General program information
What is Canton Electricity Choice?
Canton Electricity Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a form of group electricity purchasing.
Typically, your electric utility, Eversource, provides two sets of services to you:
- They deliver your electricity. Delivery services appear on your bill as your Delivery charge.
- 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.
In Massachusetts, there are actually three ways to purchase your electricity:
- Your utility can do it for you, as just described. This is called 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 Canton Electricity Choice is.
Learn more about how aggregation works.
What gives Canton the authority to launch a municipal electricity aggregation?
Municipal electricity aggregation was enabled by the Massachusetts Restructuring Act of 1997 (Chapter 164, Section 134), which allows local municipal governments to aggregate the electricity supply loads of the electricity consumers within their geographic boundaries in order to negotiate more favorable terms with an electricity supplier.
Municipal aggregations are subject to oversight by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and Canton’s aggregation plan is subject to a regulatory review and approval process before the Town will be authorized to implement the program. (Learn more about Canton’s implementation process.)
Nearly 50% of Massachusetts communities have already launched electricity aggregations.
Why is Canton launching this program?
The primary goal of Canton Electricity Choice is to provide more clean, renewable electricity, electricity price stability, and consumer-friendly choices for Canton residents and businesses, all at a competitive price. Canton Electricity Choice will be a Town alternative to Eversource’s Basic Service. It will also be a transparent alternative to other electricity offers, but without the high pressure or fees of those other offers.
(Please note, that while Canton Electricity Choice will offer the potential for savings when compared with Eversource’s Basic Service price, Canton Electricity Choice cannot guarantee savings because Eversource’s prices change, and their future prices are not known.)
Massachusetts state law already requires that a minimum amount of renewable energy be included in all the electricity sold in the state. The default option in Canton Electricity Choice will include additional renewable energy over and above the state required minimum. Canton Electricity Choice will also offer options with other amounts of renewable electricity.
How will I benefit from Canton Electricity Choice?
With Canton Electricity Choice, the Town will use the bulk buying power of the community to provide you with new electricity choices that will give you greater control over the environmental characteristics and price of your electricity supply.
- Cleaner electricity – Canton Electricity Choice participants will automatically receive more renewable electricity than is required by state law. (The standard amount is still to be determined, depending in part on electricity prices at the time the Town enters into a contract with an electricity supplier.) Or you will be able to choose other amounts of renewable electricity.
- Price stability – The program will provide a fixed price for electricity supply over a long period of time. This will make the program different from Eversource’s Basic Service, where the price changes every six months or less, and from many commercial offers in the marketplace.
- Consumer protections – Canton Electricity Choice will provide a trustworthy, Town-vetted alternative to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace. The program will include consumer protections, such as no hidden fees and the ability to opt out of the program at any time with no penalty.
Is Canton the only community in Massachusetts implementing an aggregation?
No. Municipal electricity aggregation has been building momentum across Massachusetts. Canton is joining more than 150 other Massachusetts communities that already have aggregations. Increasingly, communities are implementing “green” aggregations like Canton’s program will be, which increase the amount of renewable electricity in the community’s electricity supply beyond the minimum amount required by state law.
What will change for me with Canton Electricity Choice?
You will see two key changes as a result of participating in Canton Electricity Choice:
- On the first page of your Eversource electricity bill, you will see the Canton Electricity Choice electricity supplier listed as your supplier instead of Eversource. Canton will choose its supplier through a competitive procurement process after the Canton Electricity Choice Aggregation Plan receives regulatory approval.
- Eversource will use a Canton Electricity Choice price to calculate the supply charge on your bill instead of their own Basic Service price.
Additionally, the amount of renewable energy that you receive may change, depending on which program option you choose.
Otherwise, everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your electricity 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 or credits from Eversource, those benefits will be unaffected by your participation in Canton Electricity Choice.
I received a call/visit/letter in the mail about my electricity bill. Is it from the Town, this program, or Eversource?
The Town of Canton will send a letter to electricity accounts that are eligible for automatic enrollment after Canton’s Aggregation Plan receives regulatory approval. That letter has not been mailed. It will arrive in an envelope bearing the Town seal, and the letter itself will also bear the Town seal. The letter will not ask for additional information. If your account is eligible to be automatically enrolled, as will be the case for most Canton electricity customers, you will not need to provide any additional information.
Please note: Eversource, the Town of Canton, and Canton Electricity Choice do not make sales calls or visits to your home.
Any person or company who asks for additional information (such as the account number on your electricity bill) when they market their program to you does not represent Canton Electricity Choice or Eversource.
If you receive a letter that does not include the Town seal, it is not from the Town and does not represent Canton Electricity Choice. If you want to confirm whether you have received a legitimate Town communication, you can contact customer support with Canton’s program consultants.
If you receive a call or a visit from someone who wants to discuss your electricity, keep these two things in mind:
- You should treat your Eversource electricity account number like you treat your credit card information. Do not give it out unless you want to change your electricity supplier.
