Frequently Asked Questions

Officially known as municipal aggregation, Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) is a program in Massachusetts that came out of the Restructuring Act of 1997, specifically Chapter 164: Section 134. Aggregation of electrical load by municipality or group of municipalities; adoption of energy plan. The Act empowers cities and towns to create large buying groups of residential and business electricity accounts in order to seek bids for cheaper supply rates, essentially bulk-purchasing. The purpose of the Act was to ensure that the benefits of energy deregulation were passed onto residential customers and businesses by providing the ability to aggregate their accounts within their municipal boundaries in order to obtain competitive bids from Third Party Suppliers (TPS). Grouping residential accounts together create economies of scale, enabling participating municipalities to achieve greater savings for account holders as a whole. You may find more information about the electric industry in the state by visiting the Department of Public Utilities (D.P.U.) website or the Department of Energy Resources website on municipal aggregation.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

The objectives of CEA are simply to provide longer-term price stability, lower electricity supply costs on your electricity bills, and to offer an electricity supply product that contains more renewable energy through the formation of a buying group composed of residents and businesses of one or more municipalities without interfering with the level of service provided by the utility delivering the electricity supply.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

For the Town of Westwood and other communities in Greater Boston, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Inc. (previously Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance) is supplying the local renewable energy above the amount required by state law known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Green Energy Consumers Alliance, a Boston-based nonprofit, purchases renewable energy wholesale mostly from community-based wind power projects located in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Green Energy Consumers Alliance has entered into a number of long-term contracts with wind power projects located in communities such as Gloucester, Ipswich, Plymouth, and Scituate. Here’s a blog post from Green Energy Consumer’s Alliance which better explains renewable energy and renewable energy certificates (REC), the financial instrument by which renewable energy is commoditized.

If you select Westwood Premium 100% Local Green, Green Energy Consumers Alliance is supplying 100% of your Class 1 Renewable Energy Certificates (REC). Green Energy Consumers Alliance explained to the Internal Revenue Service that the environmental benefits of renewable energy are enjoyed by everyone, which is why economists would call renewable energy a “public good”. With that logic, the voluntary purchaser of a REC from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance is able to deduct their REC purchase from their federal income taxes if they itemize charitable contributions on their return. As a result, you will receive a letter from Green Energy Consumers Alliance in January that details the amount spent on the 100% premium which you may deduct.

First, the municipality passes an article at Town Meeting. The municipality then selected Good Energy, L.P., to seek bids from third party suppliers (TPS) to obtain competitive electricity rates for participants. An account holder is then able to opt out from the program during an initial 30-day enrollment period by returning the opt-out letter sent to the account holder by the winning supplier on behalf of the Town, or they may leave the program at any point with no associated termination penalties or fees.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

Westwood joins over 140 Massachusetts municipalities, including Avon, Brookline, Dedham and Quincy,  to take advantage of the state law that allows this type of municipal aggregation. View a list of them here.

The Town of Westwood CCA program is expected to launch in late 2019.

If you are currently receiving your electricity supply from your utility’s Basic Service, you do not need to do anything. You will automatically be enrolled in the program unless you choose to opt out.

The opt-out notification letter provides details about the Town of Westwood Community Electricity Aggregation program. It is sent by the winning supplier for the program, on behalf of the Town of Westwood. By sending the enclosed opt-out card back to the supplier, you will be indicating that you do not wish to participate in the Town of Westwood CEA program. If you do not receive an opt-out letter, this may be because you are already in contract and receiving electricity supply from a third party supplier. If you are not in contract with a third party supplier and believe you should have received the letter, you may download and print the opt-out letter here (TBA). You may also contact the supplier by phone at (XXX) XXX-XXXX (TBA), Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST, or via email at XXX@XXX.com (TBA) to learn more.

The goal of CEA is primarily savings and long term price stability, though savings cannot be guaranteed, due to the fact that there is no visibility into future utility rates. Participants will see no change in their electric utility bill other than a change in price on energy supply. They will continue to receive a single bill, make one payment, and continue to receive the same level of service from their utility.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

Your electricity bill has two cost components – delivery and supply. The aggregation program only changes the supply component of your bill. The delivery portion of your bill will not be affected.

No, you will not be charged a higher delivery rate; delivery rates do not change based on participation in a CEA program. Delivery rates are set by the utility and are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

Yes, your bills will continue to come from your utility.

Each eligible account holder will receive written notification after the bid informing them of the winning supplier price compared to your utility’s rates, in addition to the account holder’s right to opt out. After the 30-day opt-out period has ended and the program has begun, each eligible account holder that did not opt out will see the following indicated on their utility bill:

“As of your next cycle meter read your supplier will be XXXX.”

