Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about Spencer Electric Choice 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 Spencer’s program consultants for customer support.

General program information

What is Spencer Electric Choice?

Spencer Electric Choice 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 Services 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 Services 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 Spencer Electric Choice is.

Learn more about how aggregation works.

What gives Spencer 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 Spencer’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 the program implementation process.)

More than 170 Massachusetts communities already have similar programs.

Why is Spencer launching this program?

The primary goal of Spencer Electric Choice is to electricity price stability and consumer-friendly choices for Spencer residents and businesses, all at a competitive price. Spencer Electric Choice 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.

However, while Spencer Electric Choice will offer the potential for savings when compared with National Grid’s Basic Service price, Spencer Electric Choice cannot guarantee savings because National Grid’s prices change, and their future prices are not known.

How will I benefit from Spencer Electric Choice?

With Spencer Electric Choice, the Town will use the bulk buying power of the community to provide:

  • New electricity choices  Spencer Electric Choice will give electricity customers in Spencer new electricity choices and more control over the electricity they buy.
  • Price stability – Spencer Electric Choice will provide long-term electricity supply prices that will not change seasonally. The program also has the potential to provide savings when compared with National Grid’s Basic Service prices, but because National Grid’s Basic Service prices change and future prices are not known, savings cannot be guaranteed.
  • Consumer protections – Spencer Electric 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 Spencer the only community in Massachusetts implementing an aggregation?

No. Municipal electricity aggregation has been building momentum across Massachusetts. Spencer is joining more than 170 other Massachusetts communities that already have aggregations.

What will change for me with Spencer Electric Choice?

You will see two key changes as a result of participating in Spencer Electric Choice:

  1. On the Supply Services portion of your National Grid electric bill, you will see the Spencer Electric Choice electricity supplier listed instead of National Grid’s Basic Service. Spencer will choose its supplier through a competitive procurement process after the Spencer Electric Choice Aggregation Plan receives regulatory approval.
  2. National Grid will use a Spencer Electric Choice price to calculate the Supply Services charge on your bill instead of their own Basic Service price.

Otherwise, everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your electric 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 Spencer Electric Choice.

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 Spencer will send a letter to electricity accounts that are eligible for automatic enrollment after Spencer Electric Choice receives regulatory approval. That letter has not yet 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 Spencedr electricity customers, you will not need to provide any additional information.

Please note: National Grid, the Town of Spencer, and Spencer Electric 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 electric bill) when they market their program to you does not represent Spencer Electric Choice 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 Spencer Electric Choice. If you want to confirm whether you have received a legitimate Town communication, you can contact customer support with Spencer’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 salesperson 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 Spencer Electric Choice last?

The program will last as long as Spencer believes it is providing value for the community. Spencer will sign an initial contract with an electricity supplier when the program launches. At the end of that contract, Spencer 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 Spencer Electric 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 Spencer Electric Choice will not change how they are calculated. Their calculation is not tied to your specific electricity supply price, and it does not change just because the supply price for your account changes. The calculation is not impacted by participation in Spencer Electric Choice.

How do I maintain my account's tax-exempt status if I participate in Spencer Electric Choice?

Tax-exempt accounts that wish to maintain their tax-exempt status in Spencer Electric 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 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 Spencer Electric Choice?

Most electricity accounts in Spencer 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 Spencer’s Aggregation Plan receives regulatory approval.

Who will be eligible to participate in Spencer Electric Choice?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Spencer will be eligible to participate. All Spencer electricity customers with National Grid’s Basic Service (meaning those who have not signed a private contract with an electricity supplier) will be eligible for automatic enrollment 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 notice in the mail that your account is eligible for automatic enrollment, 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 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 higher 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?

Large commercial accounts may be eligible for higher market pricing instead of program pricing when they request initial enrollment in the program. If you are interested in submitting an enrollment request for your large commercial account, please contact customer support.

Pricing, potential savings, and billing

Will Spencer Electric Choice provide savings compared with National Grid's prices?

Spencer Electric Choice 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, Spencer Electric 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 a National Grid Basic Service customer and eligible for automatic enrollment in Spencer Electric 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 Spencer Electric Choice?

We do not know yet. Spencer Electric 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 Spencer Electric Choice Aggregation Plan has been completed.

Spencer Electric Choice 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 electric 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 seasonally. With Spencer Electric Choice, it won’t.

Having a stable price for the Supply Services portion of your electric 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 Spencer Electric 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 National Grid’s prices change and future prices are not known, Spencer Electric Choice cannot guarantee to provide savings compared with National Grid’s Basic Service prices.

What if National Grid's price falls below the Spencer Electric Choice price?

The Spencer Electric Choice price will be a long-term price, while National Grid’s Basic Service prices change seasonally. As a result, it is likely that for some months, the National Grid price will fall below the Spencer Electric Choice price. Spencer Electric Choice cannot guarantee that it will beat National Grid’s Basic Service prices at all times. 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 electric bill?

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

Where will I see Spencer Electric Choice on my National Grid electric bill?

Spencer Electric Choice will appear on your National Grid electric bill in two ways:

  1. On the Supply Services portion of your National Grid electric bill, you will see the Spencer Electric Choice electricity supplier listed as your supplier instead of National Grid’s Basic Service.
  2. The price that National Grid uses to calculate your Supply Services charge will be a Spencer Electric Choice 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 Spencer Electric Choice?

Yes. If you have already chosen an electricity supplier, you will not be automatically enrolled in Spencer Electric 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 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 Services portion of your electric 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 Spencer Electrric Choice, 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 Spencer Electric Choice 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 Spencer Electric Choice, National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but Spencer 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 Spencer Electric Choice, your electric utility (National Grid in Spencer) 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 Spencer Electric Choice replace National Grid as my electric utility?

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

Spencer Electric Choice 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 electric 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 Spencer Electric Choice?

No. National Grid’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Spencer Electric Choice. National Grid does not profit from the Supply Services charge on your electric bill. They make their profit from Delivery Services charges. As a result, they have no preference whether they choose your supplier or Spencer 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 Spencer Electric Choice. 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.