Cut Your Rising Electricity Bills

Wednesday October 19, 2022

REGIONAL — With National Grid raising the price of electricity by 60 percent this winter, Newburyport may be looking across the Merrimack River with envy as the town of Salisbury renewed its electrical aggregation program for three years to lower energy costs significantly for its residents and businesses. 

In May, Salisbury Town Manager Neil Harrington signed the three-year renewal of its electricity aggregation program for town residents and businesses at a fixed rate of 11.134 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). 

National Grid announced the basic rate for electricity beginning Nov. 1 through April 30 will be 33.891 cents per kWh for residences and 32.287 for businesses.

Newburyport hosts a meeting Wednesday to discuss entering an electricity aggregation program. In an electricity aggregation program, a municipality buys electricity in bulk for its residents and businesses at a reduced and fixed rate. 

National Grid representatives will be present at the Newburyport Senior Community Center at 1 p.m. on Oct. 19 to discuss the price hikes. They will also discuss how energy supply is purchased, why prices are rising so dramatically and what steps residents can take to mitigate those costs. 

“Electrical aggregation gives the city, residents and businesses more control over the supply of their electricity. Contracting directly with an electricity supplier will provide the members of the community the benefit of city oversight and will provide price stability during the term of the contract,” Mayor Sean Reardon said in announcing the meeting. 

Colonial Power Group (CPG), the city’s residential electricity aggregator, will talk about electricity aggregation and the possibility that Newburyport may follow in Salisbury’s footsteps and create its own aggregation program. The city has been working on an aggregation policy for several years.

Ettenborough, the city’s Energy and Sustainability Manager, said, “We will work with CPG to provide educational information to the community as we progress through the process of selecting an electricity supplier. We hope to select a supplier in the coming weeks and launch the program at the beginning of 2022.”

There will be information about energy efficiency programs, budget billing and assistance options. The meeting will be aired on Channel 9 and streamed on the Port Media YouTube channel.

Salisbury customers who opted out of the town’s aggregation program may not opt back in to take advantage of the 11.134 cents per kilowatt hour rate, the town announced. That is different from how the program has operated since its inception in 2018, where customers could opt out or in at any time. 

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