Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about Acton Power Choice? Review the list of frequently asked questions and answers below.

Still don’t see what you’re looking for? Please feel free to contact the Town’s program consultants for customer support.

General program information

What is Acton Power Choice?

Acton Power Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, a form of group electricity purchasing.

Typically, your electric utility provides two sets of services to you:

  1. They deliver your electricity (Massachusetts electric utilities are electricity delivery companies only). Delivery services appear on your bill as Delivery charges.
  2. They also supply your electricity, which means they buy electricity for you and pass the cost along to you. The cost of the electricity they buy for you appears on your bill as your Supply charge.

But in Massachusetts, there are actually three ways to purchase your electricity:

  • Your utility can do it for you, as just described. This is called Eversource’s Basic Service, and this is how most people buy their electricity.
  • You can sign a contract with an electricity supplier yourself. You may have received offers in the mail or over the phone.
  • Your municipal government can sign a contract with an electricity supplier that you can benefit from. This third option is municipal electricity aggregation, and this is what Acton Power Choice is.

In an aggregation, the Town uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to select an electricity supplier and to negotiate both the amount of renewable energy that is purchased on behalf of the community as well as the price.

If you participate in Acton Power Choice, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but the Acton Power Choice electricity supplier will appear on your Eversource bill as your electricity supplier. Also, Eversource will use an Acton Power Choice price to calculate the Supply charge on your electricity bill instead of their own Basic Service price.

Acton Power Choice provides an alternative both to Eversource’s Basic Service pricing and to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.

What is a municipal electricity aggregation?

A municipal electricity aggregation, such as Acton Power Choice, is a group purchasing program for electricity.

In an aggregation, the Town uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to select an electricity supplier and to negotiate both the amount of renewable energy in the electricity and the price.

If you participate in the program, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but:

  • The electricity supplier chosen by the Town will appear on your Eversource electricity bill as your electricity supplier.
  • Eversource will use an Acton Power Choice price to calculate the Supply charge on your electricity bill instead of their own Basic Service price.
How does Acton Power Choice benefit Acton residents and businesses?

Acton Power Choice increases the community’s investment in clean, renewable electricity while providing Acton electricity customers with choices, a stable electricity price, and consumer protections.

Clean, renewable electricity: Massachusetts state law already requires that a minimum amount of renewable energy be purchased for all electricity sold in the state. Acton Power Choice is purchasing 40% more renewable energy from the Northeast in addition to the minimum amount required by law. This decision is part of the town’s strategy to decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with Acton’s energy use.

Choices: In addition to purchasing more renewable electricity as a part of the Acton Power Choice Standard offering, the program also provides two additional program options:

  • Acton Power Choice Green, which provides 100% renewable electricity, all from renewable energy projects in New England (100% MA Class I RECs)
  • Acton Power Choice Basic, which provides the program benefits of price stability and consumer protections but provides no additional renewable electricity beyond the 20% minimum amount required by state law

Stable prices: Acton Power Choice prices are fixed until December 2023.

Consumer protections: Acton Power Choice protects consumer information and gives consumers the right to leave the program at any time with no penalty or fees.

 

Does Acton Power Choice replace Eversource as my electric utility?

No. If you participate in Acton Power Choice, Eversource will remain your electric utility. They will continue to deliver your electricity, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with them.

Acton Power Choice changes the supplier on your Eversource bill, and it will change the price that Eversource uses to calculate the Supply charge portion of your electricity bill. But your bill will continue to come from Eversource as it does now.

What will change if I participate in Acton Power Choice?

You will see two key changes as a result of participating in Acton Power Choice:

  1. On the Supply portion of your Eversource electric bill, you will see the Acton Power Choice electricity supplier listed as your electricity supplier instead of Eversource.
  2. The price that is used to calculate the Supply portion of your Eversource bill will change from Eversource’s Basic Service price to the price for the Acton Power Choice option you are enrolled in.

Additionally, the amount of renewable energy purchased on your behalf may change, depending on which program option you choose.

Otherwise, everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your bill from Eversource, you will continue to pay Eversource, and you will continue to call Eversource if your power goes out.

If you are eligible for any discounts from Eversource, those will be unaffected by your participation in Acton Power Choice.

Someone came to my door/called me about an electricity program. Do they represent the Town of Acton or Eversource?

No. If you receive a personal call or visit about your electricity bill, that person does NOT represent the Town of Acton or Eversource, even if they mention the name Eversource. Neither the Town nor Eversource will knock on doors or make individual sales phone calls. Any communication about your bill will be done by mail and will bear the Town seal or the Eversource logo.

