“New Report Finds Consumers Continue to Lose Millions of Dollars from Contracts with Suppliers and That Consumers in Low-Income Communities, Communities of Color and Gateway Communities Are Disproportionately Harmed.
Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell released a report that found that in the last six years, individual residential customers who received their electric supply from competitive suppliers paid $525 million more on their electric bills than they would have paid if they stayed with their utility companies.
This is the fourth report from the AG’s Office that shows that residents who enroll with these companies continue to overpay for electric supply by tens of millions of dollars each year. Overall, the approximately 430,000 individual residential customers in the state who are currently enrolled with competitive suppliers on average lost $231 a year – the highest average annual loss reported by the AG’s Office to date.
“This report once again sounds the alarm on competitive electric supply companies that pitch consumers on the idea of cheaper electricity bills, while they charge higher rates that drain millions from our communities,” said AG Campbell. “We know this injustice hits communities of color and low-income communities the hardest, and my office will continue to draw attention to these predatory actions and advocate for legislation that will protect our residents.”
Today’s report highlights the urgent need to pass legislation that AG Campbell, Senator Brendan Crighton and Representative Frank Moran filed earlier this year that will ban these companies from signing up new individual residential customers in Massachusetts.
Key findings in this report include:
• Low-income customers in Massachusetts are nearly twice as likely to sign up with individual competitive electric suppliers and that they are also charged higher rates than non-low-income customers.
• Assuming 600 kWh/month usage, an average non-low-income customer lost $222 per year while the average low-income customer lost $254 per year, during the study period.
• Low-income customers collectively lost over $20 million on net in higher rates and monthly fees, during the study period
• The continuation of consumer losses is disproportionately borne by residents in zip codes with a higher concentration of low-income and residents of color in many of the state’s Gateway Cities, including Springfield, Worcester, Fall River and Lowell.
• Any resident with concerns about these deceptive marketing practices should file a complaint with the AG’s Office or call the consumer hotline at (617) 727-8400. Residents with questions can also contact the Consumer Division of the Department of Public Utilities at (877) 886-5066.
This matter is being handled by Division Chief Nathan Forster, Deputy Division Chief Elizabeth Anderson, and all of AG Campbell’s Energy and Telecommunications Division.”-Mass.gov.