What is an opt-out notification letter and why did I not receive one?
The opt-out notification letter provides details about the WinPower Community Choice Electricity Aggregation program. It is sent by Dynegy, the winning supplier for the program, on behalf of the Town of Winchester. By sending the enclosed opt-out card back to Dynegy, you will be indicating that you do not wish to participate in the WinPower Program. If you have not received 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, you may go to the Dynegy web page which details the WinPower program and download and print the opt-out letter which may be found on the right-hand side of the page. You may also contact Dynegy by phone Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM EST (866) 220-5696, or via email at DESCustCare@Dynegy.com to learn more.
What is Community Choice Electricity Aggregation?
Community Choice Electricity Aggregation (CCE) 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 that the benefits of energy deregulation were passed onto 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.
What are the objectives of community choice electricity aggregation?
The objective of CCE 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 utility, in this case, Eversource, distributing the electricity supply.
How does community choice electricity aggregation work?
First, the municipality had to pass an article at town meeting. The town then selected Good Energy, L.P. to seek bids from TPS to obtain competitive electricity rates for participants. An account holder is able to opt out from joining the program during a 30-day period at the onset of the program by returning the opt-out letter sent to the account holder by the winning supplier on behalf of the town, or they may leave the program at any point with no associated termination penalties or fees.
On June 5th, 2017, a public presentation about the WinPower program was held at the Jenks Senior Center. The presentation is available here, on demand.
How does community choice electricity aggregation impact my electricity bill?
The goal of CCE is primarily savings and long-term price stability, though savings cannot be guaranteed, due to the fact that there is no visibility into future Eversource rates. Participants will see no change in their 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 Eversource.
What other Massachusetts municipalities participate in aggregation programs?
Winchester joins over 60 Massachusetts municipalities, including Somerville, Arlington, and Brookline, to take advantage of the state law that allows this type of municipal aggregation. View a list of them here.
Will the single bill come from Eversource?
Yes, your single bill will continue to come from Eversource.
When will the community choice electricity aggregation go into effect?
The program launched in July 2017.
What do I need to do in order to participate?
If you are currently receiving your electricity supply from Eversource Basic Service, you do not need to do anything. You will automatically be enrolled in the program unless you choose to opt out.
Do I have to participate in the community choice electricity aggregation program if I don’t want to?
No, residents and businesses can opt out without penalty during a 30-day opt-out period. Opt-out notices will be provided via USPS mail prior to the program 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.
What part of my electricity bill will this program affect?
Your electricity bill has two cost components – delivery and supply. The aggregation program only changes the supply component of your bill. The delivery portion of your bill will not be affected.
When will I begin seeing a change in my electricity bill?
Enrollment took place in June 2017. The program began in July. Changes were reflected on the following billing cycle.
What happens if I move my residence or business from one location to another within the town and want to remain in the program?
If you move within the municipal boundaries of the town, you may preemptively contact Dynegy by phone Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM EST (866) 220-5696, or via email at DESCustCare@Dynegy.com 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 Dynegy, you will receive an opt-out notification letter which details the program. Simply disregard the opt-out notification letter if you wish to participate in the program. Please note that your first month of service will default to Eversource Basic Generation Service supply, but will then transition to the WinPower program on your next available billing cycle.
Under the program, can I continue to participate in Eversource’s budget billing/equal payment plan?
Yes, you can continue to participate in a budget billing/equal payment plan.
Will the community choice electricity aggregation program include both electricity and natural gas?
No, the program focuses exclusively on electricity.
What if I choose to leave the program early?
Residents and businesses who are enrolled in the program may terminate their participation at any time without any early termination or exit fees. You may return to the program at the original rate for the duration of the contract term at any time.
How will I be notified that my account(s) was successfully enrolled in the community choice electricity aggregation program?
Each eligible account holder should have received written notification after the bid informing them of the winning supplier price compared to Eversource’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 your Eversource bill:
“As of your next cycle meter read your supplier will be Dynegy.”
This is the only notification from Eversource confirming participation in the program that account holders will receive.
Can businesses participate in the program?
Yes, any account currently on Basic Service that is not enrolled with a third party supplier is eligible and will be automatically enrolled unless they choose to opt out.
I switched to a third party supplier and a few months later, my rate increased and I was paying much more than the utility rate. How do I know this won’t happen again by participating in this program?
The final contract required the winning supplier, Dynegy, to maintain the new rate for the entire 30-month term, ending on your January 2020 meter read. This is called a fixed rate.
How do I know the WinPower rate will always be below the utility rate?
The consultant has extensive knowledge of how utility tariff rates are determined, and as such, has structured a term with the goal of providing annual savings throughout the term of the contract.
How are we sure that a competent and reputable supplier was selected?
Only TPS licensed by the state were eligible to bid. In addition, an in-depth request for proposal was disseminated by the energy consultant to interested TPS requiring them to provide their qualifications. Among other things, the request required suppliers to demonstrate financial strength, experience, and customer service capabilities.
In the final analysis, Houston, Texas-based Dynegy was selected as the winning supplier for the program. Dynegy is one of the largest energy suppliers in the in the US, and supplies power to more than 500 municipal electric aggregations, serving approximately one million residential electric accounts. Dynegy began supplying aggregation programs in 2012.
