Are your utility bills higher than normal this winter? Below are some steps you can take in light of National Grid’s recent increase in electricity and gas costs and some tips to help you stay warm and save money:
Reducing your Bill
All state-regulated Massachusetts natural gas and electric utilities offer a residential discount rate. Click here to check your eligibility to receive discounts on your utility bill, payment plans, and other assistance. The federal Fuel Assistance program is available for eligible families - this opportunity through North Shore Community Assistance Program (NSCAP) has slightly different eligibility requirements, so it is important to check and/or apply for both fuel assistance at NSCAP and with National Grid. Apply here.
Even if you are behind on your bills, National Grid cannot terminate your utility services between November 15 and March 15.
Considering another electricity supplier
Choosing an electricity supplier other than National Grid is an option, but it may not be the most effective at reducing your energy bill. National Grid has two seasonal prices: winter pricing is from November 1 through April and summer pricing is from May 1 through October. Winter prices are typically higher and Summer 2023 pricing has not been announced.
You may have received letters in the mail from companies advertising electricity supply promotions. We have seen concerning terms in these offers, and recommend that you carefully review contract terms and take note of the length of the contract, if the price is fixed and for how long, and any early contract termination fees.
If you do wish to shop for third-party suppliers, check your options at the state-run website, EnergySwitchMA.gov. Here are some tips if you decide to move forward:
Mark your calendar with the end of your contract or introductory price. Many consumers lose money because their supplier moves them to a very high monthly price at the end of their contract term.
If your contract includes an early termination fee, make a decision about whether to stay or go during the final billing cycle of your contract. Start shopping a few months earlier, but know that switching early could trigger that early termination fee.
Be cautious about committing to a long-term contract. The electricity market is volatile now, and it's impossible to say where it will be in a year or more. If electricity prices drop, you don't want to find yourself locked into a high price.
A note on the City’s electricity program: Beverly Community Electric
Recent press has promoted the ability of municipal aggregation programs to protect communities by enabling Cities and Towns to purchase electricity on behalf of their residents. These programs can help to provide electricity price stability, consumer protections, and clean, renewable electricity to residents. More than 150 Massachusetts municipalities have an aggregation program.
In March 2021, the City of Beverly submitted our plan for the Beverly Community Electric aggregation program to the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU). We’re disappointed that, after nearly two years, the DPU still has not approved our plan. We will launch our program as soon as feasible after we receive approval, and we currently anticipate a Fall 2023 launch.
Note that if you choose to switch to a third-party electricity supplier, you will not be automatically enrolled in the City’s program.
For some residents, installing solar panels at home can be a cost-effective way to get clean, renewable energy at home. EnergySage allows you to compare quotes and learn about solar options that might be right for you.
Can’t install rooftop solar? Consider enrolling in a community solar program to save about 10% on your bill. Find community solar options available to Beverly residents.
Still unsure about your solar options? Ask a Green Beverly Coach to learn more.
Join the Beverly & Salem Energy Challenge
Making your home more energy efficient is one of the easiest ways to save money on home energy costs. In 2022, over 1,000 Beverly and Salem residents had a Home Energy Assessment as part of the Beverly & Salem Energy Challenge! We have partnered with HomeWorks Energy to conduct outreach about this program. After completing your Home Energy Assessment you’ll receive a custom home energy report and will gain access to free and discounted benefits to help you save money.
Read the letter from Mayor Cahill inviting you to join the Beverly & Salem Energy Challenge.
NEW! Free Heat Pump Consultations
Are you exploring a heat pump solution to heat and cool your home? While we always recommend that residents get multiple quotes for heating system upgrades, we know it can be tricky to decide how to move forward.
As part of the Beverly & Salem Energy Challenge, the Cities of Beverly and Salem have partnered with Abode Energy Management to provide free consultations and quote comparison reviews to help you select a contractor and a system that works best for your home. These consultations are available for a limited time on a first come first served basis. Schedule your free consultation today.
NEW! Federal incentives for home upgrades
As of the new year, new tax credits are available for items such as heat pumps, weatherization, rooftop solar installations, and more. Additional upfront discounts for these items will be available in late 2023. Learn more about tax credits and upfront discounts for energy saving items.