assistance programs view the AG’s new resource flyer and webpage, which includes contact information for the state’s utility companies. Customers who have concerns about their utility rights should contact the AG’s consumer assistance hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online.