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 Eversource uses to calculate the Supply charges on your electric bill. In addition, aggregation can increase the amount of renewable energy in your electricity supply. But electricity aggregation does not replace Eversource as your electric utility.
Here’s how it works:
Without Needham Power Choice
(Unless you have a contract with an electricity supplier)
In a traditional model, Eversource provides two services to you as an electricity customer, and your electric bill includes charges for both of these services:
|Eversource’s primary role is to deliver your 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 portion of your electric bill.
|Eversource can also provide a second service, which is to supply your electricity. This means they purchase electricity on your behalf and charge you for the amount you use in the Supply portion of your electric bill. When Eversource supplies your electricity, their Basic Service price is used to calculate the Supply portion of your bill. Basic Service prices change seasonally. When you first open your electricity account, you are placed on Eversource’s Basic Service.
The diagram below shows Eversource both delivering and supplying electricity.
With Needham Power Choice
In an electricity aggregation like Needham Power Choice, you remain an Eversource customer. 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, Eversource no longer supplies (buys) your electricity. As a result, you no longer have Eversource’s Basic Service price for the Supply portion of your electric bill.
Instead, the Town of Needham 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. Eversource then uses a Needham price instead of their own Basic Service price to calculate the Supply portion of your bill. Needham’s prices will be typically fixed, long-term prices that do not change seasonally.
Through the program, Needham can also choose to buy more electricity from renewable sources than is required by state law. Needham intends to provide two program options with additional electricity from renewable sources.
What remains the same
Otherwise, your primary relationship for electricity will remain with Eversource. This means:
- You will continue to receive one bill from Eversource. This is the only electric bill you will receive as a participant in Needham Power Choice.
- You will continue to call Eversource if your power goes out. Eversource 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 the Needham Power Choice will not change how they are calculated.
- If you are eligible for a low-income discount or fuel assistance, you will continue to receive that discount.
Participating in Needham Power Choice
All Needham electricity customers that have Eversource’s Basic Service, meaning electricity customers that have not signed a private contract with an electricity supplier, will be eligible for automatic enrollment in Needham Power Choice when the program launches.
This means most electricity customers in Needham will be enrolled in Needham Power Choice. If your account is eligible for automatic enrollment, you will receive a notification in the mail from the Town of Needham with program details, including prices, before you are enrolled.
The automatic enrollment model is in accordance with state law, but you do not have to participate if you do not want to. You will be able to opt out before the program launches, or you can try the program and then opt out later with no fee or penalty. If you choose to opt out, Eversource will continue to be your electricity supplier and will continue to use their own Basic Service price to calculate the Supply portion of your electric bill.