Southborough’s Municipal Aggregation plan: Hearing and Comments due – March 22

by beth on March 15, 2017

Post image for Southborough’s Municipal Aggregation plan: Hearing and Comments due – March 22

Left: Who’s supplying the power that comes through your outlet? As long as National Grid maintains delivery, you may not even notice a change. But the Town hopes that customers who don’t opt out of an upcoming change will see some savings. (image posted to flickr by HomeSpot HQ)

It’s something you may have voted on or never even heard about. But sometime this year, your power supplier is likely to change.

Last spring, Town Meeting voters approved allowing Southborough to solicit a Municipal Aggregation plan. It’s an intitiative the Town is continuing to move on.

The current phase is a public comment period that ends a week from today, March 22nd at 5:00 pm. That’s 3 hours after a public hearing opens at the Mass Department of Public Utilities in Boston.

If DPU appoves the plan, the Town will move ahead to contract with an aggregate supplier. Eventually, all electrical power for residences, businesses, and municipal buildings would by default be supplied by an aggregate power supplier.

The key phrase there was “by default”. Anyone already contracted with a third party supplier will not be effected. And all other National Grid customers in Southborough will be given 30 days notice allowing them to “opt-out” of the Town’s plan.

It’s only customers who don’t act that will be automatically rolled into the new supplier plan. And even they can pull out at any time without penalties. (Though you won’t be able to opt back in at anytime. There will be set windows for joining.)

All of this only relates to the “Supply Service” portion of your electric bill. “Delivery Service” for all of Southborough will continue to be through National Grid. (That means, they will still be the ones responsible for maintaining power lines to your home.)

The main intent of the plan is to save money on utilities for public buildings. Town officials also believe it will offer significant savings for larger in-town businesses, and hope even residents and small businesses will see some savings.

The aggregate plan will offer set supply rates for the term of the contract. The rates will be negotiated by the Town’s contractor.

According to the plan filed with the state for approval: 

Price: The Town will secure its power supply by requesting competitive bids from the largest and most experienced power suppliers in the region. This competition will result in the best possible price.

Consumer protection: The Town’s program will include strong consumer protections, including the ability for any customer to leave the standard product at any time with no penalty or fee. There will be no hidden charges of any kind.

Product options: The Town will offer at least two options, a standard product and a greener product, giving customers a choice of environmental characteristics, terms of service, and price.

As part of the Town’s application for state approval, it is seeking an exemption from required quarterly disclosure mailings:

In support of its request for waiver, the Town states that quarterly mailings would be burdensome and expensive, raising the supply price for customers. Moreover, the Town will employ an alternative disclosure strategy that will provide the required information to customers as effectively as quarterly mailings. The alternative disclosure strategy will include press releases and postings on the program website.

The DPU hearing takes place next week, Wednesday, March 22, at 2:00 pm in the DPU’s Boston offices located at One South Station on the 5th Floor. Until 5:00 pm on that day, they will also be accepting written public comment.

For more details on the hearing and public comment submissions, click here.

To see the Town’s filing info with more details on the plan, click here.

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