If you receive a call or a visit from someone who wants to discuss your electricity bill, here are two things to keep in mind:

  • You should treat your electricity account number like you treat your credit card information. Do not show it to anyone unless you are ready to sign a contract with the company they represent.
  • You do have the right to select an electricity supplier of your choice, but if you choose to explore this option, please check the terms of the agreement carefully. Things to check for include: minimum bill amounts, contract length requirements, early termination fees, low introductory rates that change after the introductory period ends, and rates that vary.

If you feel a sales person has fraudulently identified themself as working for Eversource or the Town of Acton, please report it to the Department of Public Utilities Consumer Division 617-737-2836, or DPUConsumer.Complaints@state.ma.us.

What will happen after December 2023 when the contract with NextEra Energy Services ends?

As the contract with NextEra Energy Services comes to an end, the Town will go out to the market to get bids from electricity suppliers. If the Town accepts a bid and signs a new contract, all customers that are actively enrolled in the program at that time will be automatically enrolled in the new contract. All active program participants will receive a notification about the new prices by mail.

If the Town does not accept a bid or sign a new electricity supply contract, all customers that are actively enrolled in the program at that time will be automatically returned to Eversource’s Basic Service.

Whatever happens, the transition will be seamless for active program participants, and no action is required.

Who do I call if my power goes out?

Call Eversource if your power goes out, as always. When you participate in Acton Power Choice, Eversource will continue to be your electric utility, and they will continue to deliver your electricity, maintain the poles and wires, and address power outages.

I have a tax-exempt account. How can I retain my account's tax-exempt status, and where do I send my tax-exemption documentation?

If your account has tax-exempt status and you wish to retain that status in Acton Power Choice, you must submit tax-exemption documentation to the program’s electricity supplier, and you must resubmit that documentation each time the electricity supplier changes. Eversource will not provide this information to Acton’s electricity supplier.

Visit the Tax-exempt accounts page for information on where to send your tax-exemption documentation.

Is Acton the only community in Massachusetts with this kind of program?

No. Approximately half of Massachusetts cities and towns have aggregations like Acton Power Choice.

Electricity supply & electricity suppliers

What is electricity supply?

Electricity service has two parts: supply and delivery. Supply refers to the electricity itself. Delivery is the process of bringing that electricity to you over the wires.

When you have Eversource’s Basic Service, Eversource is providing you with two services. They are delivering and also supplying (buying) the electricity for you.

With Acton Power Choice, Eversource continues to deliver your electricity, but Acton chooses its own supplier.

What is an electricity supplier?

An electricity supplier is not your electric utility. Electricity suppliers do not deliver your electricity. They buy it for you, and your electric utility delivers it.

An electricity supplier is a company licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to purchase electricity and related services from the wholesale electricity markets for resale to retail electricity customers.

If you sign a private contract with an electricity supplier or you participate in a municipal program like Acton Power Choice, your electric utility (Eversource) uses the price provided by the program’s electricity supplier to calculate the Supply charge on your electricity bill instead of their own Basic Service price.

Who is the program's current electricity supplier?

The current electricity supplier for Acton Power Choice is: NextEra Energy Services. If you participate in Acton Power Choice, you will see NES – Acton Power Choice listed on your Eversource electric bill as your electricity supplier.

Price, potential savings, & billing

Why is it important to have a stable electricity supply price?

Having a stable price for the supply part of your Eversource electricity bill can protect you from the seasonal price increases that occur when you have Eversource’s Basic Service. When Eversource is your electricity supplier, the price that is used to calculate the supply charge on your Eversource bill changes every 6 months for residential and small business customers, and it changes more frequently for larger commercial customers.

Having a stable price for the supply part of your Eversource electricity bill can also provide a predictable alternative to the variable prices offered by some commercial electricity supply offers. Some commercial electricity supply offers will provide a stable price for a few months, but then the price will vary monthly.

What will my electricity supply price be through Acton Power Choice?

Acton Power Choice offers two clean-energy alternatives to Eversource’s Basic Service:

  • Acton Power Choice Standard is 19.286 ¢/kWh. This choice includes 40% renewable electricity from newer renewable energy resources in the Northeast (MA Class I RECs) in addition to the 20% minimum required by state law for a total of 60%. New electricity customers in Acton are automatically enrolled in Acton Power Choice Standard.
  • Acton Power Choice Green is 20.750 ¢/kWh. This option provides 100% renewable electricity, all from newer renewable energy resources in the Northeast.

Acton Power Choice also offers an option that includes only the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law:

  • Acton Power Choice Basic is 17.766 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes.
How much money will I save through Acton Power Choice? Are savings guaranteed?

