What is the Acton Power Choice program?
Acton Power Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, a form of group electricity purchasing.
Typically, your electric utility provides two sets of services to you:
- They deliver your electricity (Massachusetts electric utilities are electricity delivery companies only). Delivery services appear on your bill as Delivery charges.
- 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 Acton Power Choice is.
In an aggregation, the Town uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to select an electricity supplier and to negotiate both the amount of renewable energy that is purchased on behalf of the community as well as the price.
If you participate in Acton Power Choice, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but the Acton Power Choice electricity supplier will appear on your Eversource bill as your electricity supplier. Also, the Acton Power Choice price will be used to calculate the Supply charges on your Eversource electric bill instead of Eversource’s Basic Service price.
Acton Power Choice provides an alternative both to Eversource’s Basic Service pricing and to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.
How does Acton Power Choice benefit Acton residents and businesses?
Acton Power Choice increases the community’s investment in clean electricity while providing Acton 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, Acton Power Choice purchases 5% additional renewable electricity from renewable energy projects in New England (5% additional MA Class I RECs) over and above the state required minimum.
In addition to purchasing more renewable electricity as a part of the Power Choice Standard offering, the program also provides two additional program options:
- Power Choice Green, which purchases 100% renewable electricity, all from renewable energy projects in New England (100% MA Class I RECs)
- Basic, which provides the program benefits of price stability and consumer protections but purchases no additional renewable electricity beyond the minimum amount required by state law
Why is a stable electricity supply price important?
Having a stable price for the supply part of your Eversource electricity 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 charges on your Eversource bill changes every 6 months for residential and other small customers, and it changes more frequently for larger commercial customers.
Having a stable price for the supply part of your Eversource electricity bill can also provide a predictable alternative to the variable prices offered by some commercial electricity supply offers. Some commercial electricity supply offers will provide a stable price for a few months, but then the price will vary monthly.
How do I join Acton Power Choice?
All new electricity customers in Acton are automatically enrolled in Acton Power Choice, in the Power Choice Standard offering, unless they choose another option or opt out.
However, if have left Acton Power Choice and want to re-enroll, or you were never enrolled and wish to enroll now, please contact the program’s electricity supplier, Constellation, at 1-833-392-4654.
I received a call/visit/letter in the mail about my electric bill. Is it from the Town or this program?
Any communication about the Acton Power Choice program will include the name Acton Power Choice and the Town seal.
If you receive any communication that does not include the program name or bear the Town seal, it is not an official Town communication about the program. Instead, you have received a piece of marketing literature from a company trying to get your business.
Neither Eversource nor the Town of Acton will ever make a sales visit or a sales call to your home or business.
If Eversource is your electricity supplier, you will be automatically enrolled in the program. You do not need to provide additional information to participate. Any person or company who asks for additional information does not represent the Acton Power Choice program.
If you receive an unexpected call or a visit from someone who wants to discuss your electricity, here are three things to keep in mind:
- The person you are speaking with is not associated with the Town of Acton or the Acton Power Choice program.
- 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: minimum bill amounts, contract length requirements, early termination fees, low introductory rates that change after the introductory period ends, and rates that vary.
What is the difference between Eversource and an electricity supplier?
Eversource is Newton’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 electricity 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 they are your supplier (i.e., when you are on Eversource’s Basic Service), your electricity bill will indicate that is the case.
- 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 rate you negotiated with them will be used to calculate the Supply charges on your bill.
- In Acton Power Choice, the Town chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf.
Does this program replace Eversource as my electric utility?
No. Eversource remains the electric utility for Acton and will continue to deliver your electricity, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with Eversource.
Acton Power Choice changes the supplier on your Eversource bill, and it changes the rate that is used to calculate the Supply charges on your Eversource bill. But your bill will continue to come from Eversource, and Eversource will continue to be your electric utility.
What is the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law?
The minimum amount increases every year. For 2019, Massachusetts state law requires that renewable electricity must be purchased from renewable energy projects in New England to match 14% of your electricity use.
In addition, state law requires the purchase of a minimum amount of renewable energy from older renewable energy projects in New England, as well as from some other 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.
Why should I opt up to 100% renewable electricity?
The 100% Green option purchases renewable electricity to match 100% of your electricity use, all from renewable energy projects in New England.
Choosing this option means making the most significant contribution possible in 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 Acton’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 local renewable energy projects by creating additional demand for the electricity generated by those projects.
- Supporting local businesses and local jobs by buying electricity from New England-based projects.
What will my electricity supply price be with this program?
