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What makes CutMyBill better than other solar cost and savings calculators for Eversource MA customers?

There are three key reasons that our Eversource MA solar cost and bill savings calculator is far better than any other solar calculator or solar estimate website on the net for Eversource MA customers;

  • Firstly, whilst most solar panels calculators are really good at forecasting the electricity production you can get from installing solar panels for your home (because they all rely on the pwatts.nrel.gov solar production data) most of them just use a single generic state wide unit cost for electricity in their calculations. Our Eversource MA solar cost and bill savings calculator actually uses our database of each of the available Eversource MA electric rates plans to use more specific electricity cost data. Therefore we can generate much more accurate solar savings analysis.
  • The second reason is that we use DOE (Department of Energy) electricity usage patterns for the Eversource MA service territory, and some very basic questions we ask you about your home to estimate how you use power over the course of a day and the seasons of the year. This allows us to accurately forecast solar savings where time of use electricity plans are available to you. We estimate your electricity usage for each hour of the year and then overlay the known production of solar panels in your area for each hour of the year. Without this level of detail solar panel cost and savings calculators on are inaccurate; and
  • Lastly, before we even consider solar savings, we look for any savings that can be achieved simply by swapping to a cheaper available Eversource MA rate plan. Our software looks for any available Eversource MA rates plan that works our cheaper for your estimated usage pattern. Generally speaking savings from swapping to a cheaper Eversource MA rates plan are only available to those who have larger monthly electric bills but given it only takes a phone call to achieve these savings it is by far the quickest and easiest bill cutting option where it is possible.
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Will installing a solar power system or swapping rate plans save me the most on my monthly Eversource MA payment?

There are almost always far greater cost savings to be obtained from installing solar panels than swapping rates plans but this doesn't mean possible savings from swapping rate plans should be ignored. The other reason we search for your cheapest rate plan is that to forecast total possible savings you could get on your bill you need to take into account both savings that may be available from swapping to the cheapest rate plan and also savings that come from swapping your generation source for some of your power usage to your own solar power.

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How accurate is the CutMyBill estimate of my power usage pattern?

The CutMyBill electricity usage profile estimator is a key part of the technology of why CutMyBill can forecast solar and bill swapping savings so accurately without requiring you to enter your kilowatt hour electricity usage for each month of the year or to upload 12 months worth of power bills.

The way we do this is we use electricity use profiles collected by the Department of Energy for each building type at each weather station across the Eversource MA service territory. Some of the characteristics of your home such as your average monthly power spend and the square footage of your home are used to refine this analysis.

This gives a fairly accurate estimate but it is not an exact estimate. The best way to get an exact estimate of your solar savings and whether or not there are possible savings from swapping rate plans is to speak to one of your local solar companies. Whilst solar companies are experts in solar they also become experts in knowing the cheapest rate plans (both before and after solar) from their local utility companies.

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Three best ways to cut your Eversource MA electric bill

Did you know you can cut your home's energy bill by using flashlights instead of overhead lights? Did you know you can cut your energy bill by doing a home energy audit each hour?

Yes, those are silly questions. Fortunately, you don't need to sacrifice comfort to cut your energy bill by 20% or more. And it could be very easy to do.

This article is specific to the Massachusetts utility Eversource. We hope it helps you make a solid game plan to cut your energy bill. If you haven't already, consider first reading our explanation of how your energy bill works.

Introducing the Myers family

To illustrate ideas, we'll show numbers based on typical energy use for a single-family home in Northampton.

Meet our typical folk from Northampton: the Myers family. If you look closely at their picture, you'll see that the dad is also reading this article. The mom and daughter are already saving energy by just pretending their tablets are on.


Let's see how the Myers family cut their monthly energy bill by 26% ($59).

A "Time-of-Use" rate plan is an electricity plan where the amount charged per kilowatt hour (kWh) is determined by the time of the day and the season of the year in which it is used.

Time-of-Use plans will typically have "peak" periods with higher rates and "off peak" with lower rates.

The idea behind Time-of-Use billing is to get customers to use less power at peak periods (when most people use a lot of power). Peak periods put a lot of strain on the grid. This is why Time-of-Use billing is being implemented by all major utilities. It is an attempt to encourage consumers to help spread out the load, and thus reduce investment needed to support brief periods of extremely high usage.

If customers can adjust their habits to use appliances at non-peak times they have to potential to significantly lower their electricity bills. Although, as power at peak times is much more expensive, if you continue to use lots of power at peak times your bill could be higher.

Should we switch to the Time-of-Use rate plan?

You can voluntarily switch to Eversource's Time-of-Use (TOU) rate plan. How much money you save (or lose) on the Time-of-Use rate plan depends on when you use energy, and how your energy-use pattern matches up with the rate plan's time windows.

If the utility charges the high-peak rates during the afternoon, the Time-of-Use rate plan isn't a good fit for those who work from an air-conditioned or electric-heated home. If the utility charges the high-peak rate during the evening, it's not a good fit for those who crank up the electric jacuzzi after work. You get the idea.

Why does Eversource MA offer a Time-of-Use rate plan?

We could compare the energy grid to the freeway. Tt can be smooth sailing or bumper-to-bumper depending on the time of day. It is easier and cheaper for Eversource MA to provide energy outside the 9am to 6pm "rush hour traffic", so Time-of-Use rate plans encourage Eversource MA customers to use more of their energy during other hours.

Eversource MA understands that some customers would respond to time-varying rates while some customers would not. The Time-of-Use rate plan is optional for the more price sensitive among us (who take control of our energy expenses and work to cut them).

What are the Time-of-Use rates and Windows?

Here are the rate details for this articles's featured Eversource MA Time-of-Use rate plan (named R-4):

Plan Name: Residential - Time of Use (R-4 (A3))
Last Update: January 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $9.99
Summer (June 1 to September 30)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.182
Peak: $0.377
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 9am, 6pm to midnight
Peak: 9am to 6pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:
Winter (October 1 to May 31)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.181
Peak: $0.297
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 8am, 9pm to midnight
Peak: 8am to 9pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:

How do we know if Time-of-Use is better for us?

Let's figure out whether the Myers family would save money on the Time-of-Use rate plan. This starts with estimating how much of their energy they are likely to use during the expensive peak window (the more they use during peak, the higher their Time-of-Use bill).

Eversource MA now provides hour-by-hour historical energy data (commonly called interval data or Green Button data). We'll use hourly data to make a better determination.

 

Interval Data
Green Button data

 

Interval or Green Button data is your electrical usage data for the last 12 months in one hour (or even shorter) intervals. This data is available from your utility provider.

 

Let's focus on summer weekdays (to keep this article's length under control). Here's what their average hourly energy use would be under the Time-of-Use rate plan:

Summer weekdays (June 1 to September 30)
Off-Peak Peak
Average Energy Used per Hour 1.4 kWh 1.6 kWh
Hours per Day 15 hours 9 hours
Total Energy Used per Weekday 21 kWh 14.5 kWh

The Myers family uses more energy per hour during the expensive peak hours, but then again there are more off-peak hours in the 24-hour cycle.

It gets even more complicated, because the Time-of-Use windows are different in the winter and on weekends, and the Myers family uses energy differently across the week and year.

Here's how the math works out: The Myers family's average bill on their current rate plan (R-1) is $230. Their bill on the Time-of-Use plan (R-4) would be $241.

The Myers family would lose money on Time-of-Use if they do not make any other changes, but switching to Time-of-Use will set them up in a better position to save even more money going forward.

Is it worth changing when we use energy?

Time-of-Use rate plans give you more control over your energy bill. You can save more money if you are willing to adjust how you use energy. For example, you could set an alarm for 3 AM to get up and run the dishwasher. Just kidding. Let's consider a reasonable way to adjust energy, and decide if it's worthwhile.

Recall that on the Time-of-Use rate plan (R-4), the summer weekday peak window (with the most expensive energy) is from 9 AM to 6 PM. The Myers family runs the dishwasher and clothes washer/dryer around 4 PM. At the peak rate of 37.7¢, and assuming the energy use of their appliances is in line with the national averages, the combined cost for cleanliness is $33 per month (not including water heating).

After reading this article, the Myers family decides to set the dish and clothing washing machines to both start after 6 PM. The new charge is $17.98 per month, a $15.10 bill reduction. Is it worth it? $15.10 less on power per month, which is $181 per year, just for shifting their appliance use by 2 hours. It sure is worth it for the Myers family!

Hello, Smart Home

The idea behind a Smart Home is that your internet-connected home appliances can be partially or fully automated to reduce your electric bill while also increasing comfort. The dishwasher knows when the off-peak window starts and turns itself on then, the air conditioner learns your preferences and patterns to avoid over-cooling, etc.

While the Smart Home is clearly the future, it is not quite the present, we are looking forward to Smart Home devices playing better together (in other words, better technical standards).

How do I switch our Eversource MA rate plan?

You should be able to switch your rate plan through your Eversource MA online account. If you don't see the option in your online account, go old school and give Eversource MA a call.

What about just using less energy?

We won't rally too much behind former President Jimmy Carter and just tell you to put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat. We'd rather not see our breath in the living room. But it's probably worth taking 5 minutes to consider whether energy is being straight out wasted in your home (in other words, is there energy used that does not improve your comfort or well-being).

