Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about Watertown Electricity Choice? See below for a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

If you still don’t see what you’re looking for, please feel free to contact the City’s program consultants for Customer Support.

General program information

What is the Watertown Electricity Choice program?
Watertown Electricity Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, a form of group electricity purchasing.

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

  1. They deliver your electricity (Massachusetts electric utilities are electricity delivery companies only). Delivery services appear on your bill as Delivery charges.
  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 Supply charges.

But 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 on your behalf. This third option is municipal electricity aggregation, and this is what the Watertown Electricity Choice program is.
What is a municipal electricity aggregation?

A municipal electricity aggregation, such as the Watertown Electricity Choice program, is a group purchasing program for electricity.

In an aggregation, the City uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to select an electricity supplier and to determine both the amount of renewable energy in the electricity and the price. Residents and businesses in Watertown can then benefit from the contract that the City signs with an electricity supplier.

If you participate in the program, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but the company chosen by the City will appear on your Eversource bill as your electricity supplier. Also, the price that the City secures will be used to calculate the Supply charges on your Eversource electric bill.

Watertown Electricity Choice provides an alternative both to Eversource’s Basic Service pricing and to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.

What will change if I participate in Watertown Electricity Choice?

You will see two key changes as a result of participating in the Watertown Electricity Choice program:

  1. On the Supply portion of your Eversource electric bill, you will see Direct Energy – Watertown Electricity Choice listed as your electricity supplier instead of Eversource.
  2. The rate that is used to calculate the Supply portion of your Eversource electric bill will be a Watertown Electricity Choice price.

Additionally, you will receive 41% renewable electricity in the Standard option, over and above the minimum required by state law. (Please note, if you choose the 100% Green option, you will receive 100% renewable electricity, all from new renewable energy projects in the New England region. If you choose the Basic option, you will receive no additional renewable electricity above the minimum required by state law.)

Otherwise, everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your 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 from Eversource, those will be unaffected by your participation in this program.

Why did Watertown launch this program?

The primary goal of Watertown Electricity Choice is to increase the community’s investment in clean electricity while providing Watertown electricity customers with a stable electricity price.

Massachusetts state law already requires that a minimum amount of renewable energy be purchased for all electricity sold in the state. However, Watertown Electricity Choice offers two 100%-renewable options – Standard and 100% Green.

  • Standard provides 100% renewable energy from a mix of sources, including some that are outside of the New England region.
  • 100% Green provides 100% renewable energy all from new renewable resources within the New England region (MA Class I RECs). Choosing 100% Green means you’re helping to increase demand for renewable energy in our region and supporting the jobs that go with it.

Prices for both options are fixed until December 2026.

I received a call/visit/letter in the mail about my electric bill. Is it from the CIty or this program?

The Watertown Electricity Choice program will send you one notice about the program before you are enrolled. That notice will include the City Seal and the name Watertown Electricity Choice. If the notice you received does not include both of these items, it is not from the City and does not represent the City program.

Eversource and the Watertown Electricity Choice program do not make sales calls or go door to door. If you receive a call or a visit from someone who wants to discuss your electricity, they are from a private company, even if they mention Eversource. Keep these two things in mind:

  • You should treat your Eversource account number like you treat your credit card information. Do not give it out unless you want to purchase your electricity from someone else.
  • 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.
How will I know if I am enrolled and which option I have?

If you are enrolled, your Eversource bill will show Direct Energy – Watertown Elec Choice as your electricity supplier through December 2026.

To check which program option you are enrolled in, look at the price that is used to calculate the Supply charge on your bill. It will match one of Watertown’s prices:

  • If you are enrolled in 100% Green, the price will be $0.1590/kWh (15.90 cents/kWh).
  • If you are enrolled in Standard, the price will be $0.1374/kWh (13.74 cents/kWh).
  • If you are enrolled in Basic, the price will be $0.1345/kWh (13.45 cents/kWh).

See an example Eversource bill.

How long will the program last?

The program itself will last as long as the contract for electricity supply that the City enters into. The contract with Direct Energy is in effect through December 2026. At that point, the City can continue the program by signing a new electricity supply contract, or it can end the program and return all participants to Eversource’s Basic Service. The City’s intention is to continue the program, but the City will make an announcement about its decision either way at that time.

All program participants have the right to opt out of the program at any time with no fee or penalty.

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.

My organization is tax exempt. How do I maintain its tax-exempt status in this program?

The electricity supplier for Watertown is required to have tax-exemption documentation on file for every electricity account that participates in Watertown Electricity Choice and has tax-exempt status. Without that documentation on file, the electricity supplier may be required to charge tax on the account. They cannot obtain that documentation from Eversource. They must obtain it from each customer directly.

Learn more about submitting your tax-exemption documentation.

 

Is Watertown the only community in Massachusetts implementing this kind of program?

No. Municipal electricity aggregation has been building momentum across Massachusetts. Watertown is one of more than 150 other Massachusetts communities that already have aggregations. Recently, more and more of these communities have implemented “green” aggregations like the Watertown program, which increase the amount of renewable electricity in the community’s electricity supply beyond the minimum amount that Eversource is required by state law to purchase.

