Program Implementation Process
Implementing a municipal electricity aggregation program like Sharon Power Choice is a regulated process that is overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The implementation process can take as long as a year to complete because this is how long it usually takes the DOER and the DPU to approve a Town’s implementation plan for the program. Key steps include:
Town Meeting vote: Sharon must vote publicly to pursue aggregation.
- The Sharon Town Meeting vote occurred on May 7, 2018.
Regulatory review: The Town submits an aggregation plan document to the Massachusetts DOER for review and then to the Massachusetts DPU for approval. This document is a broad template that demonstrates how Sharon will meet regulatory requirements.
- Sharon’s aggregation plan was reviewed by the Massachusetts DOER on February 20. It was then submitted to the Massachusetts DPU for review, and it is now awaiting DPUR approval. This process typically takes many months.
Initial public engagement: At the same time as the regulatory review, the Town can begin building awareness about aggregation.
Choosing an electricity supplier and signing an electricity supply contract: Once the State regulatory review process is complete and the aggregation plan has received formal approval by the state, the Town implements a public procurement process to select and sign a contract with an electricity supplier. During this process, program details will be finalized, including the amount of renewable energy, above the amount required by state law, the amount of renewable energy in any program options, and the price for each option.
Public engagement and education: After the electricity supply contract is signed, the Town conducts an intensified public engagement effort to inform the community about program details and the ability to opt out. This effort includes mailing a letter to each electricity account holder who will be automatically enrolled in the program if he/she does not opt out, as well as public information sessions.
Program launch: At the conclusion of that effort, the program launches and electricity accounts are enrolled. Any account on Eversource’s or National Grid’s Basic Service will be automatically enrolled into the program, unless they choose to opt out. (Automatic enrollment is the state law.) Any account that is in an electricity supply contract at the time of program launch will not be automatically enrolled, but will have the option to join the program.
Sharon is targeting early 2020 for program launch, depending on the duration of the State regulatory review and approval process.