General program information
What is Lexington's Community Choice Program?
Lexington’s Community Choice Program is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a form of group electricity purchasing.
Typically, your electric utility, Eversource, provides two sets of services to you:
- They deliver your electricity (Massachusetts electric utilities are electricity delivery companies only). Delivery services appear on your electricity 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 electricity 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 you buy your electricity when you first open your account.
- 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 Lexington’s Community Choice Program is.
If you participate in Lexington’s Community Choice Program, Eversource delivers your electricity, but Constellation appears on your Eversource bill as your electricity supplier. Eversource will use the Lexington Community Choice price to calculate the Supply charges on your electricity bill instead their own Basic Service price.
Lexington’s Community Choice Program provides an alternative both to Eversource’s Basic Service pricing and to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.
Someone came to my door/called me about an electricity program. Do they represent the Town of Lexington or Eversource?
No. If you receive a personal call or visit about your electricity, that person does NOT represent the Town of Lexington or Eversource. Neither the Town nor Eversource is knocking on doors or making individual sales phone calls. Any communication is done by mail and will bear the Town seal or Eversource’s logo.
If you receive a 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 Lexington or with Eversource.
- You should treat your electricity 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 a utility or the Town of Lexington or Eversource, please report it to the Department of Public Utilities Consumer Division 617-737-2836, or DPUConsumer.Complaints@state.ma.us.
How long will the program last?
As long as Lexington decides it is providing value.
The contract with Constellation runs through December 2023 meter reads. When that contract ends, Lexington can either sign a new electricity supply contract and extend the program, or end the program. While the Town’s intention is to continue the program, if the Town decides to end the program, the Town will make an announcement, and all active participants will be seamlessly transitioned to Eversource’s Basic Service offering.
Who do I call when the power goes out?
Call Eversource as always. Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity and maintain the poles and wires.
Will I receive a lower quality of service from Eversource if I participate in Lexington's Community Choice Program?
No. The quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Lexington’s Community Choice Program. The reason is because Eversource 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 distribution charges. As a result, they have no preference whether they choose your supplier or Lexington does.
I have a tax exempt account. How can I retain my account's tax-exempt status, and where do I send my tax exemption documentation?
Constellation is required to have tax exemption documentation on file for every electricity account that participates in Lexington’s Community Choice Program and has tax-exempt status. Without that documentation on file, Constellation may be required to charge tax on the account. They cannot obtain that documentation from Eversource. They must obtain it from each customer directly.
If your account has tax exempt status, please submit your tax exemption documentation to Constellation. Visit the Tax-exempt accounts page for information on where to send your documentation.
Is Lexington the only community in Massachusetts with this kind of program?
No. Nearly half of the cities and towns in Massachusetts have electricity aggregation programs like Lexington’s Community Choice Program.
Do I need to do anything when Lexington is changing to a new electricity supplier or a new electricity supply contract?
No. If you are an active program participant, your account will be automatically enrolled into the new electricity supply contract, and you will be enrolled in your current program option.
If you previously opted out of the program, you will remain opted out. You do not need to opt out again. However, if you would like to enroll in the program with the new contract, you may do so. You may enroll online or by contacting customer support.
Electricity supply & 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 Basic Service, your electric utility, Eversource, is your electricity supplier and also delivers the electricity to you.
With Lexington’s Community Choice Program, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but Lexington chooses its own supplier.
What is a competitive electricity supplier?
A competitive 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.
A competitive 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 program like Lexington’s Community Choice Program, Eversource will use your electricity supplier’s price to calculate the supply charges on your electricity bill instead of their own Basic Service price.
Who is the program's current electricity supplier?
The program’s electricity supplier is Constellation.
Price, savings, & billing
What will my electricity supply price be if I participate in Lexington's Community Choice Program?
How much will I save? Are savings guaranteed?
The program has the potential offer a lower price than Eversource’s Basic Service price, but savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed.
Eversource’s fixed Basic Service prices change every six months for residential and small business customers and every three months for medium and large business/industrial customers.
Their future prices are not known.
As a result, the program price may not always be below Eversource’s price.
Will I receive a second electricity bill?
No. Eversource will continue to bill you for your electricity. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Lexington’s Community Choice Program. The program is integrated into your existing electricity bill.
What if the Eversource price falls below Lexington's Community Choice Program price?