- You do have the right to select an electricity supplier of your choice. If you choose to explore this option, please check the terms of the agreement carefully. Things to check for include, but are not limited to: 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 themselves as working for Eversource or the Town, please report it to the Department of Public Utilities Consumer Division 617-737-2836, or DPUConsumer.Complaints@state.ma.us.
How long will Canton Electricity Choice last?
The program will last as long as Canton believes it is providing value for the community. Canton will sign an initial contract with an electricity supplier when the program launches. At the end of that contract, Canton can decide whether to continue the program or discontinue it and return all participants to Eversource’s Basic Service.
Who do I call if the power goes out?
Call Eversource if your power goes out, as always. Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity and maintain the polls and wires, and will remain responsible for addressing power outages.
I have solar panels on my property or I participate in a community solar program. If I join Canton Electricity 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 Canton Electricity Choice will not change how they are calculated.
How do I maintain my account's tax-exempt status if I participate in Canton Electricity Choice?
Tax-exempt accounts that wish to maintain their tax-exempt status in Canton Electricity Choice must submit tax-exemption documentation to the program’s electricity supplier.
This means that tax-exemption documentation must be submitted each time the program’s electricity supplier changes.
The program’s electricity supplier is required by the State of Massachusetts to have valid tax-exemption documentation on hand for all tax-exempt accounts.
You may have submitted tax-exemption documentation to Eversource already, but Eversource does not share this documentation with the program’s electricity supplier. It is the customer’s responsibility to submit this documentation.
More information about where to send your tax-exemption documentation will be available closer to program launch.
Enrolling and participating
How do I join Canton Electricity Choice?
Most electricity accounts in Canton will be automatically enrolled when the program launches.
Specifically, all electricity accounts on Eversource’s Basic Service (meaning those who have not signed a private contract with an electricity supplier) will be automatically enrolled at launch, unless they opt out.
If you have a contract with an electricity supplier at the time the program launches, your account will not be automatically enrolled, but you can choose to enroll, and the enrollment process will be easy. Please be aware that your electricity supplier may charge early termination fees, so you should carefully review your current contract terms and conditions before deciding to enroll.
More information about enrollment will be available after Canton’s Aggregation Plan receives regulatory approval.
Who will be eligible to participate in Canton Electricity Choice?
All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Canton will be eligible to participate. All Canton electricity customers with Eversource’s Basic Service (meaning those who have not signed a private contract with an electricity supplier) will be automatically enrolled when the program launches. The automatic enrollment model is state law.
Is participation required?
No. While the program has an automatic enrollment model in accordance with state law, participation is not required. There is no penalty for opting out. You may do so at any time. If you receive a letter notifying you that your account will be automatically enrolled, you may opt out of the program before being automatically enrolled, and you may also opt out any time after enrollment. If you opt out, the Supply portion of your Eversource electricity bill will continue to be calculated using Eversource’s Basic Service price.
Can I opt out and then re-enroll?
Yes, however if you opt out of the program and want to re-enroll, there’s a possibility that you will be charged a market price instead of the program price
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.
Pricing, potential savings, and billing
Will Canton Electricity Choice provide savings compared with Eversource's prices?
Canton Electricity Choice will offer the potential for savings compared with the average of Eversource’s changing Basic Service prices. However, because Eversource’s prices change every 6 months for residential and small business accounts and every 3 months for large business accounts and their future prices are not known, Canton Electricity Choice cannot guarantee to provide savings.
Will I know the program options and the price for each before I am enrolled?
Yes. If you are an Eversource Basic Service customer and eligible for automatic enrollment in Canton Electricity Choice, you will receive a letter in the mail with program information, including pricing, before you are enrolled.
What will my electricity supply price be if I participate in Canton Electricity Choice?
We do not know yet. Canton Electricity Choice prices will be determined when the Town signs a contract with an electricity supplier. That contract will be signed after a competitive procurement process, which will occur after the state regulatory review and approval process for the Canton Electricity Choice Aggregation Plan has been completed.
Canton Electricity Choice will provide a stable electricity supply price. Why is a stable electricity supply price important?
Having a stable price for the Supply portion of your electricity bill can protect you from the seasonal price increases that occur when you have Eversource’s Basic Service pricing. When you have Eversource’s Basic Service, the price that is used to calculate the Supply portion of your electricity bill changes every 6 months for residential and small business accounts and every 3 months for large business accounts, often rising in the winter.
Having a stable price for the Supply portion of your electricity bill can also provide a predictable alternative to the variable prices of some electricity supply offers in the marketplace. Some electricity supply offers will provide a stable price for a few months, but then the price will vary monthly and will rise significantly.
The Canton Electricity Choice price will be fixed for longer than 6 months, and when it changes, the Town will announce the new price publicly before it takes effect.
However, because Eversource’s prices change and future prices are not known, Canton Electricity Choice cannot guarantee to provide savings compared with Eversource’s Basic Service prices.
What if Eversource's Basic Service price falls below the Canton Electricity Choice price?
