Frequently Asked Questions

What is Community Electricity Aggregation?

Officially known as municipal aggregation, Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) 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 create 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.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

What are the objectives of or Community Electricity Aggregation?

The objective of CEA is simply to provide longer-term price stability, lower electricity supply costs on your 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, Eversource or National Grid, delivering the electricity supply.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

Where does the renewable energy for the program come from and how do I know I’m really getting 100% renewable energy?

For the City of Medford 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 state law known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). 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 (REC), the financial instrument by which renewable energy is commoditized.

Will Medford Premium 100% Local Green be tax deductible?

If you select Medford Premium 100% Local Green, Green Energy Consumers Alliance is supplying 100% of your Class 1 Renewable Energy Certificates (REC). 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 Alliance in January that details the amount spent on the 100% premium which you may deduct.

How does community electricity aggregation work?

First, the municipality passes a motion at City Council. The municipality then selected Good Energy, L.P., to seek bids from third party suppliers (TPS) to obtain competitive electricity rates for participants. An account holder is then able to opt out from the program during an initial 30-day enrollment period by returning the opt-out letter sent to the account holder by the winning supplier on behalf of the City, or they may leave the program at any point with no associated termination penalties or fees.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

What other Massachusetts municipalities participate in aggregation programs?

The City of Medford joins over 140 Massachusetts municipalities, including Bedford, Brookline, Melrose, Somerville, Stoneham and Winchester to take advantage of the state law that allows this type of municipal aggregation. 
View a list of them here.

When will the Medford Community Choice Electricity Aggregation program go into effect?

The City of Medford CEA program will launch in December 2019.

What do I need to do in order to participate?

If you are currently receiving your electricity supply from Eversource or National Grid Basic Service, and as a National Grid customer, do not participate in National Grid’s Green Up program, you do not need to do anything. You will automatically be enrolled in the program unless you choose to opt out. You may also enroll here.

What is an opt-out notification letter and why did I not receive one?

The opt-out notification letter provides details about the City of Medford Community Electricity Aggregation program. It is sent by the winning supplier for the program, on behalf of the City of Medford. By sending the enclosed opt-out card back to the supplier, you will be indicating that you do not wish to participate in the City of Medford CEA program. If you do not receive 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 download and print the opt-out letter here for Eversource or here for National Grid. You may also contact the supplier by phone at (866) 220-5696, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST, or via email at DESCustCare@Dynegy.com to learn more.

How does community electricity aggregation impact my electricity bill?

The goal of CEA is primarily savings and long-term price stability, though savings cannot be guaranteed, due to the fact that there is no visibility into future National Grid rates. Participants will see no change in their electric 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 their utility.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

What part of my electricity bill will this program affect?

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.

Will I be charged a higher delivery rate?

No, you will not be charged a higher delivery rate; delivery rates do not change based on participation in a CEA program. Delivery rates are set by the utility and are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

Will the single bill come from National Grid?

Yes, your bills will continue to come from Eversource or National Grid.

How will I be notified that my account(s) was successfully enrolled in the community electricity aggregation program?

Each eligible account holder will receive written notification after the bid informing them of the winning supplier price compared to Eversource or National Grid’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 utility bill (shaded in yellow):

“Our records indicate that you have switched your supplier option to DYNEGY (MEDFORD AGGREGATION) Supplier. If you have been switched without your authorization, a formal complaint can be filed with the Department of Public Utilities”

Click on the image above to open.

This is the only utility notification confirming participation in the program that account holders will receive.

When will I begin seeing a change in my electricity bill?

Enrollment is expected to take place in October – November 2019. Power flow will begin the month following enrollment. The new program supply rate and will be reflected on the following month’s 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 supply from the utility. Regular updates will be posted on the municipality’s website.

How long will the contract term be?

The contract term will be 36 months in duration.

Is there any change to my meter? If so, how/who reads the meter?

No, there are no changes to your current meter. Eversource or National Grid will continue to read your meter.

Is a deposit required?

No, no deposit is required.

Do I have to participate in the community electricity aggregation program if I don’t want to?

