General program information
What is the Sutton Power Choice program?
Sutton Power Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a form of group electricity purchasing.
Typically, your electric utility, National Grid, provides two sets of services to you:
- They deliver your electricity (Massachusetts electric utilities are electricity delivery companies only). Delivery services appear on your electricity bill as delivery charges.
- 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 Sutton Power Choice is.
If you participate in Sutton Power Choice, National Grid delivers your electricity, but Constellation appears on your National Grid bill as your electricity supplier. National Grid will use the Sutton Power Choice price to calculate the supply services charges on your electricity bill instead their own Basic Service price.
The Sutton Power Choice provides an alternative both to National Grid’s Basic Service pricing and to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.
How do I benefit from Sutton Power Choice?
You benefit in four ways:
- Predictability: Sutton has signed a contract with Constellation with fixed rates through January of 2024.
- Choice: The program provides two alternatives to National Grid’s Basic Service and to other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.
- Access to cost-effective cleaner, electricity: You have the option to choose to receive all of your electricity from clean, renewable sources by choosing the Power Choice Green option.
- Transparency: The program is a Town-vetted alternative with no hidden fees or high pressure tactics. You may opt out at any time with no penalty. All program terms are public. Electricity prices are fixed by contract and known in advance.
Someone came to my door/called me about an electricity program. Do they represent National Grid or Sutton Power Choice?
No. If you receive a personal call or visit about your electricity, that person does not represent National Grid, the Town of Sutton, or Sutton Power Choice. Neither National Grid nor the Town is knocking on doors or making individual sales phone calls. Any communication is done by mail and will bear the Town seal or National Grid’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:
- 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 National Grid or the Town of Sutton, 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 Sutton decides it is providing value.
The contract with Constellation runs through January 2024 meter reads. When that contract ends, Sutton 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 National Grid’s Basic Service offering.
Who do I call when the power goes out?
Call National Grid as always. National Grid 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 Sutton 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 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 Sutton 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 Sutton Power Choice.
Do I need to do anything when Sutton is changing to a new electricity supplier or a new electricity supply contract is taking effect?
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.
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, National Grid, is your electricity supplier and also delivers the electricity to you.
With Sutton Power Choice, National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but Sutton 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 (National Grid in Sutton) 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 Sutton Power Choice, 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 until January 2024.
Price, savings, & billing
What will my electricity supply price be if I participate in Sutton Power Choice?
Your price will be determined by which program option you are enrolled in. Sutton Power Choice has two options. Get current program prices.
How much will I save? Are savings guaranteed?
The program has the potential offer a lower price than the average of National Grid’s changing Basic Service prices, but savings cannot be predicted or guaranteed.
Here’s why: The program price is fixed until January 2024, while National Grid’s fixed Basic Service prices change every six months for residential and commercial customers and every three months for industrial customers. Their future prices are not known. As a result, the Sutton Power Choice price may not always be below National Grid’s current or average price.
Will I receive a second electricity bill?
No. National Grid will continue to bill you for your electricity. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Sutton Power Choice. The program is integrated into your existing electricity bill.
Visit the Understand your bill page to see how the program will appear on your National Grid bill.
What if the National Grid price falls below the Sutton Power Choice price?
National Grid’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, National Grid’s Basic Service price will fall below the program price. Typically, this happens during the summer months, but it could happen anytime.
Program participation is often best viewed as a longer-term effort. However, if you ever wish to leave the program, you are free to opt out of the program and return to National Grid’s Basic Service with no penalty or fee.
I have solar panels on my property. If I join Sutton 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 National Grid bill and will continue to be calculated based on National Grid’s Basic Service price.
Where do I see Sutton Power Choice on my electricity bill?
Sutton Power Choice appears on your electricity bill in just two places:
- On the supplier services portion of your National Grid electricity bill, you will see Sutton’s electricity supplier listed as your electricity supplier instead of National Grid’s Basic Service.
- The price that National Grid uses to calculate your supply charges will be the Sutton Power Choice price instead of their own Basic Service price.
Visit the Understand your bill page to see how the program will appear on your National Grid bill.
Everything else will remain the same. You will continue to receive your bill from National Grid, pay National Grid, and call National Grid when your power goes out.
The program provides a stable electricity supply price. Why is that important?
The Sutton 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 National Grid’s Basic Service. When National Grid 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 commercial customers, and every 3 months for 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.
How do I know if I'm enrolled in the program and which option I'm enrolled in?
Check your most recently electricity bill. If you are enrolled in Sutton 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 services portion of your bill. Compare it to the Sutton Power Choice prices. Remember that your bill presents your supply price in dollars per kWh, while most other resources, including the National Grid website and this website, will typically provide your program price in cents per kWh.
Who is eligible to participate in Sutton Power Choice?
All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Sutton are eligible to participate. All new National Grid Basic Service customers in Sutton 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 National Grid’s Basic Service.
You may opt out at any time online or by contacting customer support.
How do I change from one program option to another?
How do I participate in Sutton Power Choice?
If you open a new electricity account in Sutton with National Grid, you do not need to do anything to participate in Sutton Power Choice. All National Grid Basic Service customers will be automatically enrolled in the program within a few months of opening the account. You will receive a notification letter in the mail prior to being enrolled, and you will be able to opt out of the program before enrollment if you wish.
If you have an existing electricity account and wish to enroll in the program, you may enroll online or by contacting customer support with Sutton’s program consultants. Before enrolling, we recommend that you check your supplier agreement carefully for minimum contract length or early termination penalties.
I currently have National Grid's budget billing. Will this change?
No. You will continue to receive budget billing as a participant in Sutton Power Choice.
I'm eligible for a low-income discount from National Grid. Will this change?
No. You will continue to receive your low-income discount as a participant in Sutton Power Choice.
What's the difference between National Grid and an electricity supplier?
An electric utility like 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 National Grid, or it can be a third-party company. If your supplier is a third-party company, it does not replace National Grid as your electric utility.
- When your utility is also your electricity supplier (i.e., when you have National Grid’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 Sutton Power Choice, the Town of Sutton chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf. Sutton has signed a contract with Constellation to supply electricity to the Town. Constellation will appear on your electricity bill as your electricity supplier, and National Grid will use the Sutton Power Choice price to calculate the supplier services charges on your bill.
Will I receive a lower quality of service from National Grid if I participate in Sutton Power Choice?
No. The quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Sutton Power Choice. The reason is because National Grid does not profit from the supplier services charges on your electric bill. They pass those 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 supplier or Sutton does.
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 Power Choice Green and receive 100% renewable electricity from New England?
When you choose Power Choice Green option, 100% of your electricity will be generated by clean, renewable sources from New England, like the sun and the wind.
Generating electricity using renewable energy sources like the sun and the wind does not create air pollution, and it does not emit the gases that cause climate change.
Purchasing all of your electricity from renewable energy projects in New England creates a stronger market for locally produced renewable electricity and helps to drive the development of new renewable energy projects in New England. It also supports the local jobs that go with those projects.