The Myers family children have been politely asked to turn off lights when leaving rooms about 17 trillion times. They are generally respectful, but for whatever reason this one does not stick. How much money would the Myers family save if the children always turned off their lights?

Let's say three 30-watt lights get left on in empty rooms 2 hours per day on average. That's 5.5 kilowatt hours of energy wasted per month, which costs $1.41. Is it worth continuing the effort (or trying a smart-home solution)? Nope. The parents would be smarter to let this one go for now.

What about energy efficiency?

There might be one or more basic energy-efficiency investments you can make that'd cut your electric bill while not reducing comfort or adding day-to-day complexity.

The Myers family got a new refrigerator a decade ago, and plugged in their previous 1990s-era fridge in the garage (for those three sports drinks). Refrigerator efficiency has come a long way since the 1990s. In fact, their garage fridge uses over twice as much energy as their new Energy Star fridge. It'll cost them $22 per month to run it on their new Time-of-Use rate plan (or $21 per month on the standard rate plan).

Should they replace the old garage fridge with a basic $500 Energy Star fridge? They'd save $12.69 per month on their Eversource MA bill, but the related financing payment would be $9.44 per month ($500 borrowed, 5-year term, 5% interest). Their net benefit in the first month would be $3.26. With the financing cost, the new fridge would pay for itself in 3.7 years (followed by years or decades of pure bill savings).

Going one better than just upgrading, the Myers family decided they don't actually need a second fridge at all. That's a $12.69 per month bill reduction!

The Myers family's game plan so far

The Myers family has felt the pain of high electric bills for years. Thanks to this article (we have no shame), they are now ready to take control and cut it. Sounds like fun!

Their current average monthly bill is $230. Here's their game plan:

1. Switch Rate Plans Switch to the Time-of-Use rate plan (R-4).
When Right after reading this article and making their game plan.
Bill Reduction -$11.50
New Monthly Bill $241
 
2. Adjust Energy Use Run the dishwasher and laundry machines during off-peak hours.
When Once they switch rate plans.
Bill Reduction $15.10
New Monthly Bill $226
 
3. Reduce Energy Waste Unplug the garage fridge (and schedule a recycling-center pick up time).
When This week.
Bill Reduction $12.69
New Monthly Bill $213

One week later...the Myers family's new monthly bill is $213. They cut their bill by 7%!

They are very excited, and in their enthusiasm they are wondering if they can cut their bill even more. That's when little Suzy got a bright idea. Hey Mom and Dad, "what about solar energy"?

Yeah Suzy, what about solar energy?

"Hmm...it's probably too expensive". The Myers family wanted to at least consider it, so they got in touch with a few local solar installation companies through Solar-Estimate. They were happy to hear that solar energy is affordable. Costs have fallen to only half the cost it was just 8 years ago.

They learned that 16 solar panels would fit nicely on the sunniest part of their roof (at 215 watts per panel, that's a 3.4 kW system). That'd bring their net monthly energy use from 939 kWh down to 549 kWh. And it'd bring their monthly Eversource MA energy bill from $213 down to only $115.

They also learned they could finance the solar system through a solar-loan provider instead of paying cash up front. Their $115 electric bill plus a $56 monthly financing payment would put them at a $171 per month energy cost for no money down. So their solar energy system would cut their monthly energy cost by 20%, or $43. And their savings would increase over time, because electric rates go up while the financing payment does not. Eventually, the solar loan would be fully repaid, but the solar system would keep on working. At that point, 20 years in the future, the price of power might have increased to 44¢ per kWh (3 percent energy cost inflation for 20 years), so their fully-paid-for solar system would now be saving them around $171 per month.

The Myers family totally went solar.

Myers family conclusion

If they took no action, the Myers family would be paying $230 per month for energy. The rate plan switch and energy adjustments got their bill down to $213. With solar energy and the solar financing payment, the Myers family's new net energy cost is $171. All together, they cut their monthly energy cost by 26%, or $59. The Myers family is feeling good! Here they are monitoring their real-time solar production and utility energy use.

Family monitoring energy usage


Energy bill reductions = tax-free income

That $59 of extra cash is actually worth $84. What? The Myers family has to pay income tax on money used for personal expenses (including their electric bill). Since they no longer need to pay $25 in taxes on the $59 they're not giving Eversource MA, the net electric-bill reduction is worth an extra $25. The big take home here is that, dollar for dollar, electric bill savings is more valuable than a conventional investment's return.

Your game plan

We hope this article convinced you that you can have your cake and eat it too. You can save money, improve your family's well-being, and help out the planet. We wish you the best with your upcoming power moves (pun intended).

Click HERE to see how much you can save by and installing solar panels. The Cut My Bill calculator is free and easy.

Find more about Eversource Energy Massachusetts electric rate plans.