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Competitive Supply Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some frequently asked questions regarding Competitive Power Supply:

What is deregulation and what does it mean for my power supply?
In the late 1990's, electricity was deregulated in Massachusetts. With deregulation you are free to choose a power supplier other than NSTAR. Each Competitive Power Supplier sets its own prices and provides service to various cities, towns and types of customers in Massachusetts. Please note, not all suppliers are available in all areas of the state or for all types of customers.

If you do choose a Competitive Supplier, NSTAR will continue to deliver electricity to your home and provide meter reading, billing, and other customer services in the field and through our call center. 

How do I know if a Competitive Supplier is legitimate?
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) maintains a list of Licensed Competitive Power Suppliers.

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) requires all competitive suppliers to provide you with rate information prior to signing a contract or agreement. The information should include current rates, contract length, terms and conditions, environmental characteristics and labor practices.

This information can help you compare offers from Competitive Power Suppliers and should be reviewed before ultimately making your decision.

If I switch, will I get two separate bills?
This is determined by your Competitive Supplier. In most cases, you will continue to receive an NSTAR bill that includes your supplier’s charges for electricity. This amount is determined by the Competitive Supplier.

What happens if I switch from NSTAR's Basic Service to a Competitive Supplier?
If you are on a fixed rate for Basic Service (which changes every six months) and decide to switch to a Competitive Power Supplier before the six-month period is over, your electric bill will be recalculated.

This means your electric bill for the period you were on the fixed rate will be recalculated as if you were on the monthly variable rate for that period. This ensures all consumers pay the actual cost of the electricity they have used. This adjustment may be a credit or debit, and will be reflected on your first bill after the switch is effective.

If you are on the Basic Service Variable Rate, there are no adjustments by NSTAR as a result of the change.

How do I switch power suppliers?
Contact your new Competitive Power Supplier and they will handle the switch. Your new supplier's rates will go into effect on your next scheduled meter reading as long as NSTAR receives notice of the change at least two business days prior to the reading.

Will I save money if I switch to another supplier?
Competitive Power Suppliers set their own rates. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) requires Competitive Suppliers to provide you with rate information before you sign a contract. This information will include:

  • current rates (listed as the cost per kilowatt hour).
  • contract terms.
  • environmental impact of their power supply.
  • labor practices.

Do I have to switch to another supplier?
No. NSTAR will continue to supply your power unless you decide to switch.

Can I return to NSTAR’s Basic Service rate?
Yes. You can return to NSTAR’s Basic Service at any time. Before switching you may want to contact your Competitive Power Supplier to find out if there are any restrictions or penalties in your contract should you wish to switch back.

Will I remain on my NSTAR Budget Billing Plan if I switch to a competitive supplier?
Yes, but only for the delivery portion of your bill. The supplier charges will be billed based on your usage each month.

If I do return to NSTAR, will I be on fixed or variable rate?
If you return to NSTAR you will automatically be placed on the Basic Service Fixed rate, unless you specifically indicate that you wish to be billed on variable rate.

My bill shows the name of another power supplier but I didn't switch. How did this happen?
Some municipal governments elect to purchase power for an entire city, town or region. This is called “public aggregation” and allows the municipality to negotiate rates based on the buying power of the entire group.

As a result, all of the consumers within that community will automatically become part of the buying group. However, if you do not wish to participate, you may opt out by contacting your aggregator, at which time you will return to NSTAR’s Basic Service. You may also still select another Competitive Supplier.

Who do I call if I have a question about my electric service?
NSTAR still handles all service interruptions. If you have a problem, contact us at 800-592-2000. NSTAR will also continue to deliver electricity to your home and provide meter reading, billing, and other customer services in the field and through our call center.


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