The objective of municipal aggregation is to lower electricity bills through the formation of a buying group composed of residents and businesses without interfering with the level of service provided by the existing utility (Eversource or National Grid) which continues to distribute the electricity supply. In addition to lowering and stabilizing electricity prices, aggregation can be used to increase the amount of renewable energy in a community’s energy supply. Municipal aggregation was created under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 164 Section 134. More than 60 cities and towns in Massachusetts already have active electricity aggregation programs, while many other communities are actively pursuing similar programs.
The SRPEDD program employed a procurement process designed to maximize savings and provide a full set of consumer protections, including the right for any customer to opt out of the program at any time at no charge.
Each Plan details the organization and operation of its respective aggregation program in accordance with the statutory and regulatory mandates that require each Plan to:
- Detail the process and consequences of aggregation
- Provide for universal access, reliability and equitable treatment of all classes of customers
- Achieve a price for energy that will either:
a) not exceed the price of Basic Service currently offered by the local distribution company (LDC – Eversource or National Grid), or
b) may exceed the price for Basic Service due to the purchase of renewable energy
- Automatically enroll all customers currently on Basic Service, but allows them to opt out or leave the program without penalty at any time
- Provide that participation by any retail customer shall be voluntary
- Explain the operation of the program, including:
a) An organizational structure of the program, its operations, and its funding
b) Rate setting and other costs to participants
c) The methods for entering and terminating agreements with other entities
d) The rights and responsibilities of program participants and termination of the program. The Plan also includes a public outreach and education effort through which each participating city or town fully informed all ratepayer classes in advance of their impending automatic enrollment, their right to opt out without penalty at any point, all charges and fees, the LDCs’ basic service rates and the goals and expected benefits of the aggregation program. Each Plan was developed in consultation with the Department of Energy Resources and was made available for public review and comment. Following authorization by each city or town’s governing body, plans were submitted to the DPU for review and approval.