With low temperatures across New England this winter, Massachusetts households and businesses are preparing for winter electricity supply prices that are close to all-time highs. However, thanks to pre-emptive action taken by New Bedford Energy Now (NBEN), the City’s energy office, a majority of New Bedford’s households are insulated from these high electricity rates through the City’s Community Electricity Aggregation program (CEA).
In 2015, New Bedford played a lead role with 22 local cities and towns to launch the municipally approved CEA, the third largest of its kind in the nation. Through aggregation, or in other words, bulk-purchasing our electricity supply, New Bedford is able to offer residents a responsible alternative to Eversource electricity supply rates that is both stabilized and cost-effective.
After completing a competitive bid process, the original contract began in January 2016, and ended in December 2017. Constellation NewEnergy was selected as the electricity supplier (previously Con Edison Solutions). During this contract period, New Bedford residents that participated in the program saved over one million dollars!
Renewal of Electricity Program Fixes Rate until 2020
As the original contract approached its end date, the 23 CEA community representatives met in the fall of 2017 to determine if it made sense to renew the program. All agreed it did. After following the same competitive bid process, a new electricity supplier, Public Power, LLC was selected. The CEA now has a new 3-year fixed rate term of 10.122 cents per kilowatt hour, beginning in January 2018 and running through the end of 2020.
The program is off to a very solid start – Eversource’s winter residential rate for the next five months is 12.888 cents per kilowatt hour, which is 21.5% higher than the CEA rate of 10.122 cents per kilowatt hour. For the average New Bedford household (using an average 450 kilowatt hours per month), the individual savings of CEA program participation over the first 6-month term are anticipated to reach nearly $80 by June!
Eversource is mandated by the state to purchase their residential electricity supply every six months at pre-determined dates. For the current 5-month Eversource winter rate, the CEA is 21.5% lower. While the program is confident to see savings over the duration of the 36-month contract term, it is important to note that there may be a few times where the Eversource supply rate could be lower (most likely during the summer months; Eversource rates are anticipated to rise again in the winter months). Again, the CEA program rate will never change through the course of the term, ending January 2021.
Besides the anticipated savings, what are other reasons you’ll want to consider participating?
• Residents who participated in the previous aggregation program or have Eversource as their current electricity supplier have been mailed the update letter including the option to opt out. If you received the letter and you would like to participate, you don’t need to take any action. If you would like to opt out, you will need to either send back the included opt-out slip or visit masscea.com/opt-out/
• Residents currently with another third-party supplier will not be sent the update letter, but may join the program if they wish.
• Participants may leave the program at any time without any penalties or fees.
• The CEA program will not change over the duration of the contract term and has no hidden fees, unlike some other third-party supplier offers (often found from phone offers or sales people knocking on your door).
• Budget Plan/Low-Income customers receive exactly the same benefits.
• No one from the City, Eversource, or representatives from the CEA program will ever call, email, or knock on your door about this program. Those who do so are not associated with the New Bedford CEA program.
• Only the supply portion of your Eversource bill will be impacted. (Please see a sample bill here.) Eversource will continue to deliver participant’s power, manage billing, and assist during emergencies as it has done in the past, but Public Power, LLC will be indicated as the supplier of record on the supply portion of your Eversource bill beginning in January 2018. There will be no change in the level of service you receive from Eversource as a result of participating in the program.
Other communities currently participating in the group include Acushnet, Attleboro, Carver, Dartmouth, Dedham, Dighton, Douglas, Dracut, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, Northbridge, Norton, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Westford, and Westport.
So join the community, because there’s power in numbers!
For more information about the program, go to masscea.com/new-bedford/. You may also contact New Bedford Energy Now at (508) 991-6193 with questions or for help understanding your Eversource bill. The Energy Office located at 149 Dartmouth St, New Bedford MA 02740 and is available to assist Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm.