General program information
What is the Chelmsford Choice program?
The program is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a form of group purchasing in which a city or town arranges electricity supply on behalf of its citizens. Aggregation is allowed by Massachusetts law and is growing in popularity.
The term aggregation is used because all of Chelmsford’s electrical load (electricity use) is combined, or aggregated, and given to the same electricity supplier. This allows Chelmsford to get the best price possible from that electricity supplier.
The Town used a competitive bidding process to select Constellation and make sure that you get the best price possible for your electricity supply.
Someone came to my door/called me about an electricity program. Do they represent National Grid or Chelmsford's program?
No. If you receive a personal call or visit about your electricity, that person does NOT represent the Town of Chelmsford, National Grid, or the Chelmsford Choice program. Neither National Grid nor the Town is knocking on doors or making individual sales phone calls. Chelmsford sends a single letter to residents and businesses eligible for automatic enrollment with detailed program information. That letter includes the Town seal in the header and the Chelmsford Choice name.
If you receive 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 National Grid, the Town of Chelmsford, or Chelmsford Choice.
- You should treat your National Grid 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.
If you feel a sales person has fraudulently identified themselves as working for National Grid or the Town of Chelmsford, please report it to the Department of Public Utilities Consumer Division 617-737-2836, or DPUConsumer.Complaints@state.ma.us.
How do I benefit from the Chelmsford Choice program?
You benefit in a few ways:
Long-term price stability: The Chelmsford Choice price is fixed until November 2023. This makes it different from National Grid’s Basic Service prices, which change seasonally, every 6 months for residential and commercial customers and every 3 months for industrial customers.
Choice: The program gives you three alternatives to National Grid’s Basic Service.
- Chelmsford Choice Basic: This is the default program offering, meaning all new participants in Chelmsford Choice will be automatically enrolled in Chelmsford Choice Basic unless they choose one of the other options. Like National Grid’s Basic Service, Chelmsford Choice Basic provides just the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law.
- Chelmsford Choice Greener: This option gives you an additional 40% renewable electricity (MA Class I RECs) over and above the minimum amount required by the state for a minimum total of 56% renewable electricity. (The minimum amount required by state law increases every year.)
- Chelmsford Choice Greenest: This option gives you 100% renewable electricity (MA Class I RECs), all from New England.
Cost-effective clean electricity: Chelmsford Choice offers 2 clean electricity options, Chelmsford Choice Greener and Chelmsford Choice Greenest. These options allow you to increase the amount of renewable electricity in your electricity supply cost effectively.
Consumer protections: All program terms are public, there are no hidden fees, and you may leave any time with no penalty or fee.
Potential savings: The program price has the potential to be lower than National Grid’s Basic Service price. However, National Grid residential and commercial prices change every 6 months, and industrial prices change every 3 months. Future prices are not known. As a result, the program cannot guarantee savings when compared to National Grid’s Basic Service price.
How long will the program last? What happens after November 2023?
Chelmsford’s contract with Constellation is in effect until November 2023. At that point, Chelmsford can establish a new electricity supply contract or end the program.
- If Chelmsford signs a new contract, all active program participants will be automatically enrolled in the new contract.
- If Chelmsford chooses instead to end the program, all active program participants will be automatically returned to National Grid’s Basic Service.
In either case, Chelmsford will make an announcement, and the transition will be seamless for program participants.
Who do I call if my power goes out?
Call National Grid if your power goes out, as always.
National Grid will continue to read meters, maintain distribution and transmission lines, and provide customer service.
National Grid’s customer service number is 1-800-465-1212.
If I participate in Chelmsford Choice, will I continue to receive credits on my bill from my solar panels?
Yes. Net metering will work in the same way as before you joined the program. Your net metering credits will continue to appear on your National Grid bill and will continue to be calculated based on National Grid’s Basic Service price.
I am eligible for a low-income discount or fuel assistance. Will I continue to receive that benefit if I participate in Chelmsford Choice?
Yes. There will be no change to your benefit under the Chelmsford Choice program.
Electricity supply and electricity suppliers
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 National Grid’s Basic Service, National Grid is your electricity supplier, meaning they buy electricity for you, and also they deliver that electricity to you. With this program, National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but Chelmsford will choose its own electricity supplier.
Who is the current electricity supplier?
Constellation is the electricity supplier for Chelmsford Choice until November 2023.
What is a competitive electricity supplier?
A competitive supplier is NOT your utility. A competitive supplier is a company licensed by the Department of Public Utilities to purchase electricity and related services from the wholesale electricity markets for resale to retail customers.
If you or your municipal government signs a contract with an electricity supplier, you are still a National Grid customer, and National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity.
However, when National Grid puts together your electricity bill, they will use your electricity supplier’s price to calculate the supply services charges on your bill instead of their own Basic Service price.
Price, savings, and billing
What will my electricity supply price be as part of the Chelmsford Choice program?
Will Chelmsford Choice save me money?
Possibly. Chelmsford Choice does offer the potential for small savings compared with National Grid’s Basic Service price, however, savings cannot be guaranteed.
This is because National Grid’s fixed Basic Service prices change every 6 months for residential and commercial customers and every 3 months for industrial customers, and their future prices are not known.
What will change on my National Grid bill if I participate in Chelmsford Choice?
The program will impact only the supply services portion of your National Grid electricity bill. The delivery services portion of your National Grid bill will not be impacted by this program.
You will see two changes on your National Grid electric bill beginning with the month after your enrollment in the program:
- Your electricity supply price will change to the Chelmsford Choice price of whichever option you are enrolled in.
- You will see Constellation listed instead of National Grid’s Basic Service on the supply services portion of your bill.
- Your bill will continue to come from National Grid.
- You will continue to send bill payments to National Grid.
- You will continue to call National Grid if your power goes out.
If you are on a budget plan or are eligible for a low-income delivery rate or fuel assistance, you continue to receive those benefits as a participant in Chelmsford Choice.
Will I receive a second electricity 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 Chelmsford Choice.
I am currently under National Grid's budget billing and/or eligible for a low-income discount. Will this change?
No. You will continue to receive those benefits as a participant in Chelmsford Choice.
Who is eligible to participate in Chelmsford Choice?
All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Chelmsford are eligible to join the program. New electricity customers in Chelmsford will be automatically enrolled a few months after opening their account.
How do I participate in Chelmsford Choice?
If you are a new resident in Chelmsford or have opened a new National Grid electricity account, you will receive a notification about automatic enrollment in the program by mail within a few months of opening your account. If you wish to participate, you need to do nothing. You will be automatically enrolled if you do not opt out.
Please note: If you sign an electricity supply contract with an electricity supplier after opening your account with National Grid, you will not be automatically enrolled in Chelmsford Choice. However, you are welcome to participate the program. We recommend that you carefully check the terms and conditions of your supplier agreement. Your ability to terminate your agreement with your supplier may be restricted.
If you wish to enroll in the program, you may enroll online or over the phone via customer support. Learn more about enrolling.
What if I am with another electricity supplier, but I want to participate in Chelmsford Choice?
If you have signed an electricity supply contract with another supplier, you are welcome to join the program.
To enroll, you may enroll online or contact customer support at 1-844-483-5004 and ask to join.
However, we recommend that you first carefully check the terms and conditions of your current electricity supplier agreement. Your ability to terminate your agreement with your supplier may be restricted, and you may be charged early termination fees.
How do I choose the either the Chelmsford Choice Greener or the Chelmsford Choice Greenest option?
I don't want to participate in Chelmsford Choice. How do I leave the program?
You may choose not to participate. This is called opting out. You may opt out at any time. There is no penalty for opting out. If you choose to opt out, you will be returned to National Grid’s Basic Service.
You have three ways to opt out of the program:
1. Sign and return the reply card that you receive with the program notification letter in the mail, if you received one. You must postmark your response within 30 days of the date on the letter in order to be opted out of the program before being enrolled.
2. Contact customer support and tell them you want to opt out of Chelmsford Choice. You may do this at any time after receiving the program notification letter and/or at any time after participating in the program.
3. Opt out online. You may do this at any time after receiving the program notification letter and/or at any time after participating in the program.
Will National Grid provide me with a lower quality of service if I participate in Chelmsford Choice?
No. National Grid’s quality of service will not be affected by your participation in the program. National Grid 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 are your supplier or Chelmsford chooses a different supplier for you.
Is my electric utility changing? Does Chelmsford Choice replace National Grid?
No. Chelmsford Choice does not replace National Grid. National Grid will still be your electricity utility, and your primary relationship for electricity will continue to be with National Grid:
- Your electricity bill will continue to come from National Grid.
- You will continue to send bill payments to National Grid.
- You will continue to call National Grid if your power goes out.
- If you are eligible for a low-income delivery rate or fuel assistance, you will continue to receive those benefits.