Lowering Electricity Costs

Wednesday November 16, 2022

NEWBURYPORT – The city is joining about 150 Massachusetts communities in reducing skyrocketing electricity rates by bundling most of its residents’ purchases this winter to save more than $2.2 million.
The city signed a 10-month contract with Direct Energy Services, which will provide residents and businesses with relief from the 63 percent increase in the price of electricity that National Grid began assessing this month. The increase was blamed on the War in Ukraine and constraints in the supply of natural gas.
The savings through Colonial Power Group (CPG) start with the January meter read. The Newburyport program will be 36 percent lower than National Grid’s rate at $0.21760 per kilowatt hour (kWh). National Grid’s rate is $0.33891.
Next summer, the rate will drop for six months to $0.13320 per kWh, beginning in May and continuing until November of 2023. The city will then negotiate new rates for next winter.
Mayor Sean Reardon said, “We are excited to announce that the program is able to provide such great relief to our residents on their electric bills this winter. The program’s 10-month term protects the ratepayers from these historically high costs, but does not lock the City into these elevated prices beyond that, should the market stabilize.”
In Salisbury, town manager Neil Harrington this fall renewed the town’s electricity aggregation program for three years at $0.11134 per kWh.
Towns with public power programs are not affected by National Grid’s increase.
In an aggregation program, the municipality buys electricity in bulk, which allows companies like CPG of Marlborough to negotiate for a lower rate. Unlike National Grid that is limited to buying electricity two days a year, CPG can trade for a better price 210 days a year, its president Mark Cappadona told a full-house crowd last month that gathered in a conference room at the Senior Center.
Three information sessions on the Community Choice Power Supply Program will be held at 6 p.m., Nov. 21 at the Plum Island Tax Payers Hall, 8 Plum Island Blvd., at 1 p.m. on Nov. 28 at the City Hall auditorium and at 6 p.m., Dec. 15 at the Senior Community Center, 21 High Street in Newburyport.
Under the program, which is authorized by state law, residents will notice no change in their electricity service. The only difference will be that Direct Energy Services of Houston, TX, will be listed as the selected electricity supplier for the Community Choice Power Supply Program on the bill.
Residents and small business owners will continue to receive one bill from National Grid and to send payments to National Grid for processing. There will be no interruption in billing, power supply or customer service.
Ratepayers need take no action unless they choose to opt out. Residential and business customers on National Grid’s Basic Service will be automatically enrolled into the program unless they choose to opt-out.
There are no enrollment, early termination or cancellation fees. Residents, who choose to opt-out, can also rejoin the program later at no cost. That may not be true with a third-party supplier which may impose penalties or early termination fees.
Basic Service rates change twice a year or more, depending on rate class. As a result, the aggregation rate may not always be lower than the Basic Service rate. The goal of aggregation is to deliver savings over the life of the program against National Grid’s Basic Service. However, such savings cannot be guaranteed.
Residents or business owners with a supplier block on their account must contact their National Grid to request that the block be removed if they want to participate in Newburyport’s aggregated electricity program.
National Grid has several programs to help income-eligible families and customers who need special assistance meet their energy needs. To learn more, visit nationalgridus.com/MA-Home/Bill-Help/Payment-Assistance-Programs.
Residents may also visit colonialpowergroup.com/newburyport or call 866-485-5858 ext. 1 to learn more about Newburyport’s Community Choice Power Supply Program.

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