While the program offers the potential for savings compared with Eversource’s Basic Service price, savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed.

This is because the program price is fixed for the long term, while Eversource’s Basic Service prices change every 6 months for residential and small business customers and every 3 months for large business customers. Future Eversource prices are not known. As a result, the program price may not always be below the Eversource Basic Service price.

If you do achieve savings, the specific amount you save will depend on two things:

  1. The program option you are enrolled in, and the difference between that price and Eversource’s current Basic Service price
  2. The amount of electricity you use each month
Will I receive a second electricity bill?

No. Eversource will continue to bill you for your electricity, and this is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Acton Power Choice. View an example Eversource bill for details on how the program appears on your Eversource bill.

What should I do if Eversource's price falls below the program price?

It’s your choice. A few things to keep in mind:

The Acton Power Choice price is a long-term fixed price, but Eversource’s price changes every 6 months or less. As a result, it is likely that for some months, Eversource’s price will fall below Acton Power Choice prices. But at other times, Eversource’s price will likely be higher.

To compare prices accurately, you want to compare Acton’s price with the average of Eversource’s changing prices. The calculator allows you to compare the program price with the most recent 12-month average price from Eversource.

If you wish to change to a different program option or opt out of (leave) the program, you are free to do either at any time with no fee or penalty.

I am eligible for the low-income discount from Eversource. Will this change?

No. If you are eligible for a low-income discount from Eversource, it will be unaffected by your participation in Acton Power Choice.

I have budget billing from Eversource. Will this change?

Yes. If you join Acton Power Choice, budget billing will no longer apply to the supply portion of your Eversource bill. However, budget billing will continue to apply to the delivery portion of your bill.

I have solar panels on my property or I participate in a community solar program. If I join Acton Power Choice, will I continue to receive the credits or payments that I receive now?

Yes. You will continue to receive solar credits and/or solar incentive payments, and participating in Acton Power Choice will not change how they are calculated.

Where will I see Acton Power Choice on my Eversource bill?

Acton Power Choice appears on your Eversource electricity bill in two ways:

  1. On the first page of your bill, NextEra Energy Service (NES – Acton Power Choice) will be listed as your electricity supplier.
  2. On the second page of your bill, the price used to calculate your generation service charge (supply charge) will be an Acton Power Choice price.

Learn more about how Acton Power Choice appears on an Eversource bill.

Participation

How do I enroll in Acton Power Choice?

All new electricity customers in Acton are eligible for automatic enrollment in Acton Power Choice, in the Acton Power Choice Standard offering, unless they choose another option or opt out. You will receive a notification letter in the mail from the Town with program pricing information before being enrolled, and you will have the option to prevent enrollment.

If you sign a contract with an electricity supplier immediately after opening your electricity account, you will not be eligible for automatic enrollment in Acton Power Choice. However, you are free to request enrollment.

  • If you wish to wait until the end of your current electricity supply contract and then join the program, you may do so. You will receive the program price whenever you join.
  • If you wish to cancel your current electricity supply contract and join the program, you may do that as well. Most suppliers recommend that you call at least 10 days before your meter read.

Before you terminate an existing contract with an electricity supplier, we recommend that you check the terms of your contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.

Please note that accounts that have previously opted out and wish to re-enroll, as well as large commercial accounts, may not be eligible for a program price and may instead be charged a market price. If your account is deemed eligible for market pricing, you will be notified of the market price before being enrolled, and you will have an opportunity to accept or reject enrollment at that price.

To enroll, you may submit an enrollment form online or by contacting customer support with Acton’s program consultants at 1-844-379-9933.

 

 

How do I know if I'm enrolled in the program and which option I'm enrolled in?

If you are enrolled in Acton Power Choice, your electricity supplier will be listed as NES – Acton Power Choice on page one of your Eversource bill.

To check which program option you are enrolled in, look on the second page of your Eversource bill at the price that is used to calculate your generation service charge. Compare it to the Acton Power Choice prices.

(Remember that your bill presents prices in dollars per kWh, while most other informational resources present the prices in cents per kWh. You will likely need to move the decimal two places to the left or the right to match the prices).

See how Acton Power Choice appears on an Eversource bill.

Who is eligible to participate in Acton Power Choice?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Acton are eligible to participate.

However, accounts that have previously opted out and wish to re-enroll, as well as large commercial accounts, may not be eligible for a program price at the time of enrollment and may instead be charged a market price. If your account is deemed eligible for market pricing, you will be notified of the market price before being enrolled, and you will have an opportunity to accept or reject enrollment at that price.

I signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Can I participate in Acton Power Choice?