Will my utility be eligible to bid?
No, by law, utilities are not permitted to bid. With regard to supply, the utility only provides default service, however, the utility will always be responsible for delivering your electricity.
How long will the contract term be for?
The contract term will be 30 months in duration, beginning with your July 2017 meter reading.
Do I have to sign a contract?
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 supply from the utility. Regular updates have been posted on the municipality’s website.
If I opt out, can I opt back in at a later date?
Residents and small commercial accounts that are enrolled in the program may terminate their participation in the program at any time without any early termination or exit fees. They may also re-enroll in the program at a later date with no associated re-enrollment fees at the rates scheduled under the original program terms. 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 Eversource, you are encouraged to re-enroll in the program at least five business days prior to the meter read date indicated on your utility bill in order to ensure re-enrollment occurs on a timely basis.
What if I have a photovoltaic or solar panel system?
Having a solar system which allows you to earn net metering credits does not preclude you from participating in the aggregation program. As long as the account holder is receiving supply from Eversource, they are able to participate in the aggregation program and will continue to receive net metering credits from the utility. Net metering will work in the same way as before you joined the CCE program. Your net metering credits will continue to appear on your Eversource bill and will continue to be calculated based on Eversource’s Basic Service price. In addition, there is no change in SREC eligibility or the ability to sell the SRECs. For a more detailed explanation, please click here.
Who do I call if there is an outage or issues with my electricity bill?
All service and billing questions will continue to be directed to Eversource at (800) 592-2000.
How do I contact the winning supplier?
Dynegy is the winning supplier for the program. They may be reached by phone Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM EST (866) 220-5696, or via email at DESCustCare@Dynegy.com.
Will the utility take longer to restore my electricity if I am with a third party supplier?
No, the delivery of your electricity is always the responsibility of the utility. As a result of energy deregulation in 1997 in Massachusetts, utilities are only able to collect revenue from delivering the power to your meter, not from the actual supply. This is why 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.
Will I be charged a higher delivery rate?
No, you will not be charged a higher delivery rate; delivery rates do not change based on participation in a CCE program. Delivery rates are set by the utility and are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.
I am currently receiving offers from third party suppliers promising lower electricity rates. What should I do?
TPS are currently very active within the Commonwealth. This is due to the recent significant increases in electricity rates for all utilities within Massachusetts. We strongly advise any account holder 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 TPS.
Will other third party supply offers stop if I participate in the program?
No, unfortunately, you may continue to receive other TPS offers. It is important, therefore, to remember the details of the aggregation program, i.e., the duration of the program, rate, etc. Due to the length of time commonly associated with these types of programs, participants often 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 may believe to be a better offer. You are encouraged to remember that the CCE program is operated under the due diligence of the town and though not impossible, it is unlikely that other offers will be more competitive. Please regularly visit this site and the Town of Winchester’s site(s) for updates.
Does my municipality profit from the program?
No, the Town of Winchester does not profit from a CCE program.
What administrative functions will the municipality be performing related to this program?
Good Energy, the energy consultant, is responsible for managing all aspects of the program and keeping the town appropriately informed.
How can I get more information about the community choice electricity aggregation program?
Various public meetings and information sessions have already taken place in your area. Please check for announcements from your municipality and local news outlets.
Are other communities pursuing Community Choice Electricity Aggregation programs?
Yes, numerous communities have already established a CEA program or are currently developing one. These include the Towns of Arlington, Brookline, Charlton, Millbury, Oxford, Sudbury and the City of Somerville. View a list of them here.
What if the selected supplier goes out of business or is bought?
Good Energy’s due diligence process required bidding suppliers to meet strict qualification requirements. Among other things, the request required 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.
Is there any change to my meter? If so, how/who reads the meter?
No, there are no changes to your current meter. Eversource continues to read your meter.
Is a deposit required?
No, no deposit is required.
What happens at the end of the community choice electricity aggregation supply contract term?
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.
Does the municipality pay any administrative fees?
No, the municipality does not pay any administrative fees.
What is the history of aggregation programs in the Commonwealth?
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.
About Mass Energy:
For the Town of Winchester and other communities in Greater Boston, Mass Energy is supplying the local renewable energy above the amount required by the state law known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Mass Energy, a Boston-based nonprofit, purchases renewable energy wholesale mostly from community-based wind power projects located in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Mass Energy has entered into a number of long-term contracts with wind power projects located in communities such as Plymouth, Gloucester, Scituate, and Ipswich.
Who is Good Energy, L.P.?
Good Energy, L.P. is an energy consulting firm and national leader in the design and implementation of community choice electricity aggregation programs.
Good Energy is the retained community choice electricity aggregation consultant for over 200 communities across the country and has 31 active aggregations in Massachusetts comprised of over 300,000 households and businesses.
Good Energy is the selected vendor for three highly competitive bids by the selection committees of 1) the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), 2) the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) and the 3) City of Melrose, administered by MAPC.
Good Energy has partnered with the Town of Winchester to design and operate this program.