Sunderlander’s electricity bill…

The price  Sunderland, Mass. residents pay for electricity dealt by the Western Massachusetts Electric Company was brought up by “JJ.”

Comment about electricity bills by JJ

Comment about electricity bills by "JJ"

“Sunderland Resident then responded with a company called Dominion that apparently bargains.

Sunderland Resident found a different price

"Sunderland Resident" found a different electricity provider and price


Dominion states it’s rates are ten percent lower than current rates in the region.

It seems WMECO has a bit of a monopoly.

A Boston Globe article, “Electricity sellers want you to switch: Dominion and MXEnergy offer discounts, but most consumers are in the dark,” explains the price difference.

WMECO prices are established through bidding – a common practice.

WMECOs FAQs courtesy of

WMECO's FAQs courtesy of

This is why one’s rate might not actually be $8.53.

A 2007 article in The Republican summarized how the Mass. Attorney General was inquiring about WMECO’s earnings. In the 2008 analysis by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, “In fact, a rate case may lead to increased rates and a shift of costs between certain classes of ratepayers in WMECo’s service territory, which may mean that certain ratepayers are paying more.” It a said such a case based on rates would be “unlikely to dramatically lower rates.” 

The epilogue of the analysis states:

After the completion of this report, on May 19, 2008, WMECo fi led with the Department for

approval of its most recent default service solicitation in which residential customers will see a 6.5-

8.1% increase in their total bills. Large commercial and industrial customers on default service

will see 26-30% increase in their total bill. However, approximately 83% of large commercial and

industrial customers in WMECo’s service territory use a competitive supplier and are not impacted

by this increase. Review of default service fi lings by the Attorney General and the Department is

limited, focusing primarily on compliance with procurement practices.


While the focus of this report is on increases associated with “delivery charges” in 2007, the most

signifi cant driver of overall increases in electricity rates over the past fi ve years for WMECo’s, and

all other customers in Massachusetts, is in the energy generation portion of the bill. Typically,

these changes occur every three months for commercial and industrial customers on default service

and every six months for default service residential customers. For those customers that rely on

the company for its energy supply or default service (most residential and small commercial and

industrial customers), notice of such increases are just as important, if not more, than effective

communication regarding delivery charge increases because of their magnitude and frequency.


In connection with its May 19, 2008 fi ling, the Company has informed the Attorney General’s

Offi ce that it intends to notify its customers of this increase through public outreach including

a press release as well as individual customer service calls to the large commercial and industrial

customers subject to the rate increase. Such efforts to notify customers of signifi cant rate increases

should be considered a best practice by all the Commonwealth’s distribution companies.


According to the Amherst Bulletin and MassLive WMECO customers should be seeing a decrease in their electricity bills.


That’s it for me; all I have time for today. Hope that helped at least a little.



Filed under Politic

4 responses to “Sunderlander’s electricity bill…

  1. jj

    re: WMECO electric rate k/w hour in Sunderland

    Thanks, Rosie and all.
    Now I am getting a little outraged! Another poster, Sunderland Resident, has been charged 11.9 cents per KW hour, while I have been being charged 18 cents for many years!! What gives? What can I do? Do I call the atty general’s office and ask for an investigation, or any other suggestions for how I can approach this longstanding problem?

    Many thanks again!

  2. rosiewalunas

    So, as the Boston Globe article states, people basically don’t know about alternative suppliers. High prices can be due to poor transmission, supply and demand, what peple are willing to pay (the bidding), and because people might not be going to alternatives (a company can charge a higher rate because they can). As for an investigation, it seems to be clearned up, because WMECO should be more transparent with customers. As for getting them to lower their prices to what other rates are, I haven’t come accross any such “movement,” if you will. Sorry I can’t find or know more.

  3. APS

    The real problem is how we in New England deal with power supplies. As of 2005, a large portion of the power in New England is produced from Natural Gas (42 %). Natural gas has huge advantages, it is easy to move, it burns clean (other than CO2), it is very reliable, and scalable. If you need 200 MW, just start up another turbine. The biggest disadvantage comes from it’s price, and that is due to our policy not to explore and drill for more. Right or wrong, that means a large supply comes from the south, and from Canada. If demand rises, prices follow, and demand is rising, and will do so even more when the economy recovers. Wind and solar are great, but they can not provide power when needed, and large scale projects are almost always rejected because of the land damage (leveling forests and mountain tops. Look into the fights going on in Vermont right now), or the destruction of “aesthetic beauty” such as off the cape. On top of that, ISO NE has to keep additional gas turbines idleing to provide instant power in the event the wind dies down and the wind turbine output drops.
    Nuclear provides NE with 26% (more than the national average), but as Nuclear plants close, the power is replaced with gas turbine. Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim are next on the chopping block. Vermont Yankee makes power for about 3 cents per kilowatt (which is high for a nuclear plant). New nuclear plants can produce the same power for 1-2 cents per kilowatt, and when plants are clustered, it is even cheaper. The biggest drawback to nuclear is the spent fuel. However, US policy is what prevents us from dealing with it. Nearly all of the spent fuel can be recycled, with a very small amount left that actually needs to be stored.
    So the problem is that we don’t want want nuclear, we don’t want coal (also very cheap), we don’t want to drill for oil or for natural gas, we don’t want to put up large wind projects, or large solar projects (even though this region is lousy for solar), yet we still need the power. To make matters worse, a majority of our cars use gasoline, but the trend is toward “plug in hybrids”, which has the advantage of reducing gasoline demand, but will significantly increase our grid demand.
    I support nuclear power. I think we can recycle our spent fuel (I think it should be required, and that the plants should pay for it), and I think we can do it without poluting the environment. I think we can use large amounts of nuclear power, wind, and solar to provide a bulk of the energy needed for local transportation, heating, air conditioning, electricity, etc. The sad part of it is that China is currently constructing 16 nuclear plants, there are 12 more in final preps, and 10 more in initial planning. It won’t take long for us to run out of power, or pay huge bills. So if we don’t go nuclear, we had better figure out what we want and do it!

    • jj

      Let’s just pray that the nuke plants don’t have a meltdown…or none of us will ever have to worry about power costs again! 🙂

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