Yes, you are welcome to participate in Acton Power Choice. If you would like to enroll, we recommend that you first check the terms of your existing electricity supply contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.

Important note: For any customer who previously opted out of or left the program and wishes to re-enroll, the program’s electricity supplier is entitled to charge a market price instead of the program price for the remainder of the current electricity supply contract. If the program’s electricity supplier decides to charge market pricing, you will be notified before enrollment and can decide then whether to continue with enrollment or not.

I received a letter saying my account will be automatically enrolled. Is participation required?

No. Participation is not required, and you are free to leave or opt out of the program. There is no penalty for opting out. You may do so at any time. If you opt out, the supply portion of your bill will remain on Eversource’s Basic Service rate.

Will I be automatically enrolled if I am on Eversource's Do Not Call list?

No. If you have added your name to Eversource’s Do Not Call list, your account will not receive any mailings about the program, and your account will not be automatically enrolled. But you may enroll if you wish.

I am enrolled. How do I leave the program?

There is no penalty for leaving or opting out of Acton Power Choice. You may do so at any time.

If you opt out, you will be placed on Eversource’s Basic Service pricing.

You may opt out at any time online or by contacting customer support.

How do I opt up to Acton Power Choice Green or opt down to Acton Power Choice Basic?

You may use the online form to change from one program option to another or contact customer support. You may change program options at any time.

I have a large commercial account. Am I eligible for program pricing?

You are welcome to submit your large commercial account for enrollment online or over the phone, however you may be offered market pricing instead of program pricing when initially enrolling in the program. If your account is eligible for market pricing, you will be informed of the market price prior to being enrolled, and have the opportunity to accept it or reject it. If you enroll in the program at a market price, you will receive the program price under all future contracts if you remain in the program without interruption.

Can I leave, or opt out of, the program and re-enroll?

Yes, however, for any customer who previously opted out of or left the program and wishes to re-enroll, the program’s electricity supplier is entitled to charge a market price instead of the program price for the remainder of the current electricity supply contract. If the program’s electricity supplier decides to charge market pricing, you will be notified before enrollment and can decide then whether to continue with enrollment or not.

Eversource

Will Eversource provide me with a lower quality of service because I participate in this program?

No. Eversource’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in the Acton Power Choice Program. Eversource does not profit from the supply charges on your electric bill. They make their profit from delivery charges. They have no preference whether they are your electricity supplier or you choose a different electricity supplier.

What is the difference between Eversource and an electricity supplier?

Eversource is Acton’s electric utility. They are your electricity delivery company. That means Eversource is responsible for delivering electricity to you, for maintaining the poles and wires, and for addressing power outages. Eversource charges you for these services on the Delivery portion of your electricity bill. Eversource does not generate electricity.

An electricity supplier is a company that buys electricity for you from electricity generators.

  • For most electricity customers, their electric utility is also their electricity supplier. When they are your supplier (i.e., when you have Eversource’s Basic Service), your electricity bill will indicate that is the case.
  • You may also choose your own electricity supplier. If you do, the name of that company will appear on your Eversource bill as your electricity supplier, and the rate you negotiated with them will be used to calculate the Supply charge on your bill.
  • With Acton Power Choice, the Town chooses an electricity supplier and signs a contract that establishes the price that Eversource uses to calculate the Supply charge on your bill.

Renewable energy

What is the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law?

The minimum amount increases every year. For 2022, Massachusetts state law requires that:

  • 20% renewable electricity must be purchased from newer renewable energy projects in the Northeast (MA Class I RECs).
  • 31% must be purchased from other types of renewable energy.

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources page on compliance information for the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Why should I opt up to 100% renewable electricity with Acton Power Choice Green?

The Acton Power Choice Green option gives you 100% renewable electricity, all from newer renewable energy projects in the Northeast.

Choosing this option means making the most significant contribution possible in the program to sustainability and to the New England economy.

Every time you pay your electric bill, you will make a strong investment in:

  • Reducing Acton’s greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the amount of renewable energy used to generate electricity. Electricity generated from renewable sources, such as the sun and wind, does not create the greenhouse gases that cause climate change and does not pollute the air.
  • Encouraging the development of additional local renewable energy projects by creating additional demand for the electricity generated by those projects.
  • Supporting local businesses and local jobs by buying electricity from Northeast-based projects.
What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is from sources that we won’t run out of (that can be renewed) like the sun and the wind. In comparison, there are a limited amount of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas on the planet. Once we use them, they are gone.

Under Massachusetts state law, a variety of resources qualify as renewable. The main sources of renewable energy are solar, wind, and small hydroelectric projects.