Get familiar with
Your Electric Bill
You asked, and we listened! We’ve redesigned your electric bill to make it easier to read and understand. We hope you like it as much as we do. Below is a sample bill with some of the changes. Feel free to call us at 781.348.BELD (2353) with questions.
Don’t forget about paying your bills online using our new site! Visit our Bill Pay website today for paperless billing and/or autopay.
- Here is your account number, total amount due, due date, discounts earned and space to note the amount you’re enclosing. For auto pay accounts the amount and date of debit will be noted. The amount due is the total due before the prompt payment discount.Understanding your new electric bill
- Your electric usage and the meter read dates appear here.
- Here is a breakdown of all your electric charges. This area provides information about your payment history, including past balances. The amount due is the total due before the prompt payment discount. The kilowatt-hour charge reflects three services: energy or generation, transmission, and the distribution of electric power, along with a small monthly “Customer Charge” (unrelated to your usage). Here’s what they mean:
Energy is the electric current produced at power plants, which use fuels such as oil, gas, water or nuclear fission to turn turbines that produce electricity.
Distribution is the local delivery of electricity. High-voltage current leaves the transmission lines at a substation, where transformers reduce it to a medium voltage. Electricity then travels through distribution lines on poles or underground to neighborhoods. Here it passes through another transformer, which reduces it to 120/240 volts for household use. The final step is for the electricity to pass through a meter to measure use in the kilowatt-hour units that appear on the electric bill.
Generation is the cost associated with Braintree’s ownership of generation plants including plants owned and operated by BELD as well as plants owned through contracts. This includes all costs associated with the generation of electricity less fuel.
Transmission is the cost to move bulk electricity from power plants to local substations. In New England, power plants and utilities share common transmission lines, and the lines’ owners charge utilities for moving the purchased electricity from the power plant to local destinations.
New York Hydro Power Credit is a credit to residential customers only due to Braintree’s contract for hydroelectric power being delivered from the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers located in New York.
- We now have usage history charts that go back 13 months (this is our favorite addition). This box provides a comparison with your usage for the entire year.
- Account type (rate), bill date, due date, amount due, your discounted amount and confirmation of the senior citizen discount appear here.
- This section is for any special BELD messaging including reminders about the early payment discount and automatic debit payments.
Your bill is payable upon receipt and due 45 days later. You agree to pay us monthly by the payment due date as shown on your bill and for any administrative fees due to late payments or other charges due us. You agree to pay all federal, state, local, and user taxes, and other charges, if any, which we may now or in the future be required to assess you. Billing rates are subject to periodic adjustment as permitted by franchise agreements and federal law.
If payment is made within 15 days of the bill date, residential customers are entitled to a 10% discount on the total Distribution and Transmission charges. Customers may also apply for BELD’s senior citizen discount. Partial or late payments automatically forfeit early payment discounts.
An effort will be made to contact the writer of a returned check to secure payment; returned checks are subject to a $30 service charge. Commercial and other non-residential accounts with unpaid balances 30 days after billing are subject to a 1.5% interest charge. If you are on the automatic debit plan and your check is returned for the second time, you will be removed from the plan.
You may pay for multiple months of service in advance if that is more convenient for you. If changes in rates occur after advance payments are made, you are responsible for any adjusted rates as of the applicable rate change effective date.
You may pay with check, money order, credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover), automatic debit, or online. Please write your account number and service address on your check and allow 5-7 days for processing. To ensure prompt attention, please write your inquiries or requests on a separate piece of paper rather than on the bill itself. You may:
- Pay your bill online! This feature makes it easy and safe to manage your account right from your computer. In addition, you can pay your bill over the phone by calling 781.348.1001.
- Enclose your payment in the return envelope provided with the bill and mail with the remittance stub to BELD. Do not mail cash.
- Pay your bill at our Potter Road offices.
- Place your payment in one of the BELD drop boxes located at the top of Potter Road or Braintree Town Hall. Please do not pay in cash when using a drop box.
- Pay your bill at a South Shore Bank office -1010 Washington Street (you may pay with cash at South Shore Bank).
- Sign up for our automatic debit plan to save time and money. Simply complete the authorization form, print it out, sign it, attach a voided check, and return both to our office. You will still receive a monthly statement, but your bill payment will be automatically deducted from your bank account.
Why your electric bill may change from month to month
The most likely reason for a change in your bill may be due to a change in how you used energy. Typically, a home is equipped with many energy-using appliances that are not always used the same amount each month. You may have had guests, which could have contributed to higher water usage (causing your electric water heater to run more), more lights being used (or being used longer), more laundry, cooking, etc.
The time of year is another possible reason for changing bills. During the summer months, some appliances—such as dehumidifiers, air conditioners, fans and swimming pool pumps—run more. In the winter, most heating systems use electricity to circulate the heat. We also tend to spend more time indoors, running appliances and lighting for longer hours.
Finally, a bill may be higher or lower because there was a difference in the number of days between readings. Generally, your meter is read every 30 days, but there are times when your meter reading may be for less than 30 days or more than 30 days. It will state on your electric bill the number of days the bill covers.
If your think your bill has changed drastically and none of these factors seem to apply, contact our Energy Advisor. We may be able to offer an explanation, make arrangements to have a check reading done to make sure your meter was read properly, or schedule an energy audit.
If you are unable to pay your bill
If you are having difficulty paying your utility bill, you can make a payment arrangement with BELD’s Delinquent Accounts clerk. Under this plan a past due balance may be paid in equal installments over a specified period. Current charges will be due in addition to the payments on the past due balance. The length of time that a payment arrangement extends will vary from a minimum of four months, depending on the past due balance and your ability to pay. Also, if you own a home that contains electric heat and hot water, you may apply to be put on a budget plan. Contact BELD Customer Service for more information on these plans.
In addition, there are regulations allowing flexibility for people facing disconnection:
Bad health: If losing your electric service would be an immediate and serious health hazard for you or someone in your home, ask your physician to write a letter to BELD explaining the situation. Serious illness medical notes are good for 3 months and chronic illness for 6 months. Both should be submitted with a financial hardship Form.
Severe winter weather: These guidelines are in effect between November 15 and March 15 each year. If you or someone in your home is 65 or older, your electric service will not be shut off for non-payment if the weather forecast calls for the temperatures to drop below 32°F during the 48 hours starting the morning of the shut-off day. You must provide advance written notice to BELD that the household qualifies to remain with power under these conditions and, if necessary, provide proof. Otherwise, service will not be disconnected if the 48-hour forecast is predicted to fall below 10°F.
Renters: It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant by asking that the electric service be shut off. If a landlord discontinues service for a rental unit that is in his/her name, BELD must give the tenants a chance to continue the service.
Cancellation and refund policies:
According to the Rules & Regulations of Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD), the application form provided by BELD includes information the Department deems essential to supply service to the applicants. The customer remains responsible for all electricity usage until a final bill has been issued as provided under Article 403 (Section 201). Forty-eight (48) hours notice is required to disconnect existing service.
The customer shall be liable for service taken until BELD receives and confirms notice of termination and until the meter is read and disconnected. The bill for service rendered up to the date of termination will be labeled “final bill” and is payable upon receipt (Section 403).