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Small Businesses in the New England area: Massachusetts DPU Orders Elimination of Bill Recalculation Provision

By Direct Energy Business

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an order to eliminate the electric basic service bill recalculation for residential and small commercial customers, effective immediately.

This initiative is intended to provide customers with information regarding competitive supply products that are accurate, transparent, and understandable. It also serves to improve customers’ protection related to marketing and delivery of competitive supplier offerings.

What is the basic service bill recalculation?

This provision retroactively applied monthly basic service rates to the customer’s prior usage (instead of the fixed rate the customer had been paying) when the customer would leave basic service during the pricing term.  This could have resulted in charges or credits to the customer based on basic service pricing.

The Department stated that recalculating bills in this manner would ensure that basic service customers pay the full costs of providing the service for the period that customers receive the service.

What does this mean for small businesses and residential customers?

The elimination of the basic service bill recalculation will apply to both small business and residential customers that either switch to a supplier by their own will, or those included in opt-out municipal aggregations. This means a municipality or county can negotiate for the purchase of the combined electric supply of its residents and eligible small businesses.

Are large Commercial and Industrial (C&I) customers affected?

No- the basic service bill recalculation remains in effect for large C&I customers.

The DPU observed that the issue of treating municipal aggregation customers differently with respect to the basic service bill recalculation was not identified in its original notice, and will not treat municipal aggregation customers differently than other residential and small C&I customers at this time.

However, the Department "determines it is appropriate to investigate bill recalculation in the context of municipal aggregations, and will issue a separate request for comments on whether the Department should continue bill recalculation for customers of a municipal aggregation."

For more information on this matter, please visit mass.gov.

To view our electricity and natural gas offers for small businesses, please visit our Small Business page. Stay tuned on the latest energy market information via the Direct Energy Business blog.

Stephen Girard, Head of Small Business at Direct Energy Business, has worked in the energy industry for 10 years and started heading up Small Business in November 2013.

 

Posted: April 16, 2015

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