What is the Grafton Energy Choice Program?
Grafton Energy Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a form of group electricity purchasing.
Typically, your electric utility, National grid, provides two sets of services to you:
- They deliver your electricity. Delivery services appear on your bill as one set of 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 supplier services 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 Grafton Energy Choice is.
Learn more about how aggregation works.
How do I benefit from Grafton Energy Choice?
With Grafton Energy Choice, the Town uses the group buying power of the community to provide you with new electricity choices that will give you greater control over the environmental characteristics and price of your electricity supply.
- Price stability – The program provides a long-term fixed price for supply services part of your National Grid bill. This makes Grafton Energy Choice different from National Grid’s Basic Service, where the price changes every six months or less, and from many commercial offers in the market place.
- Consumer protections – Grafton Energy Choice provides a trustworthy, Town-vetted alternative to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace. The program includes consumer protections, such as no hidden fees and the ability to opt out of the program at any time with no penalty.
- Potential savings – Grafton Energy Choice offers the potential for savings compared with National Grid’s Basic Service price. However, because future National Grid prices are not known, savings cannot be guaranteed.
How long will Grafton Power Choice last?
Grafton has signed a contract with Direct Energy which fixes the program prices until October 2021 meter reads.
After October 2021, Grafton has a choice: The Town can sign a new electricity supply contract and continue the program, or end the program.
- If Grafton signs a new electricity supply contract, all current program participants will be automatically enrolled into the new contract at the new contract price, and the Town will announce the new price.
- If Grafton does not sign a new electricity supply contract and ends the program, all participants will be seamlessly returned to National Grid’s Basic Service, and the Town will announce the change.
Does Grafton Energy Choice replace National Grid as my electric utility?
No. National Grid will remain your electric utility, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with National Grid.
Grafton Energy Choice will change the price that National Grid uses to calculate the supply services charges on your bill.
What will change if I participate in Grafton Energy Choice?
You will see two changes beginning with your second National Grid electric bill after program enrollment:
- Your electricity supply price will change to the program price.
- You will see Grafton’s current electricity supplier listed instead of Basic Service on the Supplier Services portion of your bill.
Everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your bill from National Grid, pay National Grid, and call National Grid when your power goes out.
Who do I call when the power goes out?
Call National Grid if your power goes out, as always. National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity and maintain the poles and wires.
Will I receive a second electricity bill in addition to my National Grid 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 Grafton Energy Choice.
Will I receive a lower quality of service from National Grid if I participate in Grafton Energy Choice?
No. National Grid’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Grafton Energy Choice. The reason is because National Grid does not profit from the supply charges on your electric bill. They pass the electricity supply charges along to you with no markup. They make their profit from the delivery charge portion of your bill. As a result, they have no preference whether they choose your supplier or Grafton does.
I have solar panels on my property. If I join Grafton Energy Choice, will I continue to receive credits on my bill?
Yes. Your 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. There will be no change.
I have a tax-exempt account. How do I ensure my tax exempt status in Grafton Energy Choice?
You will need to submit your tax exemption documentation to the Grafton Energy Choice electricity supplier to maintain tax-exempt status. Tax-Exempt Accounts page for more information.
Is Grafton the only community in Massachusetts with this kind of program?
No. Municipal electricity aggregation has been building momentum across Massachusetts. More than 140 other Massachusetts communities also have active aggregation programs like Grafton Energy Choice.
I received a call/visit/letter in the mail about my electricity bill. Is it from the Town, this program, or National Grid?
The Town of Grafton sends a single letter to electricity accounts that are eligible for automatic enrollment. That letter arrives in an envelope bearing the Town seal, and the letter itself also bears the Town seal.
If you receive a letter that does not include the Town seal, it is not from the Town and does not represent Grafton Energy Choice. If you want to confirm whether you have received a legitimate Town communication, you can contact customer support with Grafton’s program consultants.
Please note: Neither National Grid, the Town of Grafton, nor Grafton Energy Choice will call you on the phone or visit your home.
If National Grid wishes to communicate with you about your bill, they will do so in writing, and you will see the National Grid logo on the communication.
Any person or company who asks for additional information when they market their program (such as the account number on your elecricity bill) to you does not represent Grafton Energy Choice or National Grid.
If you receive a call or a visit from someone who wants to discuss your electricity, keep these two things in mind:
- You should treat your National Grid electricity account number like you treat your credit card information. Do not give it out unless you want to change your electricity supplier.
- 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.
What will my electricity supply price be?
The program offers two options, and your price will depend on which option you enroll in:
- Energy Choice Standard is 10.91 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This option meets minimum state renewable energy requirements, just like Basic Service. New program participants are automatically enrolled in Energy Choice Standard.
- Energy Choice Green is 11.31 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This option provides 100% renewable electricity, including an additional 20% from newer renewable energy projects in New England over and above the minimum amount required by the state.
What if National Grid’s price falls below the Grafton Energy Choice price?