This is normal. Eversource’s Basic Service prices change every six months or less, depending on what kind of customer you are, while the program price is typically fixed for a longer period of time. As a result, it is likely that for some months, Eversource’s Basic Service price will fall below the program price. Typically, this happens during the summer months, but it could happen anytime.
If you ever wish to leave the program, you are free to opt out of the program and return to Eversource’s Basic Service with no penalty or fee.
I have solar panels on my property. If I join Lexington's Community Choice Program, will I continue to receive credits on my bill?
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.
Where do I see Lexington's Community Choice Program on my Eversource electricity bill?
Lexington’s Community Choice Program price appears on your electricity bill in two ways:
- On the supply charge portion of your electricity bill, you will see Constellation listed as your electricity supplier instead of Eversource’s Basic Service.
- The price that Eversource uses to calculate your supply charges will be Lexington’s Community Choice 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.
The program provides a stable electricity supply price. Why is that important?
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 Eversource’s Basic Service. When Eversource is your electricity supplier and you have their Basic Service, the price they use to calculate the supply charges on your bill changes every 6 months for residential and small business customers, and it changes more frequently for large business customers.
Having a stable price 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 know if I'm enrolled in the program and which option I'm enrolled in?
Check your most recently electricity bill. If you are enrolled in Lexington’s Community Choice Program, your electricity supplier will be listed as Constellation.
To check which program option you are enrolled in, look at the price that is used to calculate the supply charge portion of your bill. Compare it to the Lexington’s Community Choice Program prices.
(Remember that your bill presents prices in dollars per kWh, while most other informational resources present the prices in cents per kWh. You will likely need to move the decimal two places to the left or the right to match the prices).
Who is eligible to participate in Lexington's Community Choice Program?
All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Lexington are eligible to participate. All new Eversource Basic Service customers in Lexington will be automatically enrolled within a few months of opening their electricity account.
I have signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Can I participate?
Yes. If you have already signed a contract with an electricity supplier, you will not automatically be enrolled in the program, but you are invited to participate.
We recommend that you first check the terms of your existing electricity supply contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.
Learn more about enrolling.
Do I have to participate? Can I leave the program?
You may choose not to participate, and you may leave the program after you join. This is called opting out.
There is no penalty for opting out. You may do so at any time.
If you opt out, you will be placed on Eversource’s Basic Service.
You may opt out at any time online or by contacting customer support.
How do I opt up to New England Green or opt down to Basic?
I have Eversource's budget billing. Will this change?
Yes. You will lose budget billing on the supply charge portion of your bill as a participant in Lexington’s Community Choice Program, but budget billing will continue on your delivery charges.
I'm eligible for a low-income rate from Eversource. Will this change?
No. You will continue to receive your low-income discount as a participant in Lexington’s Community Choice Program.
What's the difference between my utility and an electricity supplier?
An electric utility like Eversource is responsible primarily for delivering electricity to you, for maintaining the poles and wires, and for addressing power outages. Your utility charges you for these services on the delivery portion of your electricity bill.
An electricity supplier is a company that buys electricity for you from electricity generators or from electricity brokers. An electricity supplier can be a utility like Eversource, or it can be a third-party company. If your supplier is a third-party company, it does not replace Eversource as your electric utility.
- When your utility is also your electricity supplier (i.e., when you have Eversource’s Basic Service), your electricity bill will indicate that is the case with the words “basic service.”
- You may also choose your own electricity supplier. If you do, the name of that company will appear on your electricity bill as your electricity supplier, and the price you negotiated with them will be used to calculate the supply charges on your bill.
- In Lexington’s Community Choice Program, the Town chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf. Lexington has signed a contract with Constellation to supply electricity to the Town. Constellation will appear on your electricity bill as your electricity supplier, and Eversource will use the price the Town has secured from with them to calculate the supply charges on your bill.
What is the minimum amount of renewable electricity required by state law?
The minimum amount increases every year. For 2021, Massachusetts state law requires that renewable electricity must be purchased from renewable energy projects in New England to match 18% 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 New England Green and receive 100% renewable electricity from New England?
When you choose the New England Green option, 100% of your electricity will be generated by clean, renewable sources from New England.
Renewable energy does not create air pollution, and it does not emit the gases that cause climate change.
Purchasing all of your electricity from renewable energy project in New England creates a stronger market for locally produced renewable electricity and helps to drive the development of new renewable energy projects in New England. It also supports the local jobs that support those projects.