Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about Sharon Power Choice? Review the list of frequently asked questions and answers below.

Still don’t see what you’re looking for? Please feel free to contact the Town’s program consultants for customer support.

 

General program information

What is Sharon Power Choice?

Sharon Power Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a form of group electricity purchasing.

Typically, your electric utility, Eversource or National Grid, 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 Sharon Power Choice is.

If you participate in Sharon Power Choice, your utility will continue to delivery your electricity, but Constellation will appear on your electricity bill as your electricity supplier. Your utility will use the Sharon Power Choice price to calculate the supply charges on your electricity bill instead their own Basic Service price.

What is a municipal electricity aggregation?

A municipal electricity aggregation, such as Sharon Power Choice, is a group purchasing program for electricity.

In an aggregation, the Town uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to select an electricity supplier and to negotiate both the amount of renewable energy in the electricity and the price.

If you participate in the program, your electric utility, Eversource or National Grid, will continue to deliver your electricity, but:

  • The company chosen by the Town, Constellation, will appear on your existing electricity bill as your electricity supplier
  • Your electric utility will use a Sharon Power Choice price to calculate the Supply charges on your electricity bill instead of their own Basic Service price.
Does this program replace Eversource or National Grid as my electric utility?

No. If you participate in Sharon Power choice, Eversource or National Grid will remain your electric utility. They will continue to deliver your electricity, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with them.

Sharon Power Choice changes only the supplier on your Eversource or National Grid bill, and it will change the price that your utility uses to calculate the supply charge portion of your electricity bill. But your bill will continue to come from Eversource or National Grid as it does now.

Why did Sharon launch this program?

The primary goal of Sharon Power Choice is to increase the amount of renewable energy integrated into the electricity used by Sharon electricity customers at a favorable and stable price.

Massachusetts state law already requires that a minimum amount of renewable energy be included in all the electricity sold in the state. The standard level of renewable electricity for Sharon Power Choice includes an additional 20% over and above that state-required minimum amount.

In addition to the standard offering, the program provides other options, such as the ability to choose 100% renewable energy with the Sharon Power Choice Green option, and the ability to participate in the program but to receive no renewable energy beyond the minimum amount required by state law with the Sharon Power Choice Basic option.

Someone came to my door/called me about an electricity program. Do they represent the Town of Sharon, Eversource, or National Grid?

No. If you receive a personal call or visit about your electricity, that person does NOT represent the Town of Sharon, Eversource, or National Grid, even if they say they do. Neither the Town nor Eversource nor National Grid will knock on doors or make individual sales phone calls. Any communication will be done by mail and will bear the Town seal or the Eversource or National Grid logo.

If you receive a call or a visit from someone who wants to discuss your electricity, here are two things to keep in mind:

  • 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 Sharon, please report it to the Department of Public Utilities Consumer Division 617-737-2836, or DPUConsumer.Complaints@state.ma.us.

How long with the program last?

As long as Sharon decides it is providing value.

The Town’s contract with Constellation runs through January 2024 meter reads. When that contract ends, Sharon 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 back to their utility’s Basic Service offering.

Who do I call when the power goes out?

Call your electric utility as always – Eversource or National Grid. Your electric utility 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?

Constellation is required to have tax exemption documentation on file for every electricity account that participates in Sharon Power Choice 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 or National Grid. 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 Sharon 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 Sharon Power Choice.

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 or National Grid) is your electricity supplier and also delivers the electricity to you.

With Sharon Power Choice, your electric utility will continue to deliver your electricity, but Sharon 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 Sharon Power Choice, your electric utility (Eversource or National Grid) 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, potential savings, & billing

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

Your price will be determined by which program option you are enrolled in. Sharon Power Choice has three options.

Sharon Power Choice Standard is the default, which means it is the option you will be enrolled if you don’t choose one of the others. Sharon Power Choice Standard provides an additional 20% of your electricity from clean, renewable sources like the sun and the wind, over and above the minimum amount required by state law, and those sources are based in New England (MA Class I RECs). The Sharon Power Choice Standard price is 11.586 cents/kWh.

Sharon Power Choice Green is available by request and provides electricity that is 100% from clean, renewable sources in New England (100% MA Class I RECs) for 14.275 cents/kWh.

Sharon Power Choice Basic is available by request and provides only the minimum amount of renewable electricity from New England required by state law, which is 18% in 2021, 20% in 2022, and 22% in 2023, for 10.730 cents/kWh.

Learn more about program options and prices.

How much will I save? Are savings guaranteed?

The program has the potential offer a lower price than your utility’s Basic Service price, but savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed.

