Program Implementation Process
Implementing a municipal electricity aggregation program like Watertown Electricity 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 Council vote: The Town must vote publicly to pursue aggregation.
- The Watertown Town Council voted to pursue municipal electricity aggregation on 9/26/17.
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 the Town will meet regulatory requirements.
- Watertown’s aggregation plan was reviewed by DOER on 5/30/18.
Town program planning and initial public engagement: At the same time as the regulatory review, the Town can begin its public engagement process to build awareness about the program.
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 and pricing will be finalized.
Public engagement and education: Now that program specifics have been determined and are available, the Town conducts a focused public engagement effort to inform the community about the program and the ability to opt out. This effort includes the mailing of 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 public engagement effort, the program launches.
The Town is targeting early 2019 for program launch, depending on the duration of the State regulatory review and approval process.