From the mayor’s office…

The City of Newton today signed an historic contract for all of the City’s electricity customers that is 60 percent from local renewable sources such as solar and wind, significantly reducing the City’s carbon footprint while also cutting the price customers pay.

This is an additional 46 percent above the state mandate for renewables.

Today’s decision makes Newton the community with far and away the highest percentage of additional local renewable electricity of any municipal aggregation program in Massachusetts. Of the 40 cities and towns with municipal aggregation programs that provide electricity from renewable energy sources above the amount mandated by state law, none provide an amount of local renewable electricity comparable to the 60% in Newton Power Choice. The closest is Brookline which will be at 39% in 2019, which includes the 14% state mandate.

Newton Power Choice is a “municipal aggregation” program that allows cities and towns to choose the electricity supplier for electricity customers within its borders, rather than having the local utility — Eversource, in the case of Newton — buy the electricity. 

With Newton Power Choice, Eversource will continue to deliver the electricity; customers will continue to contact Eversource if their power goes out; and Eversource will continue to bill them. The difference is that Newton now selects the supplier of the electricity for customers rather than leaving it up to the utility.

“I am proud to announce Newton Power Choice, and proud that we are leading the way by choosing a higher percentage of renewables than any other community in Massachusetts. This is the most significant step we can take to reduce the carbon footprint of Newton,” Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said.

The program will go into effect in March 2019.

The 22-month contract signed by Mayor Fuller today was procured through a competitive bid process. The standard price per kilowatt hour for customers will be 11.34 cents.  This compares to Eversource’s winter Basic Service rate (beginning January 1, 2019) for residential customers of 13.70 cents per kilowatt hour.

When this program goes into effect in March 2019, a typical Newton electricity customer (who uses 710 kwh/month) will get a total of 60% renewable energy and will pay $165.89 per month.  By contrast, that same customer would pay $182.37 when Eversource’s Basic Service rate goes up in January; this is a savings of $16.48. Further, that customer would receive only the state mandated 14% renewable energy content.

Eversource’s residential customer rate will change again in July 2019, so Newton Power Choice’s electricity customers are guaranteed to pay less only until then. While there is a guarantee of a stable price for 22 months, there is no guarantee of future savings beyond June 2019.

By state law, municipal aggregation programs must use an “opt-out model.” That means customers who take no action will be enrolled automatically in the Newton Power Choice standard program.

Newton electricity customers can opt out of the program entirely if they wish to remain on Eversource Basic Service. 

They can also choose from two additional Newton Power Choice options: (1) They can opt up from the standard level to receive 100% renewable electricity for an additional $2.91 per month, or (2) they can opt down from the standard level to receive only the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law, thereby saving $3.34 per month, as compared to the standard level, while remaining a participant in Newton Power Choice.

Customers can leave Newton Power Choice without a cancellation fee at any time. At any time, they can also join the program, opt up to 100%, or opt down.

Residents who are currently on Eversource Basic Service will receive a notice in the mail that explains the program and provides pricing information, and City officials will also hold a series of meetings early in the new year to explain the program and answer questions.

About Municipal Aggregation

Newton Power Choice is a “municipal aggregation” program.  Approximately 140 cities and towns in Massachusetts have municipal aggregation programs.  About 40 of these provide electricity from renewable energy sources above the amount mandated by state law.

Municipal aggregation programs allow cities and towns to aggregate the electricity customers within its borders and source electricity on the customers’ behalf, rather than having the local utility — Eversource, in the case of Newton — choose the electricity supplier.

Under a municipal aggregation program, the city or town can include a higher percentage of renewable energy from sources like solar and wind than a utility like Eversource is required by state law to provide.  Under state law, utilities like Eversource and competitive suppliers are currently required to provide 13% of the electricity they supply from renewable sources. This increases to 14% next year and by 2% every year thereafter. Of the 40 cities and towns with municipal aggregation programs that provide electricity from renewable energy sources above the amount mandated by state law, none provide an amount of local renewable electricity comparable to the 60% in Newton Power Choice. The closest is Brookline which will be at 39% in 2019, which includes the 14% state mandate.

The stable price for the 22-month contract term in Newton’s municipal aggregation program is different from Eversource’s Basic Service, which changes every six months for residential and small business customers and every three months for larger business customers. Municipal aggregation contracts are also different from many offers provided directly to consumers by competitive electricity suppliers, which often include prices that rise or vary after an introductory period and may have hefty cancellation fees. 

Mayor Fuller wants to thank the City of Newton’s Co-Directors of Sustainability Ann Berwick and William Ferguson for their deep expertise and hard work that led us to today’s decision.

Go to www.newtonpowerchoice.com for additional information.

 







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