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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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Diane Simpson

Mass Energy (in Massachusetts) and People’s Power & Light (in Rhode Island) make up "Energy Consumers Alliance of New England", an IRS-designated 501(c)3. They are an awesome company. I used to work for them November-February in the heating oil program. The only reason I left is because I got a year-round job. They are truly dedicated and knowledgeable people on the topic of electricity and renewable energy. Phil Lindsey runs the heating oil program. They do an amazing amount on a shoestring!

R. Michelle Green

I live in a locked door apartment building, but someone let the clean cut guy with the clipboard in with them, so I got a knock on my door. He flashed a badge that said "agent representative" of a company that seemed familiar. Was it Nstar? Was it New Energy? too fast to see/remember. He pointed at a bill mockup to tell me the rates were going up, and he wanted to see my bill to "ensure that the rates were proper". I told him I was leaving in a few minutes, and couldn't talk to him now. He asked when he could come back. I said "some other time." He smiled and said were mornings afternoons or evenings better? I said mornings and closed the door. The entire interaction took maybe 90 seconds.

He didn't announce himself as a salesperson, or ask if I wanted to lower my rates, or learn more about rate changes. He wanted to see my bill. He could tailor his actions and approach from there.

George's advice is excellent -- do NOT offer your bill to someone just because they ask for it. If you've ever wondered why you go through so many hoops if you change long distance carriers on a phone, it's because way back when, deregulated phone companies switched people without their knowledge. The same behavior is going on with many energy companies in Massachusetts.

Thanks George for sharing some tools to help people like me make decisions.

Darlene

George,
Thank you for excellent information that would have been daunting to gather!

George

Received a phone call today from Starion Energy (http://starionenergy.com/ ). The phone rep offered 9 cents per kilowatt hour (Kwh) for my Zip Code. I asked the rep what fees they charge. Rep said a "supplier fee" of 24 cents per day.

The math:
A = Starion's supplier fee = 24 cents/day X 30 days/month = $ 7.20
B = Our recent usage = 280 kwh/month
C = Generation charge last month by our utility = 10 cents/kwh
D = Starion generation rate quote = 9 cents/kwh
E = Estimated generation rate difference = C - D = 10 - 9 = 1 cent/kwh
F = Generation savings = B X E = 280 X 1 cent = $2.80 per month
G = Net savings/(loss) = F - A = $2.80 - $7.20 = ($ 4.40) per month

Starion's monthly fee exceeds the generation savings. So, it's not a good deal for us given our usage. Rates for your Zip Code may be different. Your monthly kwh usage is probably different. I haven't checked Starion's consumer agreement to see what might be buried in there. No need for me to look further.

Fees matter folks!

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

George

Readers:

I should have posted this sooner. On May 29, I received a nice e-mail from the Kerry Cooper, the CEO at Choose Energy. The e-mail:

"George, I wanted to reach out and say thank you for your comprehensive review of electricity shopping in MA and your frustrations with our site. It was comprehensive and spot on in the things we need to work on. We will do better! We aim to be a great customer advocate and make a daunting process easier - and have a ways to go. Thank you and have a great weekend,"

later this fall, I will revisit the Choose Energy site, and report in a future blog post what I find.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

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