Frequently Asked Questions

Otherwise known as Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) or Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA), Municipal Aggregation is a program in Massachusetts that came out of the Restructuring Act of 1997, specifically Chapter 164: Section 134. Aggregation of electrical load by municipality or group of municipalities; adoption of energy plan. The Act empowers cities and towns to create large buying groups of residential and business electricity accounts in order to seek bids for cheaper supply rates, essentially bulk-purchasing. The purpose of the Act was to ensure the benefits of energy deregulation were passed on to residential customers and businesses by providing the ability to aggregate their accounts within their municipal boundaries in order to obtain competitive bids from Third Party Suppliers (TPS). Grouping residential accounts together creates economies of scale, enabling participating municipalities to achieve greater savings for account holders as a whole. You may find more information about the electric industry in the state by visiting the Department of Public Utilities (D.P.U.) website or the Department of Energy Resources website on municipal aggregation.

The objective of municipal aggregation is simply to lower the cost of electricity bills through the formation of a buying group composed of residents and businesses of one or more municipalities without interfering with the level of service provided by the electric utility that is delivering the electricity supply.

First, the municipality must pass a motion at City Council or a warrant article at a Town Meeting. Then the municipality selects an aggregation consultant, in this case, Good Energy, L.P., to seek bids from third party suppliers to obtain competitive electricity rates for participants. An account holder is given the opportunity to opt out of the program during an initial 30-day enrollment period. They may also leave the program at any point with no associated termination penalties or fees.

There are over 130 Massachusetts municipalities taking advantage of the state law that allows this type of municipal aggregation. View a list of them here.

Please refer to your community’s program website for the specific launch date.  Participants will see the new supply charges reflected on the following month’s bill for the previous month’s service.

If you are currently receiving basic service electricity supply from your electric utility, no action is required. You will automatically be enrolled in the program unless you choose to opt out.

The opt-out notification letter provides details about your community’s municipal aggregation program. It is sent by the winning supplier for the program, on behalf of your municipality. All reasonable design efforts are made by the supplier to make the opt-out notification letter appear legitimate and prevent recipient account holders from considering the letter an unwanted solicitation. By sending the enclosed opt-out card back to the supplier, you are indicating that you do not wish to participate in the municipal aggregation program. If you do not receive an opt-out letter, this may be because you are already in contract and receiving electricity supply from a third party supplier. If you are not in contract with a third party supplier and believe you should have received the letter, contact the winning supplier for your municipality’s aggregation program. This information may be found in the gray box to the right and in the opt-out letter.

The goal of municipal aggregation is primarily savings and long term price stability, though savings cannot be guaranteed, due to the fact that there is no visibility into future rates. Participants will see no change in their electric utility bill other than a change in price on energy supply. They will continue to receive a single bill, make one payment, and continue to receive the same level of service from their electric utility.

Your electricity bill has two cost components – delivery and supply. The aggregation program only affects the supply component of your bill. The delivery portion of your bill will not be affected.

No, you will not be charged a higher delivery rate; delivery rates do not change based on participation in a municipal aggregation program. Delivery rates are set by the electric utility and are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

Yes, your single bill will continue to come from your electric utility.

Each eligible account holder will receive written notification after the bid informing them of the winning supplier price compared to the electric utility’s rates, in addition to the account holder’s right to opt out. After the 30-day opt-out period has ended and the program has begun, each eligible account holder that did not opt out will see the following indicated on their monthly electric utility bill:

“As of your next cycle meter read your supplier will be NextEra Energy Services.”

This is the only notification from the electric utility confirming participation in the program that account holders will receive.

The program rate will take effect with your March 2019 meter read. Your new program rate will be reflected on your electric utility bill the following month for the preceding month’s service.

No, there is no contract to sign. The program is designed to be as easy as possible for participants. Accounts are automatically enrolled as long as they are currently receiving basic service supply from the electric utility. Regular updates will be posted on your municipality’s website as the opt-out period approaches.

The contract term is 20 months long in duration. The final term is based on the most favorable price and is selected by the municipality’s governing body.

No, there are no changes to your current meter. The electric utility continues to read your meter.

No, no deposit is required.

No, residents and businesses can opt out without penalty during a 30-day opt-out period. Opt-out notices are sent via USPS mail prior to the program initially commencing. Simply return the opt-out notice within 30 days and your account(s) will not be included. Participating account holders may leave the program at any time without penalty.

Residents and businesses who are enrolled in the program may terminate their participation at any time without any early termination or exit fees.

Yes, if an account holder opts out of the program, they may opt back in at a later date. Residential and commercial accounts that are enrolled in the program may terminate their participation in the program at any time and without any associated early termination or exit fees. They may also re-enroll in the program at a later date with no associated re-enrollment fees but are not guaranteed the original contract rate. The aggregation program rate will be reflected on the account holder’s utility bill on the next available billing cycle. Because switching suppliers requires at least two days to process by the electric utility, you are encouraged to re-enroll in the program at least five (5) business days prior to the meter read date indicated on your electric utility bill in order to ensure re-enrollment occurs on a timely basis.

A Third Party Supplier is a for-profit company that sells electricity supply into the grid. This supply may be purchased by individual electricity customers under contract.