This is normal.
It helps to remember that the Grafton Energy Choice price is a long-term price, while National Grid’s price changes every six months for residential and commercial customers and every 3 months for industrial customers, and future prices are not known.
In municipal electricity aggregation programs like Grafton Energy Choice, it is typical for the program price to be cheaper than National Grid’s price in winter, and a bit more expensive in summer. The program goal is to beat the average of National Grid’s changing prices, not beat each short term National Grid price.
You are always free to opt out of the program and return to National Grid Basic Service.
Because future National Grid prices are not known, savings cannot be guaranteed.
Will this program save me money?
Grafton Energy Choice offer’s the potential for savings compared with National Grid’s Basic Service, but savings compared to National Grid’s Basic Service price cannot be guaranteed. This is because Grafton Energy Choice prices are long-term prices that are fixed until October 2021, while National Grid’s Basic Service prices are short-term prices that change every 6 months for residential and commercial customers and every 3 months for industrial customers and future prices are not known.
Also, because National Grid’s prices are always changing, it is normal for Grafton Energy Choice to be cheaper than National Grid at some times and more expensive at others. The program goal is to provide savings when compared with the average of National Grid’s changing prices, not to provide savings compared to each of National Grid’s short-term prices.
Why is having a long-term stable electricity supply price good?
Having a stable price for the supply part of your electricity bill can protect you from the seasonal price increases that occur when you have National Grid’s Basic Service. When you have National Grid’s Basic Service, the price that is used to calculate the supply charges on your electricity bill changes every 6 months for residential and commercial customers, and every 3 months for industrial customers, often rising in the winter.
Having a stable price for the supply part of your 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 and will rise significantly.
Grafton Energy Choice offers a long-term fixed price, and when it changes, the Town announces the new price publicly before it takes effect.
However, because National Grids prices change and future prices are not known, Grafton Energy Choice cannot guarantee to provide savings.
I am eligible for a low-income discount from National Grid. Will I continue to receive my discount?
Yes. You will continue to receive a low-income discount if you participate in Grafton Energy Choice with no change.
I currently have National Grid's budget billing. Will this change?
No, this will not change. There will be no change to budget billing if you participate in Grafton Energy Choice.
What's the difference between National Grid and an electricity supplier?
In Massachusetts, an electric utility like National Grid is fundamentally an electricity delivery company. National Grid does not generate electricity for you. They are responsible for delivering electricity to you, for maintaining the poles and wires, and for addressing power outages. They charge you for these services on the delivery portion of your electricity bill.
An electricity supplier is a company that buys electricity for you.
- For most electricity customers, their utility is also their electricity supplier. When you first open your electricity account, this is the case. When National is also your electricity supplier meaning they buy your electricity in addition to delivering it. In that case, you have what is known as National Grid’s Basic Service.
- You may also choose your own electricity supplier. If you do, the name of that company will appear on your National Grid bill as your electricity supplier, and National Grid will use the rate you negotiated with that electricity supplier to calculate the supply charges on your bill.
- In Grafton Energy Choice, the Town chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf. If you participate, the name of the company selected by the Town will appear on your National Grid bill as your electricity supplier, and National Grid will use the Grafton Energy Choice price to calculate the supply charges on your bill.
I currently have a contract with an electricity supplier. How do I participate in Grafton Energy Choice?
Before enrolling, we strongly recommend that you first check the terms of your existing electricity supply contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.
When you are ready to enroll, you may enroll online or by contacting customer support with Grafton’s program consultants. Please have your National Grid bill available when you call.
After you enroll, we recommend you cancel with your current supplier as well.
What is renewable electricity?
Renewable electricity is generated by sources that we won’t run out of, like the sun and the wind, 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 electricity are solar, wind, and small hydroelectric projects. Renewable electricity is sometimes referred to as green electricity or clean electricity.
What is the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by Massachusetts law?
The minimum amount increases every year. For 2020, Massachusetts state law requires that 16% of your electricity comes from newer renewable energy projects in New England (Massachusetts Class I RECs). In 2021, that number will increase to 18%.
In addition, state law requires the inclusion of a minimum amount of renewable energy from older renewable energy projects in New England (Massachusetts Class II RECs), as well as from some alternative 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.
Who is eligible to participate?
All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Grafton are eligible to participate.
New National Grid electricity t holders will receive a letter about the program within a few months of opening their account and will be automatically enrolled if they do not choose to opt out.
Do I have to participate?
No. You may choose not to participate. This is called opting out. There is no penalty for opting out. You may do so at any time. If you opt out, National Grid will use their own Basic Service price to calculate the supply services portion of your bill.
You my opt out online or by contacting customer support.
Why does Grafton Energy Choice have an automatic enrollment model?
Grafton had no choice. Automatic enrollment is the state law. All communities with electricity aggregation programs like Grafton Energy Choice are required to use an automatic enrollment model.
However, participating is not required, and you may prevent yourself from being enrolled by opting out.