PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee and Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers Administrator Thomas F. Ahern on Wednesday announced the launch of Empower RI, a website to help Rhode Islanders shop for the best electricity prices for their homes and businesses.
Empower RI, www.ri.gov/empowerri, allows business and residential customers to compare electricity prices and contract terms from competitive suppliers to the current "Standard Offer" from National Grid. The site is designed to make the process of selecting a competitive electricity supplier easier and more transparent in Rhode Island, which has some of the highest energy costs in the country.
Empower RI is a joint effort of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, and Rhode Island Interactive.
The website is part of the Lieutenant Governor's efforts to ease the burden of high energy costs on Rhode Island small businesses. In 2015, Lt. Governor McKee and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin intervened before the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission on behalf of ratepayers to eliminate the so-called billing adjustment, which cost National Grid electricity customers some $1.5 million last winter after they switched to competitive suppliers. The PUC voted to end the adjustment as of July 1, 2015, removing a barrier to a robust competitive market.
"Empower RI is a valuable tool to help small businesses and residential ratepayers shop for the best electricity prices," Lt. Governor McKee said. "Empower RI was designed to do exactly what its name says: empower ratepayers to make the most cost-effective decisions on their electricity supplier. Using this website, consumers will be able to easily navigate the marketplace and choose the plan that's best for them."
Noted Administrator Ahern, "While large industrial and commercial customers have participated in the competitive electric supply market for years, we have only recently seen an increase in the number of competitive suppliers offering service to residential and small commercial customers. Empower RI will serve as a resource for these residents and businesses."
Rhode Island Interactive, which designed Empower RI, demonstrated the features of the website, including a savings calculator based on kilowatt usage, at a press conference at the State House on Wednesday (see site link below).
Rhode Island Interactive is a wholly owned subsidiary of NIC USA, a publicly held company and the largest developer of eGovernment solutions in the nation. The State of Rhode Island has a long-term contract with Rhode Island Interactive to manage the RI.gov portal and to grow the number of available Web-based services.
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