My Energy Choices: What are those “other” charges on my electric bill?

In preparing for my conversation with energy consultant Kevin Rose, I took a hard look at my electric bill. The long list of charges is intimidating, and it made me feel like I have very few choices. This is my utility, this is what the charges are, end of story.


After our conversation I took Kevin’s advice and looked online at Eversource’s information for residential customers. There are great explanations there, including the fact that the “Renewable Energy Charge” goes in to a trust that funds increasing the availability of renewable energy. As for the “Energy Conservation Charge,” that is collected to cover the cost of energy efficiency programs, such as Mass Save.


This is in line with what I had thought, that we all pay ahead for those energy audits we’re entitled to have. Yet I wonder: How many of us have actually had an energy audit? And what about people who really don’t care if renewable energy is developed?


The answer is, those who don’t care or don’t take advantage of the available programs still have to pay, and that’s OK by me.


It has taken human beings a long time to recognize the impact our energy consumption has always had on the environment. Since we cannot self-organize fast enough to counteract the damage already done, it takes larger entities, such as governments and their regulators, to build the institutions (research, development and infrastructure) that have the potential to correct our impacts.


In the case of my electric bill (and yours) we have the government requirement that utilities must charge for, then pay into, energy conservation and efficiency programs. Only with the collective effort of all, like it or not, can our institutions have the funding to create choices for us, including the choice I want – to reduce, and perhaps eliminate, my dependence on fossil fuels.

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May 12, 2015