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.
The objective of CCE is simply to lower the cost of electricity bills and to offer an electricity supply product that contains more renewable energy 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.
For the Town of Winchester and other communities in Greater Boston, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Inc. (previously Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance) is supplying the local renewable energy above the amount required by the state law known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Green Energy Consumers Alliance, a Boston-based nonprofit, purchases renewable energy wholesale mostly from community-based wind power projects located in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Green Energy Consumers Alliance has entered into a number of long-term contracts with wind power projects located in communities such as Plymouth, Gloucester, Scituate, and Ipswich. Here’s a blog post from Green Energy Consumer’s Alliance which better explains renewable energy and renewable energy certificates (RECs), the financial instrument by which renewable energy is commoditized.
If you are enrolled in WinPower 100, Green Energy Consumers Alliance is supplying 100% of your Class 1 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Green Energy Consumers Alliance explained to the Internal Revenue Service that the environmental benefits of renewable energy are enjoyed by everyone, which is why economists would call renewable energy a “public good”. With that logic, the voluntary purchaser of a REC from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance is able to deduct their REC purchase from their federal income taxes if they itemize charitable contributions on their return. As a result, you will receive a letter from Green Energy Consumers in January that details the amount spent on the 100% premium which you may deduct.
First, the municipality passed a warrant article at a Town Meeting or a motion at City Council. The town then selected Good Energy, L.P. to seek bids from third party suppliers 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.
Winchester joins over 140 Massachusetts municipalities, including, Arlington, Brookline, Charlton, Millbury, Oxford, Somerville and Sudbury to take advantage of the state law that allows this type of municipal aggregation. View a list of them here.
The Winchester CCA program launched in July 2017.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, your single bill will continue to come from Eversource.
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 their 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.
Enrollment took place in June 2017. The program began in July. Changes were reflected on the following billing cycle.
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.
The contract term will be 30 months in duration, beginning with your July 2017 meter reading.
No, there are no changes to your current meter. Eversource continues to read your meter.
No, no deposit is required.
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.
Residential and commercial accounts that are enrolled in the program may terminate their participation at any time without any early termination or exit fees. They may return to the program at any time with no associated re-enrollment fees at the rates scheduled under the original program terms.
Residents and 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.
A Third Party Supplier is a for-profit company that sells electricity supply into the grid which may be purchased by individual electricity customers under contract.
Third party suppliers are currently very active in 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 third party supplier.
No, unfortunately, you may continue to receive other third party supply 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.
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.
Yes, you can continue to participate in a budget billing/equal payment plan.
All service and billing questions will continue to be directed to Eversource at (800) 592-2000.
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.
No, the program focuses exclusively on electricity.
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.
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.
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.
Only third party suppliers licensed by the state were eligible to bid. In addition, an in-depth request for proposal was disseminated by the energy consultant to interested third party suppliers 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.
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.
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.
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.
Good Energy, the energy consultant, is responsible for managing all aspects of the program and keeping the town appropriately informed.
No, the Town of Winchester does not profit from the CCE 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.
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.
Good Energy will work with Winchester to obtain renewal pricing. Similar to the original term, eligible customers will be given the opportunity to opt out.
No, Winchester does not pay any administrative fees.
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.
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.