Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Swampscott Community Power program?

National Grid is responsible for electricity delivery in Swampscott. In addition, National Grid typically chooses your electricity supplier and passes the cost of the electricity itself, known as electricity supply, along to you. This is called Basic Service.

The Swampscott Community Power program is an alternative to National Grid’s Basic Service called electricity aggregation. Electricity aggregation is form of group purchasing in which the Town selects an electricity supplier on behalf of Swampscott residents and businesses, determines the amount of renewable electricity in the Town’s electricity supply, and determines the price that is used to calculate the supply services charges on participants’ National Grid electricity bills.

However, National Grid delivers electricity to Swampscott and handles all electricity billing and power outages..

What will my electricity supply price be?

Your price depends on which program option you participate in. The program offers three options:

  • Standard Green includes 100% renewable electricity, including 5% from renewable energy projects in New England (MA Class I RECs) in addition to the minimum amount required by the state. Standard Green is the default program option. All new National Grid electricity accounts are enrolled in Standard Green unless they choose another option or opt out.
  • New England Green includes 100% renewable electricity, all from renewable electricity projects in New England (MA Class I RECs).
  • Basic meets minimum Massachusetts renewable energy requirements, like National Grid Basic Service.

See the Options & Pricing page for current program prices.

Why is it important to have a stable electricity supply price?

Having a stable price for the supply part of your National Grid 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, the price that is used to calculate the supply charges on your National Grid bill changes every 6 months for residential and other small customers, and it changes more frequently for larger commercial customers.

Having a stable price for the supply part of your National Grid electricity bill 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.

The Swampscott Community Power price is fixed from July 2019 – November 2021. When the town signs a new contract and the price changes, the Town will announce the new price publicly before it takes effect.

What is the difference between National Grid and an electricity supplier?

National Grid is Swampscott’s electric utility. They are your electricity delivery company. That means National Grid is responsible for delivering electricity to you, for maintaining the poles and wires, and for addressing power outages. National Grid charges you for these services on the delivery services portion of your electricity bill.

An electricity supplier is a company that buys electricity for you from electricity generators or from electricity brokers. When you have National Grid’s Basic Service, National Grid is also your electricity supplier, meaning they are buying your electricity in addition to delivering it. National Grid does not generate electricity.

  • For most electricity customers, their utility is also their electricity supplier. When they are your supplier (i.e., when you are on National Grid’s Basic Service), your electricity bill will indicate that is the case.
  • You may also choose your own electricity supplier. If you do, the name of that company will appear on your National Grid bill as your electricity supplier, and the rate you negotiated with them will be used to calculate the supply services charges on your bill.
  • In Swampcott Community Power, the Town chooses an electricity supplier on your behalf. Swampscott has signed a contract with Direct Energy to supply electricity to the Town. Direct Energy will appear on your National Grid bill as your electricity supplier, and the rate the Town has secured from with them will be used to calculate the supply services charges on your bill.
Does this program replace National Grid as my electric utility?

No. National Grid is the electric utility for Swampscott and will continue to deliver your electricity, and your primary relationship for electricity will remain with National Grid.

Swampscott Community Power will change the supplier on your National Grid bill to Direct Energy, and it will change the rate that is used to calculate the supply services charges on your National Grid electricity bill. But your bill will continue to come from National Grid, and National Grid will continue to be your electric utility.

What will my electricity supply price be if I participate?

Your price depends on which program option you participate in. See the Options & Pricing page for current program options and prices.

How long will the program last?

The aggregation will last as long as Swampscott wishes it to. The individual contracts that Swampscott signs with electricity suppliers are of varying lengths. When the current contract ends, Swampscott can establish a new contract for electricity supply, or it can end the program and return participants to National Grid’s Basic Service.

What changes with this program?

After program enrollment, you will see two changes on your National Grid electric bill:

  • Your electricity supply price will change to the program price.
  • You will see the Town’s supplier listed instead of Basic Service on the supply services portion of your bill.

Everything else will remain the same. You will receive your bill from National Grid, you will pay National Grid, and you will call National Grid when your power goes out.

Who is eligible to participate?

All metered electricity customers within the geographic boundaries of Swampscott are eligible to participate. All new electricity accounts in Swampscott are automatically enrolled shortly after they establish an electricity account with National Grid, unless they choose to opt out of the program.

I have signed my own contract with an electricity supplier. Will I be enrolled in the program?

If you sign a contract with an electricity supplier before being enrolled in the program, you will not automatically be enrolled in Swampscott Community Power.

However, you are welcome to participate.

If you would like 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. After checking, if you wish to join the program, please contact customer support.

Do I have to participate?

No. You may choose not to participate. 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 continue with or be returned to National Grid’s Basic Service.

You may opt opt out anytime.

My account is tax exempt with National Grid. How do I maintain my tax exempt status within the Swampscott Community Power program?

Tax exempt accounts that wish to maintain their tax exempt status in the Swampscott Community Power program must submit tax exemption documentation to the program’s electricity supplier.

This means that tax exemption documentation must be submitted each time the program’s electricity supplier changes.

The program’s electricity supplier is required by the State of Massachusetts to have valid tax exemption documentation on hand for all tax exempt accounts.

You may have submitted tax exemption documentation to National Grid already, but National Grid does not share this documentation with the program’s electricity supplier. It is the customer’s responsibility to submit this documentation.

Get information on where to send your tax-exemption documentation.

 

What if National Grid's Basic Service price falls below the Swampscott Community Power price?

This is likely to happen during some months. The reason is because the program prices are long-term, fixed prices, but National Grid’s Basic Service prices change every 6 months for residential and commercial accounts and every 3 months for industrial accounts. Future prices are not known. As a result, savings compared with National Grid’s Basic Service price are not guaranteed. However, you are free to opt out of the program and return to Basic Service at any time with no fee or penalty.

Someone came to my door/called me about an electricity program? Is that the Town program?
Swampscott is not knocking on doors or making individual sales phone calls for the Community Power program. Eligible customers will be automatically enrolled.

If you receive a call, here are three things to keep in mind:

  • The company you are speaking with is not associated with Swampscott’s Community Power program.
  • You should treat your National Grid 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.
Who do I call when the power goes out?

Call National Grid if your power goes out. National Grid will deliver your electricity and maintain the poles and wires.

Will I receive a second bill?

No. National Grid will bill you for your electricity. This is the only electricity bill you will receive as a participant in Swampscott Community Power.

Will I receive a lower quality of service from National Grid if I participate in this program?

No. National Grid’s quality of service to you will be unaffected by your participation in Swampscott Community Power. The reason is because National Grid does 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 distribution charges. As a result, they have no preference whether they are your supplier or Swampscott chooses a supplier for you.

I am currently under National Grid budget billing/eligible for the low-income delivery rate. Will this change?

If you participate in budget billing or are eligible for any discounts from National Grid, those will be unaffected by your participation in Swampscott Community Power.

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.