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Understanding your electric bill, part 2

“Charged up” or confused by your bill?
Here’s what to do

In part 1, we shared information about “competitive suppliers,” the companies that generate electricity and compete to sell electricity to you. If you do not choose a competitive supplier, Eversource and National Grid still have to deliver the electricity to you, assigning you their rate with a six-month term, which is determined when they put the supply out to bid and select the lowest cost option available. Whoever your supplier is, chosen or assigned, the name of that supplier will be labeled on your bill under “delivery supply detail.”

My rate changed, and on the electric bill, “delivery supply detail” shows a new name. I don’t want these changes and I don’t even remember agreeing to a supplier switch. What do I do?

To be legally switched to a competitive supplier, you need to give your express consent and sign a contract. If you’ve identified an issue – for instance, if you discover that a change was made without the account holder’s consent – call the DPU hotline number toll-free at (877) 886-5066 and call Janice Garrett, Director of the Consumer Protection Unit of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, at her Greenfield office to make a complaint, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 413-774-5102.

“There are a lot of ways that Janice can work with consumers” to help them get out of a contract, says Assistant Attorney General Ann Lynch, especially if the competitive supplier broke any rules or neglected to make certain disclosures to you. It’s also okay to call on behalf of a loved one if they are unable to report the issue on their own. You can call Garrett to speak about your own options or to conference call with someone you are trying to help.

When you register with the National Do Not Call Registry, says Gretchen Smith, Benefits Counseling Program Coordinator at Franklin County Home Care Corporation, “everyone, including competitive suppliers, must remove your number from their phone lists within 31 days of when you [or the account holder] first signed up.” Calling you when your number is on the Do Not Call Registry is a violation.

To register for the National Do Not Call Registry, call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register, or register online at donotcall.gov. Those on the Do Not Call list are not only protected from high pressure sales, but hopefully also from phone scams.

I want to continue reading. Take me to part 3.