With electricity rates set to soar to record high prices this summer, Attorney General Maura Healey has launched a campaign to educate customers about programs available to reduce energy usage and lower bills.
Inflation, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and other factors are driving up fossil fuel prices and, in turn, energy rates for customers across the country this summer. As part of a new education campaign, the attorney general’s office is airing radio PSAs, including over WHAV; distributing multilingual flyers; updating its website; and conducting trainings and webinars.
“As temperatures rise this summer, so will your monthly bills. We want families who are worried about paying their monthly bills to know that help is available to manage these record high energy rates,” said Healey. “My office will continue to be a resource for customers looking for guidance on lowering energy usage and ways to cut down on costs in the coming months.”
Steps households may take include lowering energy usage by contacting Mass Save for an energy efficiency audit, installing a programmable thermostat and closing window coverings to reduce indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. Customers interested in reducing energy usage through solar panels or community solar programs will find resources at mass.gov/ago/solar.
Other options include enrolling in a payment plan or budget billing with utility companies or look into income-eligible assistance programs, balance forgiveness from the utility or help from the Good Neighbor Energy Fund.
Customers may be eligible for low-income assistance even if they have not been eligible in the past since eligibility is based on the last four weeks of gross household income. Customers may also qualify for a balance forgiveness or arrearage management program that also allows all or a portion of an outstanding unpaid balance to be forgiven.
The AG’s office also 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. A report released by the AG’s office in April 2021 showed Massachusetts customers who received their electricity from competitive suppliers were charged $426 million more on their bills than if they would have stayed with their utility. The report also found these suppliers charge low-income residents and residents in communities of color higher rates for their electricity.
Customers who have concerns about their utility rights may contact the attorney general’s consumer assistance hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online.