Third party suppliers are very active within the Commonwealth. This is due to significant increases in electricity rates for all electric utilities within Massachusetts. We strongly advise any account holder that is considering an offer(s) to read the complete contract fine print and have a clear understanding of any termination penalties, along with rate details, before agreeing to purchase electricity from a third party supplier.

No, unfortunately you may continue to receive other third party supply offers. It is important, therefore, to remember the details of the aggregation program, i.e., the duration of the program, rate, etc. Very often, due to the length of time commonly associated with these types of programs, participants forget the program is still in effect when in fact there may be months or even years remaining. Sometimes this results in a participant inadvertently leaving the program for what they believe to be a better offer. You are encouraged to remember that the municipal aggregation program is operated under the due diligence of your municipality and though not impossible, it is unlikely that other offers will be more competitive. Please regularly visit the program website and your municipality’s website(s) for updates.

If you move within municipal boundaries, you may preemptively contact the supplier to re-enroll your new account in the aggregation program at the original rate for the duration of the term. If you do not preemptively contact the supplier, you will receive an opt-out notification letter which details the program. Do not mail back the enclosed opt-out card if you wish to participate in the program. Please note that your first month of service will default to the electric utility’s basic generation service supply, but will then transition to the municipal aggregation program on your next available billing cycle.

Yes, you can continue to participate in a budget billing/equal payment plan.

Service and billing questions should continue to be directed to either Eversource at (800) 592-2000. You may also contact the supplier directly if you have a billing question.

No, the delivery of your electricity is always the responsibility of the electric utility. As a result of energy deregulation in 1997 in Massachusetts, electric utilities are only able to collect revenue from delivering the power to your meter, not from the actual supply. This is why electric utilities in Massachusetts are indifferent to the supply portion of the bill. Simply put, your utility does not make any money on the actual electricity they supply to your account(s). They only generate revenue from the delivery of that electricity.

No, the program will focus exclusively on electricity.

Yes, any account currently on utility basic service that is not enrolled with a third party supplier is eligible and will be automatically enrolled unless the account holder chooses to opt out.

No, there is no guarantee the program rate will always be below the utility Basic Service rate. The aggregation price usually reflects a fixed rate for the full term of the Electric Service Agreement, which may be several years in duration. The Basic Service rate changes every six months for residential and small business & lighting accounts, and every three months for large commercial customers.
 

Only third party suppliers licensed by the state were eligible to bid. In addition, an in-depth request for proposal was disseminated by the energy consultant to interested third party suppliers requiring them to provide their qualifications. Among other things, the request required suppliers to demonstrate financial strength, experience, in addition to customer service capabilities.

No, by law, utilities are not permitted to bid. With regard to supply, the electric utility only provides default service, however, the electric utility will always be responsible for delivering your electricity.

Having a solar system which allows you to earn net metering credits does not preclude you from participating in the municipal aggregation program. As long as the account holder is receiving basic service supply from the electric utility, they are able to participate in the municipal aggregation program and will continue to receive net metering credits from the electric utility. Net metering will work in the same way as before you joined the municipal aggregation program. Your net metering credits will continue to appear on your electric utility bill and will continue to be calculated based on the electric utility’s basic service price. In addition, there is no change in solar renewable energy credit (SREC) eligibility or the ability to sell the SRECs. For a more detailed explanation, please click here.

Please refer to the program website for this information.

The energy consultant will be responsible for managing all aspects of the program and keeping the municipality appropriately informed.

No, your municipality does not profit from a municipal aggregation program.

Various public meetings and information sessions will take place in your area. Please check for announcements from your municipality and local news outlets. You may also call and speak to a Good Energy representative. Please refer to the telephone number listed on the program website for this information.

Good Energy’s due diligence process requires bidding suppliers to meet strict qualification requirements. Among other things, the request requires suppliers to demonstrate financial strength and experience, as well as customer service capabilities. This process minimizes any chance of a supplier going out of business. If the supplier is bought, the purchasing entity will continue to provide supply service under the existing contract terms.

Good Energy will work with your community to obtain renewal pricing. Similar to the original term, eligible customers will be given the opportunity to opt out.

No, the municipality does not pay any administrative fees.

In 1997, the State of Massachusetts became the first state to pass municipal electric aggregation legislation, a type of program designed to save consumers money on their electricity bills. In fact, in 1997, the Commonwealth formed the Cape Light Compact, the first municipal electric aggregation program in the country. Six other states have since followed. The programs go by different names in different states, but the bulk-purchasing principles upon which they operate are largely the same. By aggregating, or grouping, a large number of electric accounts together, economies of scale are created, enabling participating municipalities to achieve greater savings for consumers than could normally have been achieved by the individual customer.

Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Inc. (previously Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance) supplies the local renewable energy above the amount required by state law, known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Green Energy Consumers Alliance, a Boston-based nonprofit, purchases renewable energy wholesale mostly from community-based wind power projects located in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Green Energy Consumers Alliance has entered into a number of long-term contracts with wind power projects located in communities such as Plymouth, Gloucester, Scituate, and Ipswich.

Good Energy, L.P. is a leading national energy management and consulting firm that has been implementing large and small community choice aggregation programs in various states across the country since 2008. They have partnered with your municipality to design and operate this municipal aggregation program. Good Energy is headquartered in New York City and is currently the retained aggregation consultant for over 200 communities across the country.