Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about Nantucket PowerChoice? Review the list of frequently asked questions below.

Still don’t see your answer? Submit your question to our customer support team.

 

Featured question: I keep hearing that energy prices are low, so why are the new Dynegy contract prices higher than the program’s previous price?

This answer has two key components:

First. for Nantucket’s May 2018 – May 2020 contract with Direct Energy, the Town benefited from a unique situation. The Town’s electricity supplier, Direct Energy was working to break into the Massachusetts aggregation market, and they bid below-market prices in order to win Nantucket as a customer. However, when Nantucket went out to bid for the current contract with Dynegy, there were no electricity suppliers trying to break into the market and bidding below-market prices. As a result, all of the bids Nantucket received were market prices. The contract that Nantucket signed with Dynegy was a good price, but it was a market price, not a below-market price.

Second, while oil prices have dropped dramatically, that does not impact electricity pricing in New England. This is because electricity in New England is generated primarily by natural gas, not oil. Natural gas prices are low, but they are not as low as oil. They have dipped a bit recently, but not dramatically. 

 

General program information

Why did the Town launch an aggregation?

Municipal Aggregation was unanimously approved at the 2016 Annual Town (Article 104) meeting as a way to help the local community to save money and protect against dramatic seasonal price swings that have been difficult to predict and challenging for many to manage. Aggregation can also deliver greener power more cost effectively, including from island renewable energy sources.

What is the Nantucket PowerChoice Program?

National Grid is responsible for electricity delivery in Nantucket. In addition, National Grid is typically your electricity supplier and they pass the cost of the electricity itself, known as electricity supply, along to you. This is called Basic Service.

The Nantucket PowerChoice program is an alternative to National Grid’s Basic Service, called municipal electricity aggregation. Electricity aggregation is a form of group purchasing in which a municipality selects an electricity supplier on behalf of its residents and businesses. The goal is to negotiate the best price possible for everyone for the electricity supply portion of their bill, and to provide price stability, strong customer protection, and increased competition.

Through a competitive bidding process, Nantucket has chosen Direct Energy as the program’s electricity supplier. With Nantucket PowerChoice, National Grid delivers electricity to Nantucket, but Direct Energy supplies it.

Please note: Nantucket PowerChoice will transition to from Direct Energy to Dynegy as its electricity supplier with May 2020 meter reads, as the Town’s contract with Direct Energy expires.

How long will the program last?

Nantucket’s current contract with Direct Energy will expire with May 2020 meter reads. At that point, a new contract with Dynegy will go into effect and will remain in place until December 2021 meter reads. In December 2021, Nantucket can establish another new electricity supply contract or end the program and return participants to National Grid’s Basic Service.

Whatever the Town decides, it will issue a press release. Additionally, whether Nantucket PowerChoice participants transition at that time to a new supplier or transition back to National Grid’s Basic Service, the change would be automatic and seamless with no interruption in electricity service or billing and no action required.

What will change if I participate in Nantucket PowerChoice?

You will see two changes on your National Grid electric bill after you are enrolled in the program:

  • Your electricity supply price will change to the program price.
  • You will see Dynegy listed instead of National Grid 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, you will continue to send your bill payment to National Grid, and you will continue to call National Grid when your power goes out.

I have a tax-exempt account. How do I ensure my tax exempt status in Nantucket PowerChoice?

Each Nantucket PowerChoice electricity supplier is required to have tax exemption documentation on file for every electricity account that participates in the Nantucket PowerChoice and has tax exempt status. They cannot obtain that documentation from National Grid. They must obtain it from each customer directly.

Without that documentation on file, the account holder may receive a bill for back taxes.

If your account has tax exempt status, please visit the tax-exempt account page for information on how to submit your tax-exemption documentation.

To retain your account’s tax-exempt status, you must submit your tax-exemption documentation each time the electricity supplier for Nantucket PowerChoice changes.

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.

I turn off my electricity service seasonally. How will I be impacted?
Your participation in Nantucket PowerChoice is not impacted if you turn your electricity off seasonally. If you turn your electricity off but you do not cancel your electricity account, and you do not opt out of the program, you will still be enrolled in the program when you turn your electricity back on.
The program impacts only the price National Grid uses to calculate the supply services portion of your electricity bill when you are using electricity. If you are not using any electricity, there would be no other charge on your National Grid bill associated with the program.

Supporting renewable electricity

How does Nantucket PowerChoice support renewable electricity on Nantucket?

Nantucket PowerChoice is directly supporting the development of new residential solar electricity projects on Nantucket. Program prices include a small 0.1 cents/kWh fee that supports Nantucket’s Solar Rebate Program. The money collected is used to provide a rebate of up to $2,500 to homeowners for installing residential solar systems on Nantucket. To learn more about the program or ask questions about the adder, please contact: Lauren Sinatra, Energy Coordinator  /  LSinatra@nantucket-ma.gov  /  508-325-5379 or visit www.nantucket-ma.gov/solarrebate.

Participants can also support renewable electricity throughout New England by opting up to the PowerChoice Green option. Through PowerChoice Green, participants will receive 100% renewable electricity, and as part of that, will receive an extra 20% fro renewable energy projects in New England. By prioritizing the purchase of renewable energy generated by projects in New England, PowerChoice Green participants create a stronger demand for renewable energy projects in New England, which encourages developers to build more projects.

Can I get 100% renewable electricity through Nantucket PowerChoice?

Yes, you can. Upgrading to the PowerChoice Green option gives you 100% renewable electricity. As part of receiving 100% renewable electricity, PowerChoice Green participants receive an extra 20% fro renewable energy projects in New England, over and above the minimum amount required by state law (Massachusetts state law requires that all electricity sold include a minimum amount from New England). By prioritizing the purchase of renewable energy generated by projects in New England, PowerChoice Green participants create a stronger demand for those projects, which encourages developers to build more.

Specifically, PowerChoice Green includes:

  • 20% from new wind energy projects in New England (Massachusetts Class I RECs) and is over and above the minimum state requirement.
  • 16% mandated by law from new wind energy projects in New England (Massachusetts Class I RECs) to meet the minimum state requirement of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
  • 64% is from national wind energy projects outside of New England.

Additional renewable energy certificates (RECs) will be purchased from a mix of alternative and renewable energy sources to meet Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard and Alternative Energy Power Standard requirements.

You may upgrade to PowerChoice Green online by calling customer support with the Town’s consultants at 1-844-241-8598.

I have solar panels. 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 will continue to appear on your National Grid bill and will continue to be calculated based on National Grid’s Basic Service price.

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 Basic Service, National Grid chooses your electricity supplier and delivers the electricity to you. With Nantucket PowerChoice, National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but Dynegy will be your supplier.

Who is the current electricity supplier?

The electricity supplier for Nantucket PowerChoice has been Direct Energy.

Beginning with May 2020 meter reads and appearing on June 2020 bills, Dynegy will be the electricity supplier.

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 electricity customers.

Typically, a residential customer who buys electricity from a competitive supplier will see the name of that supplier listed on their National Grid electricity bill, and National Grid will use that electricity supplier’s price to calculate the supply services part of the customers bill instead of their own Basic Service price.

How is the electricity supplier chosen for Nantucket PowerChoice?

Nantucket chooses the electricity supplier for Nantucket PowerChoice using a competitive procurement process. The Town requested bids from electricity suppliers using an RFQ (request for qualifications) process in which the suppliers first submitted their credentials, including information about their financial standing, their customer support operations, and municipal references, as well as their willingness to agree to the Town’s contract and the consumer protections within it.

The Town’s evaluation committee reviewed the responses, identified the electricity suppliers that met its requirements, and then asked those suppliers for pricing bids by releasing an RFP. Upon reviewing the bids received, the committee chooses the bid that provides the best value for the community.

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

No. If you have signed a contract with an electricity supplier, you will not automatically be enrolled in Nantucket PowerChoice.

However, you may participate if you wish.

If you would like 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.

If you decide to participate in the program, please you may enroll online or by calling customer support with the Town’s program consultants at 1-844-241-8598.

Price, savings, and billing

What will my electricity supply price be as a participant in Nantucket PowerChoice

The program offers two options:

  • PowerChoice is 9.05 ¢/kWh for all customers. This option meets state renewable energy requirements. New program participants are automatically enrolled in PowerChoice, unless they opt out or choose PowerChoice Green.
  • PowerChoice Green is 9.55 ¢/kWh for all customers. This option provides 100% green energy with a focus on renewable energy produced in New England. You may select PowerChoice Green online or by calling customer support with the Town’s program consultants at 1-844-241-8598.

Please note: New pricing takes effect with May 2020 meter reads. The new prices reflect changes in the electricity market and in regulatory costs since the current electricity supply contract was signed:

  • PowerChoice will change to 11.300 ¢/kWh for all customers. This option meets state renewable energy requirements. New program participants are automatically enrolled in PowerChoice, unless they opt out or choose PowerChoice Green.
  • PowerChoice Green will change to 12.132 ¢/kWh for all customers. This option provides 100% green energy with a focus on renewable energy produced in New England. You may select PowerChoice Green online or by calling customer support with the Town’s program consultants at 1-844-241-8598.

If you wish to leave Nantucket PowerChoice before the new pricing takes effect, you must opt out no later than one week before your May 2020 electricity meter read date. Your National Grid electricity bill includes information about your meter read date.

I keep hearing that energy prices are low, so why are the new Dynegy contract prices higher than the program's previous price?
This answer has two key components:
First. for Nantucket’s May 2018 – May 2020 contract with Direct Energy, the Town benefited from a unique situation. The Town’s electricity supplier, Direct Energy was working to break into the Massachusetts aggregation market, and they bid below-market prices in order to win Nantucket as a customer. However, when Nantucket went out to bid for the current contract with Dynegy, there were no electricity suppliers trying to break into the market and bidding below-market prices. As a result, all of the bids Nantucket received were market prices. The contract that Nantucket signed with Dynegy was a good price, but it was a market price, not a below-market price.
Second, while oil prices have dropped dramatically, that does not impact electricity pricing in New England. This is because electricity in New England is generated primarily by natural gas, not oil. Natural gas prices are low, but they are not as low as oil. They have dipped a bit recently, but not dramatically. 
Are savings guaranteed?

Savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed. Nantucket PowerChoice offers long-term prices. However, National Grid residential and commercial prices change every 6 months for residential and commercial customers and every 3 months for industrial customers. Nantucket PowerChoice will eliminate that seasonal volatility with a fixed program price, but that price may not always be below the National Grid Basic Service price.

Any savings achieved will apply only to the supply portion of your bill. Delivery charges will be unaffected.

How is the Town able to get a price that is competitive with National Grid's average Basic Service price?
The Town of Nantucket has two key advantages over National Grid when seeking a price for electricity supply:
  1. Electricity prices are driven in part by how much electricity is used at different times of the day and of the year. When National Grid buys electricity, the price it passes along to customers reflects the electricity use patterns of all electricity customers across the entire National Grid service area, including those customers that use a lot of electricity during the most expensive periods of the day and the year. When Nantucket buys electricity, it can get a price that is specific for the Town’s electricity use patterns, which include less use at the most expensive periods of the day and the year.
  2. National Grid must purchase electricity on a fixed 6-month schedule, regardless of where the market is at that time. In contrast, Nantucket was able to coordinate its purchase more strategically, and wait for a time when the market was able to provide a more favorable price. In the future, if the Town decides to continue the program and procure additional electricity supply contracts, the Town will start testing the electricity market in advance of when it needs the new contract so that it has some flexibility around when it secures the price for that new contract.
Will I receive a second bill?

No. National Grid will continue to bill you for your electricity. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Nantucket PowerChoice.

What if National Grid’s Basic Service price falls below the program price?

Nantucket PowerChoice offers long-term prices. However, National Grid residential and commercial prices change twice a year or more, depending on rate class. As a result, it is likely that the Nantucket PowerChoice price will not always be below National Grid’s Basic Service price.

However, if National Grid’s Basic Service price does fall below the program price and you wish to leave the program and return to National Grid’s Basic Service, you are free to opt out. There is no penalty or fee to opt out, and you may do so at any time.

I am currently eligible for a low-income discount. Will this change?

No. If you are eligible for a low-income discount, you will continue to receive that discount from National Grid,

Why do program prices include an extra 0.1 cents/kWh to support a local solar rebate program?

The purpose of the extra 0.1 cents/kWh is to support Nantucket’s Solar Rebate Program. The goal of the Solar Rebate Program is to encourage the development of additional solar energy generation on Nantucket.

Specifically, the money collected, known as an adder, will be used to provide a rebate of up to $2,500 to homeowners for installing residential solar systems on Nantucket.

To learn more about the program or ask questions about the adder, please contact: Lauren Sinatra, Energy Coordinator  /  LSinatra@nantucket-ma.gov  /  508-325-5379 or visit www.nantucket-ma.gov/solarrebate.

Participation

Who is eligible to participate?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Nantucket are eligible to participate. All new National Grid Basic Service customers in Nantucket will receive a notification letter and will then be automatically enrolled, unless they choose to opt out.

How do I enroll in, or opt in to, the program?

If you are a new National Grid Basic Service customer, you do not need to opt in to the program. You will be automatically enrolled.

If you have signed your own contract with an electricity supplier, you will not be automatically enrolled in the program, but you are invited to enroll.

If you would like 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.

If you decide to participate in the program, you may enroll online or by calling customer support with the Town’s consultants at 1-844-241-8598.

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, you will continue with National Grid Basic Service.

You may opt out at any time. To opt out, you may submit your account information through the online form or by calling the customer support with the Town’s program consultants at 1-844-241-8598.

If I opt-out now, will I be automatically re-enrolled in Nantucket PowerChoice if and when Nantucket signs a new electricity supply contract?

No. If you opt out of the program, you will remain opted out, even if Nantucket signs a new electricity supply contract at the end of the current contract. If you wish to re-enroll in the program at a later date, you may do so by calling the program electricity supplier at that time and asking to enroll.

National Grid

Will I receive a lower quality of service from National Grid if I participate in this program?

No. National Grid’s quality of service will not be affected by your participation in Nantucket PowerChoice. 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 Nantucket chooses your supplier.

I am currently under National Grid's budget billing. Will this change?

If you participate in budget billing, it will not be affected by your participation in Nantucket PowerChoice.

Is my electric utility changing? Does Nantucket PowerChoice replace National Grid as my electric utility?

No. Nantucket PowerChoice 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:

  1. Your electricity bill will continue to come from National Grid.
  2. You will continue to send bill payments to National Grid.
  3. You will continue to call National Grid if your power goes out.
  4. If you are eligible for a low-income delivery rate or fuel assistance, you will continue to receive those benefits.