Two springs ago, Town Meeting voters gave the Town permission to pursue a Municipal Aggregation Plan for electricity. A flat rate contract was finally secured this fall, and goes into effect this winter. It was adopted to provide savings to most residents/property owners in Southborough.**
Electricity will still be “delivered” by National Grid. NGrid will continue to be responsible for all the power lines and even for billing residents. It’s one section of the NGrid bill that will change – the supplier fees.
Some residents may have already set up special contracts with energy suppliers. They won’t be effected (unless they choose to).*
For the rest of us, our supplier will change unless we make the effort to opt out by January 22nd. And if you miss that deadline, or change your mind after it, you’re still able to opt out at anytime without a penalty.
The Town pursued this plan as a way to avoid risk from any jumps in energy prices. The plan can’t actually promise long term savings. Instead it promises price stability with the probability of savings.
The pitched savings are based on locked in prices that are lower than NGrid’s current “winter Basic Service rate”. But NGrid rates will continue to fluctuate, while the new plan rate will remain flat through February 2020. According to Town Administrator Mark Purple, NGrid changes its rates about every 6 months.
To help you decide whether to be part of the rollover or opt out, the Town is holding two information sessions on Tuesday, January 9th:
- 12:00 pm, Senior Center at Cordaville Hall, 9 Cordaville Road
- 7:00 pm, Hearing Room, Town House, 17 Common Street (this session will also be broadcast by Southborough Access Media)
Some other important notes:
- Residents who are eligible for discounts from National Grid, such as a low-income discount, will continue to receive those same benefits as a participant in the program.
- Customers who choose to be eco warriors can upgrade to a 100% renewable energy plan for an extra $1.86 per kWh.
- New electricity accounts (new homeowners, businesses, etc.) will get a chance to opt in on a rolling basis over the two years of the program
- Customers who opt out can opt in later, but the same rate isn’t guaranteed. They will need to contact the supplier, Public Power, to learn what rate is offered.
Here is the full release sent out by the Town on Friday:
Southborough Community Power Choice program will deliver electricity price stability and savings
Program will launch with savings of 1.79 cents/kWh below National Grid’s winter prices
SOUTHBOROUGH, MA –Southborough residents and businesses will soon have a new, lower rate for the electricity supply portion of their National Grid electricity bill. In February 2018, the Town of Southborough will launch the Southborough Community Power Choice municipal electricity aggregation program. By bulk purchasing electricity for the entire community within the program, the Town was able to negotiate a rate that is significantly below National Grid’s winter Basic Service rate at program launch. Southborough has signed a 24-month contract with Public Power for the fixed price of 10.88 cents/kWh, which is 1.79 cents/kWh below National Grid’s current winter Basic Service price of 12.673 cents/kWh.
The program price will be in effect from February 2018 meter reads to February 2020 meter reads. During that time, the program price will be used to calculate the Supplier Services portion of participants’ National Grid electricity bill instead of National Grid’s Basic Service price. In addition, program participants will see Public Power listed as their electricity supplier.
The program offers two Town-vetted alternatives to National Grid’s Basic Service and to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace:
Power Choice Standard is the default program offering and provides a fixed price of 10.88 cents/kWh. National Grid Basic Service customers will be automatically enrolled in Power Choice Standard on the date of their February 2018 meter read.
Power Choice Green offers an optional upgrade to 100% renewable energy, all generated by renewable energy projects in New England. The Power Choice Green option is available by request for a fixed price of 12.74 cents/kWh. To choose Power Choice Green, program participants should call Public Power at 1-800-830-2944.
“We established this program to provide protection and certainty for our residents and businesses – both from the seasonal fluctuation of National Grid electricity supply prices and from the confusing terms that can sometimes accompany other competitive supply offers for electricity in the marketplace,” said Southborough Town Administrator Mark Purple. “We are offering residents a choice, and giving them more control over their decisions about electricity. The Town’s option offers a combination of savings, consistency, and the ability to leave at any time. My hope is that this program will make life easier for Southborough residents and businesses, knowing the Town is providing them with an electricity supply option that they can trust and depend upon.”
All Southborough electricity customers that currently receive National Grid’s Basic Service will be automatically enrolled in the Southborough Community Power Choice program. Those who are eligible for automatic enrollment will receive a letter in the mail with program information in December. Electricity customers who have already established a contract with their own electricity supplier will not be automatically enrolled and will not receive a letter, but they may join the program by calling Public Power directly at 1-800-830-2944 and asking to enroll.
National Grid will continue to be responsible for delivering electricity to Southborough and for addressing power outages, even with this program in place. Program participants will continue to receive and pay just one electricity bill from National Grid, and this will be the only electricity bill they receive as participants in the Southborough Community Power Choice program. Those who are eligible for discounts from National Grid, such as a low-income discount, will continue to receive those same benefits as a participant in the program. Those with solar panels on their property will continue to receive net metering credits as a participant in this program, and those credits will continue to be calculated based on National Grid’s Basic Service rate, not on the program rate.
Participation in the Southborough Community Power Choice program is not required. Those who do not wish to participate may opt out of the program before launch. Those who do participate may opt out any time after launch with no penalty or free. Those who choose to opt out will remain on, or be returned to, National Grid’s Basic Service for the supplier services portion of their National Grid electricity bill. Those who wish to opt out before the program begins must do so by January 22, 2018. Opt out requests may be submitted by signing and returning the reply card received in the mail, by calling Public Power at 1-800-830-2944, or online at www.masspowerchoice.com/southborough.
While the program will provide savings at launch, savings are not guaranteed. The program price is fixed until February 2020, while National Grid’s Basic Service prices will fluctuate in that time. The program goal is to provide savings when compared with the average of National Grid’s changing Basic Service prices.
For more information, the public is invited to attend any one of the scheduled information sessions:
– Tuesday, January 9th, 2018: 12:00pm, Senior Center at Cordaville Hall, 9 Cordaville Road
– Tuesday, January 9th, 2018: 7:00pm, McAuliffe Hearing Room, Southborough Town House, 17 Common Street
Additionally, the 7:00pm session on January 9th will be recorded by Southborough Access Media, and the recording will be available on demand from the Southborough Access Media website.
Additional information is available from the Southborough Community Power Choice program website at www.masspowerchoice.com/southborough, and also by contacting the Town’s program consultants at 1-833-272-9591 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Anyone who already has a power supplier contract can opt in to the municipal plan if you act by January 22nd. But, depending on the contract you signed, there could be a penalty for early termination. So, you better read your terms first.
Updated (12/18/17 2:44 pm) I had reached out to Purple with some questions. Based on his responses, I updated the post with a few more details.
**Updated (1/10/18 4:14 pm): It seems that some of my info that I initially shared hear and in past posts on the Municipal Aggregation Plan was incorrect. According to statements by a selectman and the Town’s consultant, the program was created for the purpose of saving residents and businesses money.
In the original post, I included the following:
Before the specific rate plan was secured, Town Administrator Mark Purple indicated at a Board of Selectmen meeting that the average homeowner won’t likely see much of a difference. It’s mainly the Town with its municipal buildings and schools that hopes to reap significant savings. (And that does impact our wallet through taxes.) Larger energy users (like businesses based here) may also see benefit.
That information is now called into question. I didn’t want to hold up on sharing the right information while I dig into where my misperception stemmed from. (Especially, since I’m under the weather this afternoon. It’s going to have to wait.) But I apologize for causing confusion.