Yes, it’s true.
It seems rare that “low” and “energy costs” are in the same sentence, but according to a recent headline from Boston.com, the average monthly electric bill in Massachusetts has hit a six year low.
What’s going on? The main driver of declining costs is that natural gas prices are at historic lows because large deposits of natural gas have been discovered and retrieved with new methods. With so much natural gas flooding the market, prices drop.
In New England, about 50 percent of electricity is created by natural gas fueled power plants, so when natural gas prices drop, so do electricity prices. In 2006, natural gas prices peaked at about $10 per million cubic foot, and the average household monthly electric bill was about $150. Today, gas is at about $2-$3 per million cubic foot, and the average household monthly electric bill is about $112. That’s a drop of about 25 percent! This means, that in the last year, Massachusetts ratepayers – residential, commercial, industrial – have saved about $900 million dollars!
There is another reason that your electric bill may be lower – the state’s nation-leading energy efficiency programs. If you are one of the hundreds-of-thousands of residential or business customers that have taken advantage of rebates to do energy efficiency projects, you’ve probably seen significant savings on your bills. And even if you haven’t directly participated in energy efficiency programs, everyone’s bills may also be lower because, overall, less energy is being used than would have been without the energy efficiency programs and that depresses prices.
So now, with electricity prices so low, should the state keep investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy?
In my next blog post I’ll explain why the answer to that question is ….Yes!