Utility Basic Service prices change every six months for residential and small business/commercial customers and every three months for large business/industrial customers. Their future prices are not known. As a result, the program price may not always be below your utility’s Basic Service price and savings cannot be guaranteed.

Will I receive a second electricity bill?

No. Your electric utility (Eversource or National Grid) will continue to bill you for your electricity. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Sharon Power Choice. The program is integrated into your existing electricity bill.

What if my utility's price falls below the Sharon Power Choice price?

This is normal. Your electric utility’s Basic Service prices change every six months or less, depending on what kind of customer you are, while the Sharon Power Choice price is fixed until January 2024. As a result, it is likely that for some months, your utility’s Basic Service price will fall below the Sharon Power Choice 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 your utility’s Basic Service at any time with no penalty or fee.

I have solar panels on my property or I participate in a community solar program. If I join Sharon Power Choice, will I continue to receive credits on my bill?

Yes. You will continue to receive credits on your bill, and they will continue to be calculated in the same way they are calculated now with no change.

Where will I see Sharon Power Choice on my electricity bill?

Sharon Power Choice appears on your electricity bill in two ways:

  1. On the supply charge portion of your electricity bill, you will see Constellation listed as your electricity supplier instead of your utility’s Basic Service.
  2. The price that your utility uses to calculate your supply charges will be a Sharon Power Choice price instead of their own Basic Service price.
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 your utility’s Basic Service price. When your utility 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/commercial customers, and it changes more frequently for large business/industrial 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 join the program?

Participation in Sharon Power Choice is open to all metered electricity customers in Sharon. Most electricity customers were enrolled when the program launched in March 2021.

  • If your account was not automatically enrolled when the program launched, or you opted out at that time and now wish to enroll, you are free to request enrollment by completing the online form.
  • If you are a new electricity customer in Sharon and you do not sign your own contract with an electricity supplier, your account will be automatically enrolled within a few months of opening, unless you chose to opt out. If you wish to be enrolled sooner than the automatic enrollment process allows, you are free to request enrollment by completing the online form.
  • If you sign your own contract with an electricity supplier after opening your electricity account, your account will not be automatically enrolled, but you are free to request enrollment by completing the online form.

 

 

 

How do I know if I'm enrolled in the program and which option I'm enrolled in?

If you are enrolled in Sharon Power Choice, 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 Sharon Power Choice 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 Sharon Power Choice?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Sharon are eligible to participate.

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 your utility’s Basic Service pricing.

You may opt out at any time online or by contacting customer support.

How do I opt up to Sharon Power Choice Green or opt down to Sharon Power Choice Basic?

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 & National Grid

Will I receive a lower quality of electricity service from Eversource or National Grid if I participate in Sharon Power Choice?

No. The quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Sharon Power Choice. The reason is because Eversource and National Grid do 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 charges. As a result, they have no preference whether they choose your electricity supplier or Sharon does.

I have budget billing with my utility. Will this change?

If Eversource is your electric utility: Yes. You will lose budget billing on the supply charge portion of your bill as a participant in Sharon Power Choice, but budget billing will continue on your delivery charges. If retaining budget billing for your entire bill is important to you, you may wish to opt out of the program.

If National Grid is your electric utility: No. There will be no change to budget billing.

I'm eligible for a low-income discount on my electricity bill. Will this change?

No. You will continue to receive your low-income discount as a participant in Sharon Power Choice.

What's the difference between my utility and an electricity supplier?

An electric utility like Eversource or National Grid 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 National Grid, or it can be a third-party company. If your supplier is a third-party company, it does not replace Eversource or National Grid as your electric utility.

  • When your utility is also your electricity supplier (i.e., when you have 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 Sharon Power Choice, the Town chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf. Sharon has signed a contract with Constellation to supply electricity to the Town. Constellation will appear on your electricity bill as your electricity supplier, and your utility will use the price the Town has secured from with them to calculate the supply charges on your bill.

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 Sharon Power Choice Green and receive 100% renewable electricity from New England?

When you choose the Sharon Power Choice Green option, 100% of your electricity will be generated by clean, renewable sources from New England (MA Class I RECs).

Choosing this option means making a significant commitment to sustainability and to the New England economy.

Every time you pay your electricity bill, you will take a significant step toward:

  • Addressing climate change and improving local air quality by limiting greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants created from generating electricity with fossil fuels. Electricity generated from renewable sources, such as the sun and wind, does not create the greenhouse gases that cause climate change and does not pollute the air.
  • Helping to drive the development of new New England-based renewable energy projects by creating additional demand for the electricity generated by those projects.
  • Supporting local businesses and local jobs by buying all of your electricity from New England-based renewable energy projects.

Opt up to Sharon Power Choice Green.