How aggregation works
Municipal electricity aggregation is a form of group electricity purchasing. In an electricity aggregation, your City government uses the bulk purchasing power of the community to negotiate a contract with an electricity supplier on behalf of residents and businesses. As part of that, your local government determines the price and the renewable energy content of your electricity.
Electricity aggregation replaces your electricity supplier, and it impacts the supplier services portion of your National Grid electricity bill. But electricity aggregation does not replace National Grid as your electric utility.
Typically, National Grid provides two services to you as an electricity customer:
- Electricity delivery: National Grid’s primary role is as an electricity delivery company. They deliver electricity to you, maintain the poles and wires, and address power outages. They charge you for these services on the delivery part of your National Grid electricity bill.
- Electricity supplier: When you first open your electricity account, National Grid also provides a second service, which is as an electricity supplier. They purchase electricity on your behalf and charge you on the supplier services part of your National Grid electricity bill for the amount you use. When National Grid is your electricity supplier, you have what is known as National Grid’s Basic Service.
With the Salem PowerChoice program, National Grid remains your electric utility. They continue to deliver electricity to you, maintain the poles and wires, and address power outages. But they are longer your electricity supplier. Instead, the City of Salem will select a supplier, and the price that the City negotiates will be used to calculate the supplier services portion of your National Grid electricity bill. Additionally, your electricity will include more renewable energy than National Grid currently supplies.
What changes with the program
If you participate, you will see two changes on your National Grid electricity bill beginning the month after you enroll:
- The City’s electricity supplier will be listed on your bill as your electricity supplier.
- The program price will be used to calculate the supplier services portion of your National Grid electricity bill.
Otherwise, your primary relationship for electricity will remain with National Grid. This means:
- You will continue to receive one bill from National Grid. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in the program.
- You will continue to call National Grid if your power goes out. National Grid will continue to deliver electricity, restore service after an outage, and maintain the poles and wires.
- If you receive net metering credits from solar panels on your National Grid bill, those will continue to be calculated on National Grid’s Basic Service rate, not on the program rate.
- If you are eligible for a low-income discount, you will continue to receive that discount.
Participating in the program
All new National Grid Basic Service electricity accounts will be automatically enrolled into Salem PowerChoice shortly after they are opened, unless they choose to opt out.
If you sign a contract with a third-party electricity supplier shortly after opening your electricity account, you will not be automatically enrolled into the program. However, you will be able to join the program if you wish.
All households and businesses that will be automatically enrolled will receive an informational letter in the mail approximately one month before the enrollment occurs. If you do not wish to participate, you may opt out before being automatically enrolled or any time after enrollment, with no penalty. If you choose to opt out, National Grid will continue to be your electricity supplier, and the supplier services portion of your electricity bill will remain on National Grid’s Basic Service rate.