Affordable Energy

You may not know that you can price shop nationally for the best prices on electricity and natural gas. That’s why Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee sponsored the development of a powerful web site, Empower Rhode Island.

Shortly before he was inaugurated, Dan McKee met with officials of the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (RIDPUC) to discuss ways in which utility ratepayers might be provided with information that would assist them in better managing their energy expense. McKee recognized that the vast majority of Rhode Island ratepayers did not understand that they could price shop for the best electricity and gas costs. Many assumed that all that was available were the rate tiers available through National Grid, when in reality National Grid provides the delivery infrastructure for gas and electricity and passes on the costs it incurs from gas and electricity wholesalers.

The truth is that National Grid allows ratepayers to evaluate the costs of energy from a variety of providers and to periodically elect to choose a provider with the best price over a given period of time. And, in fact, less than 10% of Rhode Island ratepayers were taking advantage of this option.

After his inauguration, McKee coordinated a joint effort of the Lieutenant Governor and the RIDPUC to develop a web platform that would streamline and simplify the rate shopping processes for all ratepayers. The result was the launch of www.empowerri.com, a website that educates ratepayers about rate shopping options and how to select the rate package that works best for them.

Today, nearly 13% of Rhode Island ratepayers are shopping for energy and that number is growing steadily.

McKee notes that the percentage of energy rate shopping is a high as 60% in other states and has pledged to continue efforts to educate Rhode Islanders about this cost saving opportunity.