How aggregation works

Municipal electricity aggregation is a form of group electricity purchasing. An electricity aggregation program like Valley Green Energy replaces your electricity supplier, and it changes the price that your utility, Eversource or National Grid, uses to calculate the Supply charge on your electric bill. In addition, aggregation can increase the amount of renewable energy in your electricity supply. But electricity aggregation does not replace your electric utility.

Here’s how it works:

Without Valley Green Energy

(Unless you already have a private contract with an electricity supplier)

Typically, your utility provides two services to you as an electricity customer, and your electric bill includes charges for both of these services:

Electricity delivery

In Massachusetts, a utility’s primary role is as an electricity delivery company. They deliver electricity to you, maintain the poles and wires, and address power outages. They charge you for these services on the Delivery portion of your electric bill.

Electricity supply

An electric utility also provides a second service, which is to be your electricity supplier. They purchase electricity on your behalf and charge you on the Supply portion of your electric bill for the amount you use.

When you first open your electricity account, your utility both delivers and also supplies, or buys, your electricity.

  • The Delivery portion of your bill is calculated based on regulated Delivery prices.
  • The Supply portion of your bill is calculated using your utility’s Basic Service price. Basic Service prices change every 6 months for residential and small business/commercial customers and every 3 months for large business/industrial customers.

The diagram below illustrates this scenario, where the utility is both delivering and also supplying your electricity and their Basic Service price is used to calculate your Supply charge.

With Valley Green Energy

If you participate in a municipal electricity aggregation program like Valley Green Energy, your utility continues to deliver your electricity, but you no longer have Basic Service for the Supply portion of your electric bill. Instead, Valley Green Energy uses the group purchasing power of Amherst, Northampton, and Pelham to choose an electricity supplier and to determine the price of your electricity supply and the renewable energy content of your electricity.

If you participate in Valley Green Energy, the electric bill you receive from your utility will use a Valley Green Energy price to calculate your Supply charge instead of the utility’s Basic Service price.

Otherwise, the relationship between your utility and you does not change, and your electricity flows without interruption:

What changes on your electric bill

If you participate, you will see just two changes on your electric bill:

  1. The electricity supplier for Valley Green Energy will be listed on your bill as your electricity supplier.
  2. Your Supply charge will be calculated using a Valley Green Energy price instead of your utility’s Basic Service price.

See an example Eversource or National Grid electric bill.

Otherwise, your primary relationship for electricity will remain with your utility. This means:

  • You will continue to receive your electric bill from your utility. This is the only electric bill you will receive as a participant in Valley Green Energy.
  • You will continue to call your utility if your power goes out. Your utility will continue to deliver electricity, restore electricity service after a power outage, and maintain the poles and wires.
  • If you have solar panels on your property or you participate in a community solar program, you will continue to receive solar credits and/or solar incentive payments, and participating in Valley Green Energy will not change how they are calculated.
  • If you are eligible for a low-income discount, you will continue to receive that discount.

Participating in the program

All Amherst, Northampton, and Pelham electricity customers that have Eversource’s or National Grid’s Basic Service, meaning electricity customers that have not signed a private contract with an electricity supplier, will be eligible for automatic enrollment in Valley Green Energy when the program launches. 

This means most electricity customers will be automatically enrolled in Valley Green Energy. If your account is eligible for automatic enrollment, you will receive a notification in the mail from Valley Green Energy with program details and 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, your utility 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.

If you have already signed a contract with an electricity supplier at the time Valley Green Energy launches, your account will not be automatically enrolled. You may choose to participate, and enrolling will be an easy process, but you are encouraged to check with your current supplier before making any change. You may be subject to early termination fees.

More information will be available after the program receives regulatory approval.