How aggregation works

Municipal electricity aggregation is a form of group electricity purchasing. Electricity aggregation replaces your electricity supplier, and it changes the price that your electric utility (National Grid or Eversource) uses to calculate the supply charges on your electricity bill. In addition, aggregation can increase the amount of renewable energy in your electricity supply. But electricity aggregation does not replace National Grid or Eversource as your electric utility.

Here’s how it works:

Without Bellingham Power Choice

(Unless you already have a contract with an electricity supplier)

Typically, your electric utility (National Grid or Eversource) provides two services to you as an electricity customer, and your electricity bill includes charges for both of these services:

Electricity delivery

Your utility’s primary role is as an electricity delivery company. They deliver electricity to you, maintain the poles and wires, and address power outages. They charge you for these services in the delivery charges on your electricity bill.

Electricity supply

Your utility can also provide a second service, which is as an electricity supplier. They purchase electricity on your behalf and charge you in the supply charges on your electricity bill for the amount you use. When your electric utility, National Grid or Eversource, is your electricity supplier, you have what’s called Basic Service. When you first open your electricity account, you are placed on Basic Service.

Diagram of the utility both delivery and supply electricity to Bellingham

Your utility’s fixed Basic Service prices change seasonally, every 6 months for residential and commercial customers and every 3 months for industrial customers, and their future prices are not known.

With Bellingham Power Choice

In an electricity aggregation like Bellingham Power Choice, your electric utility, National Grid or Eversource, continues to deliver your electricity and you continue to call them when the power goes out, but you no longer have their Basic Service for the supply portion of your electricity bill.  Instead, the Town of Bellingham uses the group purchasing power of the community to negotiate a contract with an electricity supplier on behalf of residents and businesses and to determine the price of the community’s electricity supply and whether any additional renewable electricity is included. If you participate in Bellingham Power Choice, National Grid and Eversource use the Bellingham Power Choice price to calculate the supply charges on your electricity bill instead of their own Basic Service price.

Diagram of an electricity supplier, the utility, and the town of Bellingham

The Bellingham Power Choice price is a fixed long-term price that does not change seasonally.

What changes with the program

If you participate, you will see two changes on your electricity bill beginning the month after you enroll:

  1. Bellingham’s electricity supplier, NextEra, will be listed on your bill as your electricity supplier
  2. Your electricity bill will use the Bellingham Power Choice price to calculate your supply charges instead of your utility’s Basic Service price.

View an example National Grid bill.
View an example Eversource bill.

Otherwise, your primary relationship for electricity will remain with your utility, National Grid or Eversource. This means:

  • You will continue to receive one bill from your utility, National Grid or Eversource. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Bellingham Power Choice.
  • You will continue to call National Grid or Eversource if your power goes out. Your utility will continue to deliver electricity, restore electricity service after a power outage, and maintain the poles and wires.
  • If you receive net metering credits from solar panels on your electricity bill, those will continue to be calculated using your utility’s Basic Service price, not using the Bellingham Power Choice price.
  • If you are eligible for a low-income discount, you will continue to receive that discount.

Participating in the program

All new electricity customers in Bellingham will be automatically enrolled in Bellingham Power Choice within a few months of opening the account. Automatic enrollment is state law.

You will receive a notification in mail from Bellingham before being automatically enrolled with information about the program. If you do not wish to participate, you may opt out before being automatically enrolled or any time after enrollment, with no penalty. If you choose to opt out, your electric utility will continue to be your electricity supplier, and they will use their own Basic Service price to calculate the supply charges on your electricity bill.

Learn how to enroll if you will not be automatically enrolled.