Many changes in 3 weeks in your electric bill

New Website Content Provides Tips for Choosing a Power Supplier

By Walter Brooks

On March 1st, the transition to a fully competitive market for electricity generation ends under the provisions of the Massachusetts Electric Restructuring Act of 1997.  After that date less than a month away the â??Standard offerâ? price protections will disappear. 

All Massachusetts consumers must choose a power supplier by then-or someone else will choose how much they will pay and what kind of power they will buy.

The new content on the Cape & Islands Energy Information Clearinghouse (www.cirenew.info) provides Cape Cod, Marthaâ??s Vineyard, and Nantucket consumers with practical guidance for comparing the â??true costsâ? of electricity supply options and for purchasing cheaper, cleaner, and green power products.

The â??Tips for Choosing a Power Supplierâ? webpage (www.cirenew.info/powerSupplyTips.htm) is designed to help Cape & Islands consumers evaluate their current supplier, learn about their supply options, and choose a new supplier as this milestone date approaches. Choosing a supplier is a complex decision.

â??Tips for Choosing a Power Supplier,â? which are presented in â??Frequently Asked Questionsâ? format, provide information for 

  • Interpreting state-mandated energy disclosure labels prepared by suppliers
  • Accounting for â??true costâ? issues such as pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, air and water quality, public health, natural security, and climate change
  • Recognizing dirty, cleaner, and green power products based on fuel sources and emissions characteristics
  • Assessing the many factors that differentiate green power options
  • Selecting a supplier based on pricing, contract terms, fuel sources, air emissions, and other issues

â??The Energy Information Clearinghouse is a wonderful tool...
...This website contains fantastic resources in one place― the whole toolbox!â?

- Megan Amsler

The â??Tipsâ? webpage characterizes the full array of utility, aggregation, competitive, and green power options available to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal consumers in the Cape & Islands region, and it provides links to websites offering additional information. It highlights the many benefits of green power options, which give local consumers the opportunity to offset their purchases of electricity produced by facilities that impose significant â??true costsâ? on local communities.

The Tips were prepared as part of a website that belongs to the Cape and Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative. The construction of the site was done by Water Energy and Ecology Information Servicesâ?? principal, Chris Powicki; it was funded through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and is now supported by Cape and Islands Self-Reliance Corporation.

According to Megan Amsler, Self-Relianceâ??s Executive Director, â??The Energy Information Clearinghouse is a wonderful tool. There is a great need to help people understand the big picture of conventional energy production and its impacts to the environment. Self-Reliance believes we need to move this region toward a sustainable energy future and to do that people need to have easily accessible and understandable tools at their disposal. This website contains fantastic resources in one place― the whole toolbox!â?

The new webpage is available through the Cape & Islands Energy Information Clearinghouse. This website, currently in beta form, introduces a framework for the collection, organization, delivery, and use of data, information, and tools addressing energy supply and use on Cape Cod, Marthaâ??s Vineyard, and Nantucket. It is intended to help individuals and communities make informed decisions about energy-related issues and to help accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future.

The Clearinghouse is a work in progress: Existing content is being reviewed and updated, new content is being developed, and additional content will be created in coordination with local and regional officials, organizations, agencies, and businesses. The Clearinghouseâ??s persuasive communications framework was developed under a grant awarded by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to participants in the Cape & Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative (CIREC; www.cirenew.org). The framework is based on a fundamental premise: The current energy situation-â??The Energy Presentâ?-poses unique threats to this region, while a sustainable energy economy-â??The Energy Futureâ?-presents unique opportunities.

By offering â??Tools for Managing the Transition,â? the website supports CIRECâ??s goals of minimizing the adverse impacts and maximizing the benefits associated with energy supply and use in the Cape & Islands region.

For further information readers are encouraged to contact CAPE AND ISLANDS SELF-RELIANCE CORP. , Megan Amsler Executive Director, Self-Reliance at 508-457-7679 or Chris Powicki, Principal, Water Energy & Ecology Information Services at 508-362-9599.

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