Worcester Community Choice (Electrical) Aggregation


Please visit www.WorcesterCommunityChoice.com for the most up to date information on the Aggregation implementation process, status updates, FAQ, and more!



The City of Worcester is developing a group electricity purchasing program called Worcester Community Choice Aggregation, which will allow the city to take a big step forward toward its sustainability goals and will offer its residents and businesses greater control over the price and environmental characteristics of their electricity supply.


Timeline:

February 20, 2019. The Draft Community Choice Aggregation Plan was presented publicly on February 20, 2019. Here is the Program Overview Presentation from the meeting.

March 15, 2019. The City filed the Petition for Approval of Aggregation Plan with the Department of Public Utilities.

Pending DPU approval, anticipated Aggregation Program roll-out is currently set for late 2019.

If you have questions or comments, please submit them to WorcesterEnergy@worcesterma.gov.


The Program Goals are:

  • Sustainable Options:

The aggregation program provides flexibility for the City to take advantage of different “green” options dependent on the market conditions, community preferences and priorities, and more. The City’s approach toward sustainability is thoughtful and creative, seeking to employ either or both of the following options: adding renewable energy into the power supply (above what is already required of the suppliers via the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard) and/or reducing electricity consumption through an energy efficiency program.

The aggregation plan is seeking to enable the City the option to offer a municipal energy efficiency program. The least expensive and most environmentally friendly watt is the one you don’t need to purchase. Energy efficiency is clean, readily available, and reliable; it is often referred to as the fifth fuel and is the lowest-cost (3 cents per kWh!) energy resource currently available. In short, it is the most sustainable option out of all the fuels out there, both from a financial and an environmental perspective. Through a small Operational Adder to the price, up to $0.0025 per kilowatt-hour, the City would be able to fund an annual energy efficiency reimbursement program for its participants (which would supplement, not replace, the existing MassSave program), similar in design to a Residential Rebate Pilot the City successfully ran in 2014, which benefitted 200 homes!

*Please note that specific decisions regarding choosing sustainable measures, as mentioned above and stated in the Plan, will be decided separately for each competitive electrical supply contract. The aggregation’s first electricity supply procurement will not take place until after the MA DPU approves the city’s aggregation plan, expected in the fall of 2019. The City will also seek input from its residents and business owners as to their receptiveness to and tolerance of paying more for greener electricity. Stay tuned!

  • Price Stability:

The procured electricity would provide price stability and predictability to the consumers, avoiding periodic price swings as compared to the National Grid Basic Service* rate.

*Basic Service pricing periods vary by customer class. For residential and small business customers, the prices change every six months. For medium and large business customers, prices change quarterly.

Aggregations seek to provide a price that is lower than the average National Grid Basic Service price over the course of the year. However, because future National Grid Basic Service prices are unknown, savings cannot be guaranteed.

  • Consumer Protection and Informed Electricity Choice:

The City will give customers a choice in the price of their electricity supply and environmental characteristics.

The aggregation will provide a safe electricity choice for customers. Recent data from National Grid indicates that 38.8% of the Worcester customers on the R-2 rate (low-income) are currently on a competitive supply contract; compared to 22.8% of R-1 class customers (regular residential rate), indicating a much higher penetration of competitive suppliers into the low-income customer class. Yet, some of the complaints received by the municipal offices indicate that some customers are signed up without being fully informed about the contract provisions, terms and conditions. Given recent reports and complaints of apparently overly aggressive behavior on the part of some competitive electricity suppliers in the city, municipal aggregation will provide an excellent alternative for many residents.

  • Universal, Equitable Access and Treatment:

The program will be open to all electricity consumers in the City and all customer classes will be treated equally. There will be no hidden costs or other hidden provisions. Participants will be able to leave the program at any time with no penalties or fees.


What is Municipal Electric Aggregation (MEA) and What is its History in Worcester?

MEA was enabled by the state Restructuring Act of 1997 (Chapter 164, Section 134) which allows local municipal governments to aggregate the electric loads of the consumers within their boundaries in order to negotiate more favorable terms with a power supplier. The delivery of electricity to one's home or business and electrical billing remains with the local utility. 

Currently, Massachusetts consumers have a choice to contract independently with electrical supply companies. However, a small number actually do so due to the time and persistence required for the relatively small amount of potential savings realized per household. As a result, most consumers continue to obtain their electrical supply via their local utility (in Worcester - National Grid), which negotiates the electrical supply rates for its customers.

Since 2009, the City of Worcester has been investigating the feasibility and desirability of MEA. Until recently, the City has determined that there was not enough potential savings or other ancillary benefits to justify the effort and expense.

In 2017, a number of benefits justified staff to recommend municipal electrical aggregation. The City Council authorized commencement of the aggregation plan at its June 20, 2017 meeting.

In September 2018, the City contracted with MassPowerChoice, LLC for Worcester Community Choice Aggregation consultant services, and started developing a draft Worcester Community Choice Aggregation Plan.

The City will provide Program participants with a choice of the price of their electricity supply as well as its environmental characteristics.