Frequently Asked Questions

See below for a list of frequently asked questions and answers. If you still don’t see what you’re looking for, please feel free to contact the City’s program consultants for Customer Support.

 

Featured question: 

How do I know if I am enrolled in Newton Power Choice and which option I have?

Check your most recent Eversource electricity bill. If you are enrolled in Newton Power Choice, your electricity supplier will be listed as “Direct Energy Newton Power Choice.”

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:

  • If you are enrolled in the 100% Green option, the price will be $0.1175/kWh (11.75 cents/kWh), changing to $0.14357kWh (14.357 cents/kWh) with your February bill.
  • If you are enrolled in the Standard offering, the price will be $0.1134/kWh (11.34 cents/kWh), changing to $0.13452/kWh (13.452 cents/kWh) with your February bill.
  • If you are enrolled in the Basic option, the price will be $0.1087/kWh (10.87 cents/kWh), changing to $0.10646/kWh (10.646 cents/kWh) with your February bill.

General program questions

What is Newton Power Choice?

Newton Power Choice 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:

  1. They deliver your electricity (Massachusetts electric utilities are electricity delivery companies only). Delivery services appear on your electricity bill as delivery charges.
  2. 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 Newton Power Choice is.

If you participate in Newton Power Choice, Eversource delivers your electricity, but Direct Energy appears on your Eversource bill as your electricity supplier. Eversource will use the Newton Power Choice price to calculate the Supply charges on your Eversource electricity bill instead their own Basic Service price.

Newton Power Choice 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 Eversource or Newton Power Choice?

No. If you receive a personal call or visit about your electricity, that person does not represent the City of Newton, Eversource, or Newton Power Choice. Neither Eversource nor the City is knocking on doors or making individual sales phone calls. Any communication is done by mail and will bear the City seal and the Newton Power Choice logo 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 Eversource, the City of Newton, or Newton Power Choice.
  • 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 City of Newton, 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 Newton decides it is providing value.

The contract with Direct runs through January 2024 meter reads. When that contract ends, Newton can either sign a new electricity supply contract and extend the program, or end the program. While the City’s intention is to continue the program, if the City decides to end the program, the City 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.

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?

Direct Energy is required to have tax exemption documentation on file for every electricity account that participates in Newton Power Choice and has tax-exempt status. Without that documentation on file, Direct Energy 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 Direct Energy. Visit the Tax-exempt accounts page for information on where to send your documentation.

Is Newton 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 Newton Power Choice.

Do I need to do anything when a new electricity supply contract begins?

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. Please contact customer support for more information.

Will Newton Power Choice replace Eversource as my electric utility?

No. Eversource will remain your electric utility and will continue to deliver your electricity, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with Eversource.

Newton Power Choice changes the supplier on your Eversource bill to Direct Energy, and it changes the price that Eversource uses to calculate the Supply charges on your Eversource bill.

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 Newton Power Choice, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, but Newton 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. In Newton, your electric utility is Eversource.

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 Newton Power Choice, 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 electricity supplier?

The program’s electricity supplier is Direct Energy until January 2024..

Price, savings, & billing

What will my electricity supply price be if I participate in Newton Power Choice?

Your price will be determined by which program option you are enrolled in. Learn about the program options.

Will I save any money?

The Basic option in Newton Power Choice has the potential offer a lower price than Eversource’s Basic Service price, but savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed.

The program price is fixed until January 2024, while 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, Newton’s Basix price may not always be below Eversource’s Basic Service 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 Newton Power Choice. The program is integrated into your existing electricity bill.

What if the Eversource price falls below the Newton Power Choice Basic 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 Newton’s Basic 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 Newton Power Choice, 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 Newton Power Choice on my electricity bill?

The Newton Power Choice appears on your electricity bill in two ways:

  1. On the supply charge portion of your electricity bill, you will see Newton’s electricity supplier, Direct Energy, listed as your electricity supplier instead of Eversource’s Basic Service.
  2. The price that Eversource uses to calculate your supply charges will be the Newton Power 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?

The Newton Power Choice price is fixed until January 2024. 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 your utility’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.

Participation

How do I know if I am enrolled in Newton Power Choice and which option I have?

Check your most recent Eversource electricity bill. If you are enrolled in Newton Power Choice, your electricity supplier will be listed as “Direct Energy Newton Power Choice.”

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:

  • If you are enrolled in the 100% Green option, the price will be $0.1175/kWh (11.75 cents/kWh), changing to $0.14357kWh (14.357 cents/kWh) with your February bill.
  • If you are enrolled in the Standard offering, the price will be $0.1134/kWh (11.34 cents/kWh), changing to $0.13452/kWh (13.452 cents/kWh) with your February bill.
  • If you are enrolled in the Basic option, the price will be $0.1087/kWh (10.87 cents/kWh), changing to $0.10646/kWh (10.646 cents/kWh) with your February bill.
Who is eligible to participate in Newton Power Choice?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Newton are eligible to participate. All new Eversource Basic Service customers in Newton 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 change to another program option?

You may use the online form to change from one program option to another or contact customer support. You may change program options at any time.

Eversource

Will I receive a lower quality of service from Eversource if I participate in Newton Power Choice?

No. The quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Newton Power Choice. 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 Newton does.

I currently 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 Newton Power Choice, 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 Newton Power Choice.

What's the difference between my utility (Eversource) 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 Newton Power Choice, the City chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf. Newton has signed a contract with Direct Energy to supply electricity to the City. Direct Energy will appear on your electricity bill as your electricity supplier, and Eversource will use the price the City has secured from with them to calculate the supply charges on your bill.
Will I receive a lower quality of service from Eversource if I participate in Newton Power Choice?

No. The quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Newton Power Choice. 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 Newton does.

Renewable electricity

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 100% Green?

100% Green from Newton Power Choice is different from most other renewable electricity offers.

With Newton Power Choice 100% Green, you will buy renewable electricity to match 100% of your electricity use, and it will all be from renewable energy projects in New England (MA Class I RECs).

By choosing 100% Green and buying renewable electricity to match all of your electricity use, you will make an important contribution to:

  • reducing Newton’s greenhouse gas emissions
  • creating demand for more renewable electricity on the New England power grid
  • supporting local renewable energy businesses and the jobs that go with them
  • reducing local air pollution

100% Green from Newton Power Choice offers additional benefits:

  • A fixed price that will not change until January 2024
  • Consumer protections, including the ability to opt out or change from one option to another at any time