Gov.'s Administration Favors Bill Banning New Residential Enrollments With Retail Energy Suppliers
The administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today supported a bill (S 2150/H 3352) which would ban new individual residential contracts for retail energy supply
The prohibition would not impact residential enrollments under opt-out municipal aggregation
As filed, the bill provides, "Beginning on January 1, 2022, no supplier, energy marketer, or energy broker shall execute a new contract for generation services with any individual residential retail customer. This provision shall not apply to, or otherwise affect, any government body that aggregates the load of residential retail customers as part of a municipal aggregation plan pursuant to chapter 164, § 134."
According to a report published by WWLP, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides testified during a legislative hearing today that, "It's clear that individual competitive supply market for residential customers has not delivered on its promise of lower rates for residential customers."
"In fact, the evidence shows that it has increased rates, particularly for the state's most vulnerable residents and is causing them undeniable harm," Theoharides said, according to a report published by WWLP
"I can't sit here today and tell you that this industry brings any benefit to residential customers," Theoharides is quoted as saying by WWLP
"We believe at this juncture that the market cannot continue as currently structured and not until there's a stronger framework in place that protects our most vulnerable residents from the predatory tactics so widespread in the current competitive supply market," Theoharides is quoted as saying by WWLP
Theoharides said that the administration is open to residential retail choice if a structure that protects consumers can be found, but supports the ban on new enrollments until such structure is developed
"It's not that we don't think individual residential competitive supply could exist and could be structured to exist and potentially benefit customers and ratepayers, and particularly as we move forward with electrification and advanced metering and all of these things, it's likely to play a role," Theoharides is quoted as saying by WWLP
"But we feel very strongly that given the lack of benefits we're seeing and the significant impacts that we're seeing, particularly to low-income ratepayers, we have to stop it now before moving forward and looking at what the future could bring," Theoharides is quoted as saying by WWLP
Lawmakers also heard from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who presented the AG's latest comparison of retail supply and default service rates, which had been previously reported in April (story here)
As detailed by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, such report stated that, "in the last five years, individual residential customers who received their electricity from competitive suppliers paid $426 million more on their bills than they would have paid if they had stayed with their utility companies." The amount paid by shopping customers above default service rates was about $86 million in each of the past two years, the AG's office has said