Renewable electricity

What is the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law?

The minimum amount increases every year.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that all electricity supply products include a minimum of 62% from renewable energy resources in 2024, including:

  • 24% from new (1998 or later) renewable energy resources in the New England region (MA Class I RECs)
  • 38% from other types of renewable energy resources as well as energy sources that are clean but not renewable

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources page on compliance information for the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Why should I opt up to 100% Green to get 100% renewable electricity?

Choosing the 100% Green option and 100% renewable electricity means making the most significant contribution possible within the program to sustainability and to the New England economy.

Every time you pay your electric bill, you will make a strong investment in:

  • Reducing Watertown’s greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the amount of renewable energy used to generate electricity. Electricity generated from renewable sources, such as the sun and wind, does not create the greenhouse gases that cause climate change and does not pollute the air.
  • Encouraging the development of additional renewable energy projects in New England by creating additional demand for the electricity generated by those projects. You will create that demand because through Watertown’s 100% Green option, you will buy only renewable energy generated in New England. This makes the 100% Green option different from many of the 100% renewable offers in the marketplace, which include renewable energy generated outside of New England and do not help to drive the development of new renewable energy projects on our local power grid.
  • Supporting local businesses and local jobs by buying electricity from New England-based projects.
I have solar panels on my property or I participate in a community solar program. If I join Watertown 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 Watertown Electricity Choice will not change how they are calculated.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy 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 energy are solar, wind, and small hydroelectric projects.

Electricity supply & electricity suppliers

I have signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Can I participate?

Yes. If you have chosen an electricity supplier, you will not automatically be enrolled, but you can opt in to the program.

Before enrolling, we recommend that you check the terms of your contract with your current electricity supplier. Many private contracts have minimum participation periods and charge early termination fees if you change to a new electricity supplier before the end of the minimum participation period.

If you wish to wait until the end of your current electricity supply contract to enroll, that is okay. You will receive the Watertown Electricity Choice price at the time you enroll.

Get more information about enrolling.

 

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 Watertown Electricity Choice, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but Watertown chooses its own supplier.

What is an electricity supplier?

An 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.

An 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 aggregation program like Watertown Electricity Choice, you are choosing an electricity supplier. Eversource will use your electricity supplier’s price to calculate the Supply charges on your electric bill instead of their own Basic Service price.

Who is the program's current electricity supplier?

Direct Energy is the program’s electricity supplier through December 2026.

Price, savings, & billing

Why is having a stable electricity supply price important?

Having a stable price for the Supply portion of your Eversource electric bill can protect you from the seasonal price increases that occur when you have Eversource’s Basic Service. When Eversource is your electricity supplier, the price that is used to calculate the Supply portion of your Eversource bill changes seasonally.

Having a stable price for the Supply portion of your Eversource electric bill can also provide a predictable alternative to the variable prices offered by 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.

The current Watertown Electricity Choice price is fixed until December 2026.

What will my electricity supply price be through the program?

Watertown Electricity Choice offers three options, each with a different price. The price reflects the amount of renewable energy that is included with that option:

  • Standard: 13.74 cents/kWh
  • 100% Green: 15.90 cents/kWh
  • Basic: 13.45 cents/kWh

The Standard option is the default program option. You will be enrolled in the Standard option unless you request one of the other options.

Watertown’s current prices are fixed until December 2026 meter reads. Eversource’s Basic Service prices change seasonally, and their future prices are not known. As a result, savings compared with Eversource’s Basic Service cannot be guaranteed.

Will I know the program price and the price of each program option before I am enrolled?

Yes. If you are an Eversource Basic Service customer, you will receive a notice in the mail from the City of Watertown before being automatically enrolled. The notice will provide information on program options, pricing, and how to opt out of the program if you do not wish to participate.

Note that when you receive the notice from the City, you will know the program pricing, however you cannot know Eversource’s Basic Service prices beyond Eversource’s current pricing period.

Will I receive a second bill?

No. Eversource will continue to bill you for your electricity, and this is the only electric bill you will receive as a participant in Watertown Electricity Choice.

What if Eversource's price falls below the program price?

It is normal that for some months, the Eversource price will fall below the Watertown Electricity Choice prices. This is because the Watertown Electricity Choice prices are long-term prices, while Eversource’s Basic Service prices change seasonally, and future prices are not known.

The program cannot guarantee that it will beat Eversource’s Basic Service prices at all times, or even the average Eversource price. However, customers are free to opt out at any time with no fee or penalty.

Please note: For any customer who previously opted out of or left the program and wishes to re-enroll, the program’s electricity supplier is entitled to charge a market price instead of the program price for the remainder of the current electricity supply contract. If the program’s electricity supplier decides to charge market pricing, you will be notified before enrollment and can decide then whether to continue with enrollment or not.

How much will I save? Are savings guaranteed?

The program has the potential to offer a lower price than Eversource’s Basic Service prices, but savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed.