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 and without penalty. You may also opt out of the program here.

What if I choose to leave the program early?

Participating account holders may terminate their participation at any time without any early termination or exit fees. Similarly, they may return to the program at any time with no associated re-enrollment fees but are not guaranteed the original contract rate.

If I opt out, can I opt back in at a later date?

Residential and Small Business 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, but are not guaranteed the original contract rate. 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 or National Grid, 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.

What is a Third Party Supplier (TPS)?

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.

I am currently receiving offers from third party suppliers promising lower electricity rates. What should I do?

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.

Will other third party supply offers stop if I participate in the program?

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 CEA program is operated under the due diligence of the City and though not impossible, it is unlikely that other offers will be more competitive. Please regularly visit this site and the City of Medford’s site(s) for updates.

What happens if I move my residence or business from one location to another within the City and want to remain in the program?

If you move within the municipal boundaries of the City, you may preemptively contact the supplier by phone, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST, at (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 contract term. If you do not preemptively contact the supplier, 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 utility Basic Service supply, but will then transition to the City of Medford’s program on your next available billing cycle.

Under the program, can I continue to participate in my utility’s budget billing/equal payment plan?

Yes, you may continue to participate in a budget billing/equal payment plan.

Who do I call if there is an outage or issues with my electricity bill?

For all service and billing questions in Eversource, call (800) 592-2000.
For all billing questions in National Grid, call (800) 322-3223. To report an outage, contact National Grid at (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. 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.

Will the community electricity aggregation program include both electricity and natural gas?

No, the program will focus exclusively on electricity.

Can businesses participate in the program?

Yes, any account currently on utility Basic Service that is not enrolled with a third party supplier is eligible and will be automatically enrolled unless they choose to opt out.

I switched to a third party supplier and a few months later, my rate increased and I was paying much more than the utility rate. How do I know this won’t happen again by participating in this program?

The final contract requires the winning supplier to maintain the program rates for the entire term. This is called a fixed rate.

How do I know the community electricity aggregation rate will always be below the utility rate?
There is no guarantee the program rate will always be below the utility Basic Service rate. The aggregation price usually reflects a fixed rate for the full term of the Electric Service Agreement, which may be several years in duration. The Basic Service rate changes every six months for residential and small business & lighting accounts, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

How are we sure that a competent and reputable supplier will be selected?
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 requires suppliers to demonstrate financial strength, experience, and customer service capabilities.

Will my utility be eligible to bid?
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.

What if I have a photo-voltaic or solar panel system?
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 or National Grid, 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 CEA program. Your net metering credits will continue to appear on your utility bill and will continue to be calculated based on the utility 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.

How do I contact the winning supplier?

You may contact the winning supplier, Dynegy, by calling (866) 220-5696, Monday – Friday, 9:00AM to 5:00 PM EST (excluding holidays), or by email at DESCustCare@Dynegy.com.

What administrative functions will the municipality be performing related to this program?

The energy consultant will be responsible for managing all aspects of the program and keeping the City appropriately informed.

Does my municipality profit from the program?

No, the City of Medford does not profit from the CEA program.

How can I get more information about the community electricity aggregation program?

Various public meetings and information sessions will take place in your area. Please check for announcements from your municipality and local news outlets. You may also call and speak to a Good Energy representative at (833) 637-3232.

What if the selected program supplier goes out of business or is bought?

Good Energy’s due diligence process requires bidding suppliers to meet strict qualification requirements. Among other things, the request requires 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.

What happens at the end of the community electricity aggregation supply contract term?

Good Energy will work with the City to obtain renewal pricing. Similar to the original term, eligible customers will be given the opportunity to opt out.

Does the City of Medford pay any administrative fees?

No, the City does not pay any administrative fees.

What is the history of aggregation programs in the Commonwealth?

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.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

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 CEA programs in various states across the country since 2008. They have partnered with your municipality to design and operate this CEA program. Good Energy is headquartered in New York City and is currently the retained community electricity aggregation consultant for over 200 communities across the country.