For Immediate Release: 11/5/2019 1:06 pm
The City of Worcester has entered into a 34-month contract with Direct Energy Services, LLC to buy electricity for the Worcester Community Choice Electricity Aggregation program, which will launch in February 2020.
The contract will help Worcester take a significant step toward decreasing its carbon footprint by providing its electricity customers with at least double the amount of local renewable energy compared to what is required by state law.
Worcester started the aggregation process in the summer of 2017 when City Council voted to authorize its administration to develop and file the Aggregation Plan with the state. The Plan, which was approved by the Department of Public Utilities on September 30, 2019, has the following goals:
The program is a group buying program for electricity authorized by Massachusetts state law which allows cities and towns to choose the electricity supplier for their electricity customers rather than having the local electric utility (which is National Grid for Worcester) buy the electricity. Currently, approximately 140 cities and towns in Massachusetts have municipal aggregation programs.
Through the program, participating customers in Worcester will receive an additional 20% renewable electricity from renewable energy projects in New England, over and above the minimum amount required by state law, for a total of 36% renewable electricity in 2020, 38% renewable electricity in 2021, and 40% renewable electricity in 2022. Adding such a significant amount of renewable electricity to Worcester’s electricity supply will be roughly equal to removing more than 6,000 passenger vehicles from the road or eliminating the energy use of more than 3,500 homes for each year of the electricity contract.
“Our goal is to significantly increase the amount of renewable electricity in Worcester’s supply while charging electricity customers about the same as what they would pay with National Grid’s basic service,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “We developed this program with consumer protections so that we could provide Worcester community members with a City-vetted, transparent alternative to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.”
The competitive procurement process will ensure a consumer-friendly, well-vetted alternative as compared to commercial electricity supply offers that customers may be receiving in the mail or by phone. There will be no hidden costs or other hidden provisions and participants will be able to leave the program at any time with no penalty.
Stabilization of electricity supply costs
In addition to providing additional renewable electricity, the Worcester Community Choice Electricity Aggregation program will also provide price stability for almost three years. The long duration of the price makes the program different from National Grid’s basic service, which most electricity customers in Worcester have. National Grid’s fixed basic service prices change every six months for residential and commercial customers and every three months for industrial customers. Long-term price stability can also make the program different from many electricity supply offers in the marketplace, which can offer a low introductory price that rises after the introductory period is over. It is important to note, however, that the Worcester Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Program cannot guarantee to provide savings compared to National Grid’s basic service price because future National Grid prices are not known.
The 34-month contract signed by the City was procured through a competitive bid process. The program will provide two electricity choices. Program participants will be automatically enrolled in Worcester Standard Green and will receive 20% renewable electricity in addition to the 16% state-required minimum in 2020 for a price of 11.442 cents/kWh. This compares to National Grid’s six-month winter residential basic service price of 13.957 cents/kWh, which will be in effect at the time the program launches. Participants can also choose Worcester 100% Green to receive 100% renewable electricity, all from renewable energy projects in New England, for a price of 14.031 cents/kWh.
Enrollment and Eligibility
Worcester electricity customers who have National Grid’s Basic Service, meaning they have not signed a private contract with an electricity supplier, will be automatically enrolled in the Worcester Community Choice Aggregation program. The automatic enrollment is required by state law.
Participation in the Worcester Community Choice Electricity Aggregation is not required. Worcester electricity customers may opt out of the program before being automatically enrolled, or, if they choose to participate, they may opt out anytime after being enrolled with no penalty or fee.
Customers who have already signed an electricity supply contract will not be automatically enrolled but are welcome to participate in the program. More information about how to enroll is available at WorcesterCommunityChoice.com or by calling 833-926-1207.
Public information sessions will be held on the following dates to provide an opportunity for the community to ask questions about the program: