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What is Community Electricity Aggregation?
Also known as “municipal aggregation,” it is a program created under “Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 164 Section 134 that allows a municipality to enter into a contract for electric power on behalf of consumers in a city or town. The Melrose Board of Aldermen approved the aggregation plan in March 2015. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources reviewed the plan in May 2015. Final approval to initiate a program was granted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in September 2015. The Melrose CEA program was launched in November 2015 with a 30-day opt-out period after which all National Grid Basic Service customers who did not opt out were enrolled with Constellation in January 2016 for an initial term of one year. At the end of 2016, the city decided to extend the contract with Constellation for another six months through the June 2017 meter read date.
What do I need to do in order to participate?
If you are currently receiving your electricity supply from default National Grid Basic Service, you do not need to do anything. You will be automatically enrolled in the program.
Why is it that only National Grid Basic Service customers are eligible to take part in the program?
If you’ve signed a contract with another competitive supplier and terminate that contract early, consumers are often charged early termination fees ranging from $30 to $300. To protect consumers from these termination fees charged by competitive suppliers, those customers are not automatically enrolled in the program. When a competitive supply contract ends, customers can then choose to enroll in the Melrose program, switch back to National Grid’s Basic Service, stay with their current supplier, or choose another.
I just moved to Melrose and have a new National Grid account. How do I join the program?
You will receive an opt-out letter in the mail shortly after opening a new National Grid account with instructions on what to do. No action is required to be enrolled in the Melrose program. To opt out, simply sign and date the opt-out postcard and mail it within 30 days of the postmark date on the letter.
If I participate in MassEnergy’s GreenUp Supply program, am I eligible to join the city program?
GreenUp participants are not eligible to participate in the CEA program at this time and will remain on Basic Service with National Grid. In order to participate in the city supply program, GreenUp participants will need to cancel their GreenUp Charge and enroll in the city program once the change is reflected on their National Grid bill.
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 Basic Service supply from National Grid.
Electricity Bill Impacts
How does Community Electricity Aggregation impact my National Grid bill?
Participants will see no change in their utility bill other than a change in price under the Supply Services section of your National Grid electric bill. You will continue to receive a single bill, make one payment, and continue to receive the same quality of service from your utility company.
Under the program, can I continue to participate in my utility’s budget billing payment plan?
Will I be charged a higher delivery rate?
No, delivery rates do not change based on participation in a municipal aggregation program. Utility delivery rates are regulated by the state and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
If I opt out, can I opt back in at a later date?
Yes. Once you opt out of the program you will be able to re-enroll at the market rate at that time.
Why is the program “opt-out” and not “opt-in”?
When the regulations were adopted in 1997, it was designed as an opt-out program so that suppliers would provide the best price for a municipal bulk purchase knowing that most accounts would be included. In states where the program is opt-in, generally, only 10% of accounts enroll which is a disincentive for suppliers to offer their lowest rates.
What if I choose to leave the program early?
Residents who are enrolled in the program may terminate their participation at any time without any early termination fees by calling Constellation at (855) 310-5567.
What if I have a photovoltaic or solar panel system?
Having a solar system does not preclude you from participating. If an account holder is receiving any supply from the local utility, they are able to participate in the aggregation program and continue to receive net metering credits from the utility.
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 your local electric distribution company:
NATIONAL GRID: (800) 465-1212
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.
Does this mean I can’t take advantage of MassSave incentives that are subsidized by National Grid?
You will still be eligible to take advantage of all MassSave energy efficiency program offerings and incentives. It is not dependent on which supplier you use because the Energy Efficiency Charges that fund the MassSave program are part of the Delivery Services section of your National Grid bill, not the Supply Services section.
I am currently receiving offers from third party suppliers promising lower electricity rates. What should I do?
Third party suppliers 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 household or business 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.
City Role in CEA
Does my municipality profit from the program?
What administrative functions will the municipality perform related to this program?
The energy consultant will be responsible for managing the program and keeping the municipality appropriately informed.
How can I get more information about the Community Electricity Aggregation program?
Various public meetings and information sessions will take place in Melrose. Please check for announcements City of Melrose website, Mayor Dolan’s Blog, and local news outlets. You may also call and speak to a Good Energy representative at (844) 627-7244, or go to firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Who is Good Energy, L.P.?
Good Energy, L.P. is a leading national energy management and consulting firm that has been implementing large and small Community Electricity Aggregation programs in various states across the country since 2008 and has partnered with your municipality to design and operate the CEA program. Good Energy is headquartered in New York City and is currently the retained municipal aggregation consultant for over 160 communities in various states.