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Lower electricity rates can come to those who do their research

As the mercury stays high in late summer and air conditioners continue to work hard around the country, many homeowners are finding that they can avoid big utility bills when they compare electricity plans and shop around for lower rates, the Lowell Sun reports.

According to the news source, a number of retail energy providers are setting up shop in Massachusetts to take advantage of the state's energy deregulation laws, and are offering electricity rates at huge discounts to utility prices. Many of these providers are even giving out rewards and prizes for switching away from utilities like National Grid and NStar.

For example, Direct Energy entered into Massachusetts utility National Grid's customer territory last year, and offered a $50 prepaid visa card to anyone customer who switched. Pennsylvania's Energy Plus, which also recently expanded into the Bay State, said it plans to offer airline miles and hotel points to anyone who switched.

The programs and incentives exist in all states that have passed energy deregulation laws, which include Texas, New York, Connecticut and Ohio. In Texas, Bounce energy recently announced a plan that gives moms the opportunity to receive lower rates for on-time payments.