Program prices are long-term prices, while Eversource’s fixed Basic Service prices change seasonally, and their future prices are not known. As a result, program prices may not always be lower than Eversource’s prices.

Where do I find Watertown Electricity Choice on my Eversource bill?

Watertown Electricity Choice appears on your Eversource electric bill in two ways:

  1. On the first page of your electric bill, you will see Direct Energy – Watertown Elec Choice listed as your electricity supplier through December 2026.
  2. The price that Eversource uses to calculate your Supply charge on the second page of your electric bill will be a Watertown price instead of their own Basic Service price.

Additionally, the amount of renewable energy purchased on your behalf may change, depending on which program option you choose.

View an example Eversource bill for details regarding how Watertown Electricity Choice appears on your bill.

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.

Participation

How do I join Watertown Electricity Choice?

All new residential and commercial electricity customers in Watertown that are on Eversource’s Basic Service – meaning they have not signed a private contract with an electricity supplier – will be automatically enrolled in Watertown Electricity Choice in the Standard option on a periodic basis. You will receive a notice in the mail from the City before being automatically enrolled. The notice will include information about program options, pricing, and how to opt out of the program if you do not wish to participate. This notice is typically mailed within a few months of you opening your account.

Watertown electricity customers that have signed a private contract with an electricity supplier will not be automatically enrolled, but may choose to opt in to the program.

To enroll, submit your Eversource account information online or call customer support for assistance at 1-844-278-9864.

Important note: For any customer who previously opted out of or left the program and wishes to re-enroll, the program’s electricity supplier is entitled to charge a market price instead of the program price for the remainder of the current electricity supply contract. If the program’s electricity supplier decides to charge market pricing, you will be notified before enrollment and can decide then whether to continue with enrollment or not.

Is participation required?

No. Participation is not required. There is no penalty for opting out. You may do so at any time. You may opt out of the program before being automatically enrolled, and you may opt out any time after enrollment. If you opt out, the Supply portion of your electric bill will remain on Eversource’s Basic Service price.

How do I change from one program option to another?

You may use the online form to change from one program option to another or contact customer support. You may change program options at any time.

Who is eligible to participate in Watertown Electricity Choice?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Watertown are eligible to participate. All new Eversource Basic Service customers in Watertown will be automatically enrolled within a few months of opening their electricity account. You will receive a notice in the mail from the City before being automatically enrolled.

Important note: For any customer who previously opted out of or left the program and wishes to re-enroll, the program’s electricity supplier is entitled to charge a market price instead of the program price for the remainder of the current electricity supply contract. If the program’s electricity supplier decides to charge market pricing, you will be notified before enrollment and can decide then whether to continue with enrollment or not.

Can I leave, or opt out of, the program and re-enroll?

Yes, however, for any customer who previously opted out of or left the program and wishes to re-enroll, the program’s electricity supplier is entitled to charge a market price instead of the program price for the remainder of the current electricity supply contract. If the program’s electricity supplier decides to charge market pricing, you will be notified before enrollment and can decide then whether to continue with enrollment or not.

Eversource

What is the difference between Eversource and an electricity supplier?

Eversource is Watertown’s electric utility. They are your electricity delivery company. That means Eversource is responsible for delivering electricity to you, for maintaining the poles and wires, and for addressing power outages. Eversource charges you for these services on the Delivery portion of your electric bill. Eversource does not generate electricity.

An electricity supplier is a company that buys electricity for you from electricity generators or from electricity brokers.

  • For most electricity customers, their utility is also their electricity supplier. When Eversource is your supplier (i.e., when you are on Eversource’s Basic Service), your electric bill will indicate that is the case. Eversource will use their current Basic Service price to calculate the Supply charge on your bill.
  • 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 the price you negotiated with them will be used to calculate the Supply charge on your bill.
  • With Watertown Electricity Choice, the City chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf. The price that Watertown secures with that electricity supplier will be used to calculate the Supply charge on your bill.
Does this program replace Eversource as my electric utility?

No. Eversource is the electric utility for Watertown and will continue to deliver your electricity. Your bill will continue to come from Eversource, and you will continue to call Eversource if your power goes out. Your primary relationship for electricity will remain with Eversource.

The Watertown Electricity Choice program will change only the supplier on your Eversource bill and the price that is used to calculate the Supply charge on your Eversource electric bill.

Will Eversource provide me with a lower quality of service because I participate in this program?

No. Eversource’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Watertown 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 Watertown does.

I am currently eligible for the low-income rate from Eversource. Will this change?

No. If you are eligible for a low-income discount from Eversource, it will be unaffected by your participation in the program.

I have budget billing from Eversource. Will this change?

Yes. Budget billing is a service from Eversource in which your bill is the same amount every month, regardless of how much electricity you use.

If you join Watertown Electricity Choice, budget billing will no longer apply to the Supply portion of your Eversource bill, though it will continue to apply to the Delivery portion of your bill. If paying exactly the same amount every month is important to you, you should opt out of the program.