The Canton Electricity Choice price will be a long-term price, while Eversource’s Basic Service prices change every 6 months for residential and small business accounts and every 3 months for large business accounts. As a result, it is likely that for some months, the Eversource price will fall below the Canton Electricity Choice price. Canton Electricity Choice cannot guarantee that it will beat Eversource’s Basic Service prices at all times. Remember that you are free to leave the program at any time and return to Eversource’s Basic Service with no penalty or fee.
Will I receive a second electricity bill?
No. Eversource will continue to bill you for your electricity. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Canton Electricity Choice. The program will be integrated into your existing electricity bill. See an example Eversource bill.
Where will I see Canton Electricity Choice on my Eversource electricity bill?
Canton Electricity Choice will appear on your Eversource electricity bill in two ways:
- On the first page of your electricity bill, you will see the Canton Electricity Choice supplier listed as your electricity supplier instead of Eversource.
- On the second page, the price that Eversource uses to calculate your Supply charge will be a Canton Electricity Choice price instead of their own Basic Service price. See an example Eversource bill.
Electricity supply and electricity suppliers
I have already signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Can I participate in Canton Electricity Choice?
Yes. If you have already chosen an electricity supplier, you will not be automatically enrolled in Canton Electricity Choice, but you may choose to participate, and enrolling will be easy. Please be aware that your electricity supplier may charge early termination fees, so you should carefully review your current contract terms and conditions before choosing to enroll. More information about enrolling will be available closer to program launch.
What's the difference between Eversource and an electricity supplier?
In Massachusetts, an electric utility like Eversource is fundamentally an electricity delivery company. Eversource does not generate electricity for you. They are responsible for delivering electricity to you, for maintaining the poles and wires, and for addressing power outages. They charge you for these services on the Delivery portion of your electricity bill.
An electricity supplier is a company that buys electricity for you.
- For most electricity customers, their utility is also their electricity supplier. When you first open your electricity account, this is the case. When Eversource is also your electricity supplier, you have what is known as Eversource’s Basic Service.
- 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 Eversource will use the rate you negotiated with that electricity supplier to calculate the Supply charge on your bill.
- With Canton Electricity Choice, the Town will choose an electricity supplier. If you participate, the name of the company selected by the Town will appear on your Eversource bill as your electricity supplier, and Eversource will use a Canton Electricity Choice price to calculate the Supply charge on your bill.
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.
With Basic Service, your electric utility (Eversource) is your electricity supplier and also delivers the electricity to you.
With Canton Electricity Choice, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but Canton will choose its own electricity supplier.
What is a competitive electricity supplier?
A competitive 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.
A competitive 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 Canton Electricity Choice, your electric utility (Eversource in Canton) will use your electricity supplier’s price to calculate the Supply charge on your electricity bill instead of their own Basic Service price.
Will Canton Electricity Choice replace Eversource as my electric utility?
No. Eversource will remain the electric utility for Canton and will continue to deliver your electricity, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with Eversource.
Canton Electricity Choice will change the supplier on your Eversource electricity bill, and it will change the price that Eversource uses to calculate the Supply charge on your electricity bill. But your electricity bill will continue to come from Eversource, and Eversource will continue to be your electric utility.
Will Eversource provide me with a lower quality of service if I participate in Canton Electricity Choice?
No. Eversource’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Canton Electricity Choice. Eversource does not profit from the Supply charge on your electric bill. They make their profit from Delivery charges. As a result, they have no preference whether they choose your supplier or Canton does.
I am currently eligible for a low-income discount from Eversource. Will that change?
No. If you are eligible for a low-income discount from Eversource, it will be unaffected by your participation in Canton Electricity Choice. You will continue to receive that discount.
I have budget billing from Eversource. Will this change?
Yes. If you participate in Canton Electricity Choice, budget billing will continue to apply to the Delivery charge on your bill, but it will no longer apply to the Supply charge on your bill.
What is renewable electricity?
Renewable electricity is generated by sources that can be renewed as opposed to sources that can be used only once, such as fossil fuels. Under Massachusetts state law, a variety of resources qualify as renewable. The main sources of renewable electricity are solar, wind, and small hydroelectric projects. Renewable electricity is sometimes referred to as green electricity or clean electricity.
Why is renewable electricity important?
Using renewable electricity is an important step you can take to fight climate change and increase your independence from fossil fuels like gas, coal, and oil. Electricity generated from renewable sources does not cause air pollution and does not emit the gases that cause climate change.
What is the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by Massachusetts law?
The minimum amount increases every year. For 2023, Massachusetts state law requires that 22% of your electricity comes from newer renewable energy projects in New England (Massachusetts Class I RECs).
In addition, state law requires the inclusion of a minimum amount of renewable energy from older renewable energy projects in New England (Massachusetts Class II RECs), as well as from some alternative energy sources that are considered highly efficient but not renewable.
For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources page on compliance information for the Renewable Portfolio Standard.