Data submitted to the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) show that, in 2015, Connecticut residential customers of retail electric suppliers paid, in aggregate, approximately $58 million over what they would have paid if they remained with the utility standard service price, according to a report released on April 20 by the Office of Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz.
In 2015, retail suppliers served, on average, more than one-third of both Eversource Energy (33.55 percent) of United Illuminating (37.84 percent) residential customers. During that time, two-thirds (64.21 percent) of Eversource residential supplier customers paid more than the standard service offer, on average; and 59.82 percent of residential supplier customers paid more than the price of standard service, on average, in UI territory.
“One of the trends we have seen in analyzing this data is that those supplier customers who pay more than standard service often pay much more, while those who save money often only save a small amount,” said Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz, adding, “This may be due to higher prices in automatically renewed contracts, after an initial contract period with attractive pricing expires. I encourage customers who want to contract with an electric supplier to be mindful of the end of the initial contract period, and to shop for the best rate or switch to Standard Service at the end of that contract period.”
Consumer Counsel Katz reminds customers to monitor their electric bills to ensure they are not overpaying for electricity. Customers can always choose to stay with Eversource or UI Standard Service instead of choosing a third-party supplier. Moreover, there is no fee for customers to return to the Eversource or UI standard service rate from a third-party supplier, and that transaction takes less than 72 hours to complete.
When switching back to standard service or a new supplier prior to the end of their contract term, customers should consider whether an early termination fee is applicable, Katz said. Such fees may not exceed $50 for residential customers. Katz also advises consumers to be wary of upfront “enrollment” fees.
Effective January 1 through June 30 of this year, the standard service rate for Eversource customers is 9.55 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), while the Standard Service rate for UI customers is 10.73 /kWh. New rates for both utilities for the period of July through December will be announced in a few weeks. Since rates have typically been lower in the second half of the year in recent years, consumers are reminded to check their rate again at that time.