Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Southborough Community Choice Program?

The program is an electricity aggregation, a form of group purchasing in which the Town uses the bulk buying power of the entire community to negotiate a price for the Supplier Services portion of your National Grid electric bill.

Under the program, National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but National Grid will no longer be your electricity supplier. Instead Southborough will choose its own electricity supplier.

To launch the program, Southborough has signed an 24-month contract with Public Power, LLC, to deliver electricity from February 2018 through February 2020.

What is electricity supply?

Electricity service has two parts, delivery and supply. Electricity delivery is the process of bringing electricity to you along wires. Electricity supply is the electricity itself. National Grid is responsible for electricity delivery in Southborough. In addition, National Grid typically chooses the electricity supplier and passes that cost along to customers. This is called National Grid’s Basic Service.

 

What will my electricity supply price be?

The program offers two alternatives to National Grid Basic Service:

Power Choice Standard is 10.88 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This is the default option. All new program participants will be automatically enrolled in Power Choice Standard. Like National Grid’s Basic Service, Power Choice Standard meets minimum state requirements for integrating renewable energy.

Power Choice Green is 12.74 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This choice provides 100% green energy, including 20% from renewable energy projects in New England, in addition to the minimum required by the state. You may select Power Choice Green by calling Public Power at 1-800-830-2944.

How much money will I save? Are savings guaranteed?

While the program strives to provide savings, savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed. The program price is fixed until February 2020, while National Grid’s Basic Service prices change twice a year or more, depending on rate class. As a result, the program price may not always be below the National Grid’s Basic Service price. The program aims to deliver savings when compared with the average of the changing Basic Service prices.

Please note that any savings will apply only to the supplier services portion of your National Grid electric bill. Delivery charges will be unaffected by the Southborough Community Power Choice program.

How long will the program last? What will change after February 2020?

Southborough has signed a contract with Public Power, LLC, which will be in effect from February 2018 meter reads until February 2020 meter reads. At that point, Southborough can establish a new electricity supply contract or end the program and return participants to National Grid’s Basic Service.

What will change with this program?

You will see two changes as a result of participating in the program:

  • On the Supplier Services portion of your National Grid electric bill, you will see Public Power listed instead of Basic Service.
  • The rate that you are charged for supplier services will change from National Grid’s Basic Service rate to the program rate.

Otherwise, everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your bill from National Grid, you will continue to pay National Grid, and you will continue to call National Grid when your power goes out.

If you are eligible for any discounts from National Grid, those will be unaffected by your participation in this program.

How do I join the program?

Accounts on National Grid’s Basic Service will be automatically enrolled in the program.

If you already have an agreement with an electricity supplier, you will not be automatically enrolled in the program. However, you can join the program by calling Public Power at 1-800-830-2944 and asking to be enrolled.

  • If you wish to wait until the end of your current electricity supply contract and then join the program, you may do so. You will receive the program price whenever you join.

Before you terminate an existing contract with an electricity supplier, we recommend that you check the terms of your contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.

Do I have to participate?

No. All National Grid Basic Service customers will be automatically enrolled. But you do not have to participate in the program if you do not want to.

You have two ways to opt out:

  1. You may opt out by calling Public Power at 1-800-830-2944.
  2. You may opt out online.

You may opt out of the program at any time with no penalty or fee.

I have signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Will I be enrolled in the program?

No. If you have already signed a contract with an electricity supplier, you will not automatically be enrolled in the program.

If you would like to participate in the Southborough Community Power Choice program, we recommend that you first check the terms of your existing electricity supply contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.

To participate in the program, you can call Public Power at 1-800-830-2944 and ask to be enrolled.

Who do I call when the power goes out?

National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity and maintain the polls and wires. Call National Grid if your power goes out, as always.

Will I receive a second bill?

No. National Grid will continue to bill you for your electricity, and this is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in the program.

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

No. National Grid’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in the program. The reason is because National Grid does not profit from the supplier services part of your electric bill. They pass the electricity supply charges along to you with no markup. They make their profit from the distribution charges. As a result, they are indifferent to whether they choose your supplier or you choose your supplier.

What if National Grid's price falls below the program price?

The program price is fixed for the length of the Public Power contract, February 2018 to February 2020. National Grid’s prices change every six months or less, depending on what kind of customer you are. As a result, it is very likely that for some months, the program price will be higher than the National Grid price. The program goal will be to beat the average of National Grid’s changing prices over the duration of the electricity supply contract.

However, if the National Grid price does fall below the program price, you are free to opt out of the program for no penalty or fee. If you choose to opt out, you will be returned to National Grid’s Basic Service.

I am currently eligible for budget billing / the low-income rate from National Grid. Will this change?

No. If you are eligible for budget billing or for any discounts from National Grid, those will unaffected by your participation in the program.

I have solar panels on my property. If I join the program, will I continue to receive net metering credits?

Yes. Net metering will work the same way if you participate in the program. Your net metering credits from your solar panels will continue to appear on your National Grid bill and will continue to be calculated based on National Grid’s Basic Service price.

Will I be enrolled if I am on National Grid's Do Not Call list?

No. If you have added your name to National Grid’s Do Not Call list, your account will not receive any mailings about the program, and your account will not be automatically enrolled. But you may participate if you wish. To participate, you will need to contact the electricity supplier that the Town selects and ask to be enrolled.

Is Southborough the only community in Massachusetts creating this kind of program?

No. Municipal electricity aggregation has been building momentum across Massachusetts. Southborough has joined more than 100 other Massachusetts communities that already have active aggregations, communities such as Salem, Natick, Chelmsford, Swampscott, Greenfield, Westborough, the communities of the Cape, and many others.