Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about Pepperell Community Electricity and how it will impact you? See below for a list of frequently asked questions and answers. Also, check out the Learn More box to the right.

If you still don’t see what you’re looking for, please feel free to contact Pepperell’s program consultants for customer support.

General program information

What is Pepperell Community Electricity?

Pepperell Community Electricity is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a form of group electricity purchasing.

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

  1. They deliver your electricity. Delivery services appear on your bill as your Delivery charge.
  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.

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 Pepperell Community Electricity is.

Learn more about how aggregation works.

What gives Pepperell 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 Pepperell’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 Pepperell’s implementation process.)

Nearly 50% of Massachusetts communities have already launched electricity aggregations.

Why is Pepperell launching this program?

The primary goal of Pepperell Community Electricity is to provide more clean, renewable electricity, electricity price stability, and consumer protections for Pepperell residents and businesses, all at a competitive price. Pepperell Community Electricity will be a Town alternative to National Grid’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 Pepperell Community Electricity will offer the potential for savings when compared with National Grid’s Basic Service price, Pepperell Community Electricity cannot guarantee savings.)

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 Pepperell Community Electricity will include additional renewable energy over and above the state required minimum. Pepperell Community Electricity will also offer options to choose other amounts of renewable electricity.

How will I benefit from Pepperell Community Electricity?

With Pepperell Community Electricity, 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 – Pepperell Community Electricity 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 National Grid’s Basic Service, where the price changes every six months or less, and from many commercial offers in the marketplace.
  • Consumer protections – Pepperell Community Electricity 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 Pepperell the only community in Massachusetts implementing an aggregation?

No. Municipal electricity aggregation has been building momentum across Massachusetts. Pepperell is joining more than 150 other Massachusetts communities that already have aggregations. Increasingly, communities are implementing “green” aggregations like Pepperell’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 Pepperell Community Electricity?

You will see two key changes as a result of participating in Pepperell Community Electricity:

  1. On the first page of your National Grid electricity bill, you will see the Pepperell Community Electricity electricity supplier listed as your supplier instead of National Grid. Pepperell will choose its supplier through a competitive procurement process after the Pepperell Community Electricity Aggregation Plan receives regulatory approval.
  2. National Grid will use a Pepperell Community Electricity 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 National Grid, you will continue to pay National Grid, and you will continue to call National Grid if your power goes out.

If you are eligible for any discounts or credits from National Grid, those benefits will be unaffected by your participation in Pepperell Community Electricity.

I received a call/visit/letter in the mail about my electricity bill. Is it from the Town, this program, or National Grid?

The Town of Pepperell will send a letter to electricity accounts that are eligible for automatic enrollment after Pepperell Community Electricity 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 Pepperell electricity customers, you will not need to provide any additional information.

Please note: National Grid, the Town of Pepperell, and Pepperell Community Electricity 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 Pepperell Community Electricity or National Grid.

If you receive a letter that does not include the Town seal, it is not from the Town and does not represent Pepperell Community Electricity. If you want to confirm whether you have received a legitimate Town communication, you can contact customer support with Pepperell’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 National Grid 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 themself as working for National Grid 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 Pepperell Community Electricity last?

The program will last as long as Pepperell believes it is providing value for the community. Pepperell will sign an initial contract with an electricity supplier when the program launches. At the end of that contract, Pepperell can decide whether to continue the program or discontinue it and return all participants to National Grid’s Basic Service.

Who do I call if the power goes out?

Call National Grid if your power goes out, as always. National Grid 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 Pepperell Community Electricity, 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 Pepperell Community Electricity will not change how they are calculated.

How do I maintain my account's tax-exempt status if I participate in Pepperell Community Electricity?

Tax-exempt accounts that wish to maintain their tax-exempt status in Pepperell Community Electricity 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 National Grid already, but National Grid 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 Pepperell Community Electricity?

Most electricity accounts in Pepperell will be automatically enrolled when the program launches.

Specifically, all electricity accounts on National Grid’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 Pepperell’s Aggregation Plan receives regulatory approval.

Who will be eligible to participate in Pepperell Community Electricity?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Pepperell will be eligible to participate. All Pepperell electricity customers with National Grid’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 Services portion of your National Grid electric bill will continue to be calculated using National Grid’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. You’ll just want to ask at the time you re-enroll.

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 Pepperell Community Electricity provide savings compared with National Grid's prices?

