A review released by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) on June 21 has found that competitive retail energy suppliers in New Hampshire actively are posting more than 70 different residential plans at prices highly competitive with default rates offered by the state’s utility distribution companies.
“New Hampshire’s [Energy Choice] website presents a wealth of competitive electricity products that offer Granite State consumers the opportunity to realize savings on their bill[s],” said RESA’s New England Chairman Marc Hanks, adding, “But there also are a wide range of value-added product offerings – the most prominent among them, …‘green’ energy products that offer consumers an opportunity to buy clean electricity that helps the environment.”
Indeed, he identified 19 offers on the site – or roughly 27 percent – that provide customers with 100 percent renewable energy.
“Unlike the distribution utilities,, [which] have a captive customer base,” Hanks explained, “electricity suppliers must have compelling products and provide high-quality service that will attract and maintain customers. Competitive suppliers compete on price, but also are working … to differentiate themselves [effectively] from their competitors in other ways. This is driving innovation and value for the benefit of consumers.”
Consumer shopping guidelines
Responding to the growing interest among consumers and state regulators, RESA has developed a Consumer Education Guide designed to help customers make informed decisions when shopping for competitively priced energy products. RESA’s guide provides general information on competitive suppliers, what to look for when considering a contract offer, pricing and product options, and what to expect from legitimate sales interactions.
When shopping and assessing competitive supplier rate plans that best serve their energy needs, according to the guide, it is important that New Hampshire electricity consumers know and appreciate that utility default service rates are periodically adjusted and vary by utility. For example, EverSource adjusts its rates every six months – on January 1 and July 1 – while Unitil customers see their default rates tweaked on June 1 and December 1. Shopping electricity consumers also can find the current utility default service rates on the state’s comparison website.
Consumers should determine whether their contracts have an upfront “enrollment” fee or an “early termination charge,” should they opt to change to a different retail supplier or return to the utility before they complete the term of their existing contract.
“Some consumers may shop based on price, while others may shop based on budget billing options or product types, such as obtaining energy from environmentally friendly sources like wind and solar power,” said Hanks. “New Hampshire’s competitive retail energy market provides customers with choice, and as competitive suppliers we want the state’s consumers to be wholly satisfied with their shopping experience. RESA member companies desire a robust and sustainable retail electricity marketplace where we continue to offer innovative products.”