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 charge portion of your electric 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 electric bill includes charges for both of these services:
|Your utility’s primary role is to deliver electricity. Their responsibilities also include maintaining the delivery infrastructure (the poles and wires) and addressing power outages. They charge you for these services in the Delivery Charges portion of your electric bill.
|Your utility can also provide a second service, which is to supply your electricity. This means your utility purchases electricity on your behalf and charges you for the amount you use in the Supply Charge portion of your electric bill. When your utility supplies your electricity, their Basic Service price is used to calculate the Supply Charge portion of your bill. Basic Service prices change seasonally. When you first open your electricity account, you are placed on Basic Service.
The diagram below shows your utility both delivering and supplying electricity.
With Bellingham Power Choice
In an electricity aggregation like Bellingham Power Choice, you remain a customer of your electric utility (National Grid or Eversource). They continue to deliver your electricity, and you continue to call them when the power goes out. They also continue to send your electric bill, and you continue to send bill payments to them.
However, your utility no longer supplies (buys) your electricity. As a result, you no longer have their Basic Service price for the Supply portion of your electric bill.
Instead, the Town of Bellingham uses the group buying power of the community to sign a contract with an electricity supplier and establish an electricity Supply price for the community. Your utility then uses a Bellingham Power Choice price instead of their own Basic Service price to calculate the Supply portion of your bill. Bellingham Power Choice prices are typically fixed, long-term prices that do not change seasonally.
Through the program, the Town can also choose to buy more electricity from renewable sources than is required by state law. For participants in the Power Choice Green option, Bellingham buys 100% of their electricity from renewable sources.
What remains the same
Otherwise, your primary relationship for electricity will remain with your electric utility. This means:
- You will continue to receive one bill from National Grid or Eversource. This is the only electric 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 electric utility will continue to deliver your electricity, restore electricity service after a power outage, and maintain the poles and wires.
- If you have solar panels on your property or participate in a community solar program, you will continue to receive solar credits and/or solar incentive payments, and participating in Bellingham Power Choice will not change how they are calculated.
- If you are eligible for a low-income discount, you will continue to receive that discount.