Pepperell Community Electricity will offer the potential for savings compared with the average of National Grid’s changing Basic Service prices. However, because National Grid’s prices change every 6 months for residential and commercial accounts and every 3 months for industrial accounts and their future prices are not known, Pepperell Community Electricity cannot guarantee to provide savings.

Will I know the program options and the price for each before I am enrolled?

Yes. If you are a National Grid Basic Service customer and eligible for automatic enrollment in Pepperell Community Electricity, 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 Pepperell Community Electricity?

We do not know yet. Pepperell Community Electricity 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 Pepperell Community Electricity Aggregation Plan has been completed.

Pepperell Community Electricity will provide a stable electricity supply price. Why is a stable electricity supply price important?

Having a stable price for the Supply Services portion of your electricity bill can protect you from the seasonal price increases that occur when you have National Grid’s Basic Service pricing. When you have National Grid’s Basic Service, the price that is used to calculate the Supply Services portion of your electric bill changes every 6 months for residential and commercial accounts and every 3 months for industrial accounts, often rising in the winter.

Having a stable price for the Supply Services 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 Pepperell Community Electricity 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 National Grid’s prices change and future prices are not known, Pepperell Community Electricity cannot guarantee to provide savings compared with National Grid’s Basic Service prices.

What if National Grid's price falls below the Pepperell Community Electricity price?

The Pepperell Community Electricity price will be a long-term price, while National Grid’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 National Grid price will fall below the Pepperell Community Electricity price. Pepperell Community Electricity cannot guarantee that it will beat National Grid’s Basic Service prices at all times. Remember that you are free to leave the program at any time and return to National Grid’s Basic Service with no penalty or fee.

Will I receive a second electricity bill?

No. National Grid will continue to bill you for your electricity. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Pepperell Community Electricity. The program will be integrated into your existing electricity bill. See an example National Grid bill.

Where will I see Pepperell Community Electricity on my National Grid electric bill?

Pepperell Community Electricity will appear on your National Grid electric bill in two ways:

  1. On the first page of your electricity bill, you will see the Pepperell Community Electricity supplier listed as your electricity supplier instead of National Grid.
  2. On the second page, the price that National Grid uses to calculate your Supply Services charge will be a Pepperell Community Electricity price instead of their own Basic Service price. See an example National Grid bill.

Electricity supply and electricity suppliers

I have already signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Can I participate in Pepperell Community Electricity?

Yes. If you have already chosen an electricity supplier, you will not be automatically enrolled in Pepperell Community Electricity, 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 National Grid and an electricity supplier?

In Massachusetts, an electric utility like National Grid is fundamentally an electricity delivery company. National Grid 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 National Grid is also your electricity supplier, you have what is known as National Grid’s Basic Service.
  • You may also choose your own electricity supplier. If you do, the name of that company will appear on your National Grid bill as your electricity supplier, and National Grid will use the rate you negotiated with that electricity supplier to calculate the Supply Services charge on your bill.
  • With Pepperell Community Electricity, the Town will choose an electricity supplier. If you participate, the name of the company selected by the Town will appear on your National Grid bill as your electricity supplier, and National Grid will use a Pepperell Community Electricity price to calculate the Supply Services 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 (National Grid) is your electricity supplier and also delivers the electricity to you.

With Pepperell Community Electricity, National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but Pepperell 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 Pepperell Community Electricity, your electric utility (National Grid in Pepperell) will use your electricity supplier’s price to calculate the Supply Services charge on your electric bill instead of their own Basic Service price.

National Grid

Will Pepperell Community Electricity replace National Grid as my electric utility?

No. National Grid will remain the electric utility for Pepperell and will continue to deliver your electricity, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with National Grid.

Pepperell Community Electricity will change the supplier on your National Grid electric bill, and it will change the price that National Grid uses to calculate the Supply Services charge on your electric bill. But your electricity bill will continue to come from National Grid, and National Grid will continue to be your electric utility.

Will National Grid provide me with a lower quality of service if I participate in Pepperell Community Electricity?

No. National Grid’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Pepperell Community Electricity. National Grid does not profit from the Supply Services 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 Pepperell does.

I am currently eligible for a low-income discount from National Grid. Will that change?

No. If you are eligible for a low-income discount from National Grid, it will be unaffected by your participation in Pepperell Community Electricity. You will continue to receive that discount.

I have budget billing from National Grid. Will this change?

No. Budget billing will continue to apply to your bill.

Renewable electricity

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.