Through September 2019, Acton Power Choice offers two clean-energy alternatives to Eversource Basic Service:
- Power Choice Standard is 10.720 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This choice includes 5% renewable electricity from renewable energy projects in New England in addition to the 14% minimum required by state law. New Eversource Basic Service customers are automatically enrolled in Power Choice Standard.
- Power Choice Green is 12.712 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This option provides 100% renewable electricity, all from projects in New England. You may select Power Choice Green by calling Constellation at 1-833-392-4654.
Beginning in September 2019, Acton Power Choice prices will change, and a new Basic option will be available:
Power Choice Standard will be 10.985 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. The amount of additional renewable energy will increase to 10%, over and above the 14% minimum amount required by the state. New electricity customers in Acton will continued to be automatically enrolled in Power Choice Standard.
Power Choice Green will be 12.671 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This option will continue to provide 100% renewable electricity, all from projects in New England.
Power Choice Basic will be 10.741 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This new option option will provide just 14% the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law.
How much money will I save? Are savings guaranteed?
While the program offers the potential for savings compared with Eversource’s Basic Service price, savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed.
This is because the program price is fixed for the long term, while Eversource Basic Service prices change every 6 months for residential and small business customers and every 3 months for large business customers. Future Eversource prices are not known. As a result, the program price may not always be below the Eversource Basic Service price.
How long will the program last? What will happen after September 2019?
In September 2019, as the contract with Dynegy ends, a new contract with Constellation will take effect. The new contract will guarantee a new set of prices from September 2019 – September 2022 meter reads. The transition will be seamless for active program participants, and no action is required.
What will change if I participate in Acton Power Choice?
You will see two key changes as a result of participating in Acton Power Choice:
- On the Supply portion of your Eversource electric bill, you will see the Acton Power Choice electricity supplier listed as your electricity supplier instead of Eversource.
- The price that is used to calculate the Supply portion of your Eversource bill will change from Eversource’s Basic Service price to the price for the Acton Power Choice option you are enrolled in.
Additionally, the amount of renewable energy purchased on your behalf may change, depending on which program option you choose.
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.
How do I join the program?
Accounts on Eversource Basic Service will be automatically enrolled in the program. Account holders will receive a letter in the mail with information about the program before being enrolled.
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 Constellation at 1-833-392-4654 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.
- If you wish to cancel your current electricity supply contract and join the program, you may do that as well. Most suppliers recommend that you call 10 days before your meter read.
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?
You do not have to participate and can opt out. There is no penalty for opting out. You may do so at any time. If you opt out, the supply portion of your bill will remain on Eversource’s Basic Service rate.
You may opt out online or by calling Constellation at 1-833-392-4654.
I signed my own contract with an electricity supplier? Can I participate?
You can participate. If you would like to participate in Acton Power Choice, 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 Acton Power Choice, call Constellation at 1-833-392-4654 and ask to be enrolled.
Who do I call when the power goes out?
When you participate in Acton Power Choice, Eversource will continue to be your electric utility and will continue to deliver your electricity and maintain the poles and wires. Call Eversource if your power goes out, as always.
Will I receive a second bill?
No. Eversource will continue to bill you for your electricity, and this is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Acton Power Choice.
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 the Acton Power Choice program. Eversource does not profit from the supply charges on your electric bill. They make their profit from delivery charges. As a result, they have no preference whether they choose your supplier or Acton does.
What if Eversource's price falls below the program price?
Eversource Basic Service prices change every six months or less, depending on what kind of customer you are, and future prices are not known. As a result, it is likely that for some months, the Eversource price will fall below the program price. The program goal is to beat the average of the changing Eversource prices. However, savings cannot be guaranteed.
You are free to opt out of the program at any time with no fee or penalty and return to Eversource Basic Service.
I am eligible for the low-income discount from Eversource. Will this change?
No. If you are eligible for a low-income discount from Eversource, it will unaffected by your participation in Acton Power Choice.
I have budget billing from Eversource. Will this change?
Yes. If you join the Acton Power Choice program, budget billing will no longer apply to the supply portion of your Eversource bill. However, budget billing will continue to apply to the delivery portion of your bill.
I have solar panels on my property. If I join Acton Power Choice, 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 Eversource bill and will continue to be calculated based on Eversource’s Basic Service price, not the program price.
My organization is tax exempt. How to I maintain its tax exempt status within this program?
To maintain your organization’s tax exempt status within the program, you must send a copy of your organization’s Energy Exemption Certificate directly to Constellation with a copy to the Town’s program consultants. See the program’s tax exemption page for information about where to send your documentation.
Will I be enrolled if I am on Eversource's Do Not Call list?
No. If you have added your name to Eversource’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 Constellation at 1-833-392-4654 and ask to be enrolled.