Program Implementation Process
Implementing a municipal electricity aggregation like the Worcester Community Choice Aggregation 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 has taken many months to complete because of the time required for the DOER and the DPU to review and approve the Worcester’s implementation plan for the program. Key steps are outlined below.
City Council vote: Worcester had to vote publicly to pursue aggregation.
- The City Council authorized the pursuit of aggregation on June 20, 2017.
Aggregation plan development and public review: The City was required to develop an aggregation plan, a broad authorization document and program template that demonstrated how Worcester would meet regulatory requirements. The plan had to be presented at a public meeting and available for the public to comment on.
- Worcester’s aggregation plan was presented at a public meeting on February 20, 2019.
Regulatory review: The City was required to submit an aggregation plan document to the Massachusetts DOER for review and then to the Massachusetts DPU for approval.
- Worcester’s aggregation plan was reviewed by the DOER on March 12, 2019. The plan was submitted to the DPU on March 15, 2019, and approved on September 30, 2019.
Choosing an electricity supplier and signing an electricity supply contract: Once the State regulatory review process was completed and the aggregation plan received formal approval by the state, the City implemented a public procurement process to select and sign a contract with an electricity supplier. During this process, program details were 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.
- Worcester signed a 34-month contract with Direct Energy on October 22, 2019. The contract term is from the February 2020 meter reads through the December 2022 meter reads.
Public engagement and education: Now that the electricity supply contract has been signed, the City is conducting a 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 currently on National Grid’s Basic Service 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 will launch and electricity accounts will be enrolled as of the February 2020 meter reads. Accounts on 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.