What is the Southborough Community Choice Program?
The program is an electricity aggregation, a form of group purchasing in which the Town uses the bulk buying power of the entire community to negotiate a price for the Supplier Services portion of your National Grid electric bill.
Under the program, National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but National Grid will no longer be your electricity supplier. Instead Southborough will choose its own electricity supplier.
Southborough’s first contract is with Public Power, from February 2018 through February 2020.
Southborough has signed a new contract with First Power Power, which will run from February 2020 – February 2022.
What is electricity supply?
Electricity service has two parts, delivery and supply. Electricity delivery is the process of bringing electricity to you along wires. Electricity supply is the electricity itself. National Grid is responsible for electricity delivery in Southborough. In addition, National Grid typically chooses the electricity supplier and passes that cost along to customers. This is called National Grid’s Basic Service.
What will my electricity supply price be?
The program offers two alternatives to National Grid Basic Service:
Power Choice Standard is 10.88 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This is the default option. All new program participants will be automatically enrolled in Power Choice Standard. Like National Grid’s Basic Service, Power Choice Standard meets minimum state requirements for integrating renewable energy.
Power Choice Green is 12.74 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes. This choice provides 100% green energy, including 20% from renewable energy projects in New England, in addition to the minimum required by the state. You may select Power Choice Green by contacting customer support.
In February 2020, prices will change when the new contract with First Point Power goes into effect. New prices will be as follows:
- Power Choice Standard: 10.929 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes
- Power Choice Green: 13.951 ¢/kWh for all customers/rate classes
How much money will I save? Are savings guaranteed?
Savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed. The program offers long-term pricing while National Grid’s Basic Service prices change every 6 months for residential and commercial accounts and every 3 months for industrial accounts. Future National Grid Basic Service prices are not known. As a result, the program price may not always be below the National Grid’s Basic Service price.
Please note that any savings will apply only to the supplier services portion of your National Grid electric bill. Delivery charges will be unaffected by participation in the Southborough Community Power Choice program.
How long will the program last? What will change after February 2020?
Southborough has signed a contract with Public Power, LLC, which will be in effect from February 2018 meter reads until February 2020 meter reads.
In February 2020, a new contract with First Point Power will go into effect and will guarantee prices until February 2022. All active customers in the program at the time of the transition will be automatically enrolled into the new contract with First Point Power. No action is needed.
What will change if I participate in this program?
You will see two changes as a result of participating in the program:
- On the Supplier Services portion of your National Grid electric bill, you will see Public Power listed instead of Basic Service Fixed.
- The price that National Grid uses to calculate the supplier services piece of your bill will change from National Grid’s Basic Service rate to Southborough’s price.
Otherwise, everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your bill from National Grid, you will continue to pay National Grid, and you will continue to call National Grid when your power goes out.
If you are eligible for any discounts from National Grid, those will be unaffected by your participation in this program.
How do I join the program?
New electricity accounts in Southborough on National Grid’s Basic Service will be automatically enrolled in the program.
If you will not be automatically enrolled and wish to enroll, please contact customer support at 1-833-272-9591 or using the online form.
Before you terminate an existing contract with an electricity supplier, we recommend that you check the terms of your contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.
Do I have to participate?
No. All new National Grid Basic Service customers will be automatically enrolled. But you do not have to participate in the program if you do not want to.
You may opt out online or by contacting customer support.
You may opt out of the program at any time with no penalty or fee.
I have signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Will I be enrolled in the program?
No. If you sign a contract with an electricity supplier immediately after opening your electricity account, you will not automatically be enrolled in the program.
If you would like to participate in the Southborough Community Power Choice program, we recommend that you first check the terms of your existing electricity supply contract. Many include minimum enrollment periods and early termination fees.
To participate in the program, please contact customer support.
Important: If you signed a contract with an electricity supplier and also you received a notification letter in the mail stating that your account will be automatically enrolled in Southborough Community Power Choice, you must opt out of the program to remain in your electricity supply contract. This can happen if the mailing list for the notification letter is put together before you sign the contract. Failure to opt out will likely mean enrollment in Southborough Community Power Choice and could trigger early termination fees from your existing supplier.
Who do I call when the power goes out?
As a participant in Southborough Community Power Choice, National Grid delivers your electricity and maintains the polls and wires. Call National Grid if your power goes out.
Will I receive a second bill?
No. National Grid will continue to bill you for your electricity, and this is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Southborough Community Power Choice.
Will National Grid provide me with a lower quality of service because I participate in this program?
No. National Grid’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in the program. The reason is because National Grid does not profit from the supplier services part of 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 are indifferent to whether they choose your supplier or you choose your supplier.
What if National Grid's price falls below the program price?
The program price is fixed for the length of Southborough’s contract with their chosen electricity supplier. In contrast, National Grid’s prices change every six months or less, depending on what kind of customer you are. As a result, it is very likely that for some months, the program price will be higher than the National Grid price. The program goal will be to beat the average of National Grid’s changing prices over the duration of the electricity supply contract, but savings can never be guaranteed.
You are free to opt out of the program for no penalty or fee. If you choose to opt out, you will be returned to National Grid’s Basic Service.
If you opt out and wish to return to the program, you are not guaranteed the program price and may be charged a market price for the duration of the current contract instead.
I am currently eligible for budget billing / the low-income rate from National Grid. Will this change?
No. If you are eligible for budget billing or for any discounts from National Grid, those will unaffected by your participation in the program.
I have solar panels on my property. If I join the program, 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 from your solar panels will continue to appear on your National Grid bill and will continue to be calculated based on National Grid’s Basic Service price.
Will I be enrolled if I am on National Grid's Do Not Call list?
No. If you have added your name to National Grid’s Do Not Call list, your account will not receive any mailings about the program, and your account will not be automatically enrolled. But you may participate if you wish. To participate, you will need to contact the electricity supplier that the Town selects and ask to be enrolled.
Is Southborough the only community in Massachusetts creating this kind of program?
No. Municipal electricity aggregation has been building momentum across Massachusetts. Nearly 150 communities in Massachusetts have municipal electricity aggregation program’s like Southborough’s.