This is the only notification from your utility confirming participation in the program that account holders will receive.

Enrollment is expected to take place in the winter of 2019. Power flow will be reflected on the following month’s bill.

No, there is no contract to sign. The program is designed to be as easy as possible for participants. Accounts are automatically enrolled as long as they are currently receiving supply from the utility. Regular updates will be posted on the municipality’s website.

The contract term has yet to be determined, but will likely be between 18 and 36 months.

No, there are no changes to your current meter. Your utility continues to read your meter.

No, no deposit is required.

No, residents and businesses can opt out without penalty during a 30-day opt-out period. Opt-out notices will be provided via USPS mail prior to the program commencing. Simply return the opt-out notice within 30 days and your account(s) will not be included. Participating account holders may leave the program at any time and without penalty. You may also opt out of the program here (TBA).

Participating account holders may terminate their participation at any time without any early termination or exit fees. Similarly, they may return to the program at any time with no associated re-enrollment fees but are not guaranteed the original contract rate.

Residential and Small Business accounts that are enrolled in the program may terminate their participation in the program at any time without any early termination or exit fees. They may also re-enroll in the program at a later date with no associated re-enrollment fees, but are not guaranteed the original contract rate. The aggregation program rate will be reflected on the account holder’s utility bill on the next available billing cycle. Because switching suppliers requires at least two days to process by your utility, you are encouraged to re-enroll in the program at least five business days prior to the meter read date indicated on your utility bill in order to ensure re-enrollment occurs on a timely basis.

A Third Party Supplier is a for-profit company that sells electricity supply into the grid which may be purchased by individual electricity customers under contract.

Third party suppliers are currently very active in the Commonwealth. This is due to the recent significant increases in electricity rates for all utilities within Massachusetts. We strongly advise any account holder to read the complete contract fine print and have a clear understanding of any termination penalties, along with rate details, before agreeing to purchase electricity from a third party supplier.

No, unfortunately, you may continue to receive other third party supply offers. It is important, therefore, to remember the details of the aggregation program, i.e., the duration of the program, rate, etc. Due to the length of time commonly associated with these types of programs, participants often forget the program is still in effect, when in fact there may be months or even years remaining. Sometimes this results in a participant inadvertently leaving the program for what they may believe to be a better offer. You are encouraged to remember that the CEA program is operated under the due diligence of the Town and though not impossible, it is unlikely that other offers will be more competitive. Please regularly visit this site and the Town of Westwood’s site(s) for updates.

f you move within the municipal boundaries of the Town, you may preemptively contact the supplier by phone, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX (TBA), or via email at XXX@XXX.com (TBA ) to re-enroll your new account in the aggregation program at the original rate for the duration of the contract term. If you do not preemptively contact the supplier, you will receive an opt-out notification letter which details the program. Simply disregard the opt-out notification letter if you wish to participate in the program. Please note that your first month of service will default to utility Basic Service supply, but will then transition to the Town of Westwood’s program on your next available billing cycle.

Yes, you may continue to participate in a budget billing/equal payment plan.

Please call (800) 592-2000 for all Eversource service and billing questions.

No, the delivery of your electricity is always the responsibility of the utility. As a result of energy deregulation in 1997 in Massachusetts, utilities are only able to collect revenue from delivering the power to your meter, not from the actual supply. This is why utilities in Massachusetts are indifferent to the supply portion of the bill. Simply put, your utility does not make any money on the actual electricity they supply to your account(s). They only generate revenue from the delivery of that electricity.

Yes, any account currently on utility Basic Service that is not enrolled with a third party supplier is eligible and will be automatically enrolled unless they choose to opt out.

There is no guarantee the program rate will always be below the utility Basic Service rate. The aggregation price usually reflects a fixed rate for the full term of the Electric Service Agreement, which may be several years in duration. The Basic Service rate changes every six months for residential and small business & lighting accounts, and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

Only third party suppliers licensed by the state will be eligible to bid. In addition, an in-depth request for proposal will be disseminated by the energy consultant to interested third party suppliers requiring them to provide their qualifications. Among other things, the request requires suppliers to demonstrate financial strength, experience, and customer service capabilities.

No, by law, utilities are not permitted to bid. With regard to supply, the utility only provides default service, however, the utility will always be responsible for delivering your electricity.

Having a solar system which allows you to earn net metering credits does not preclude you from participating in the aggregation program. As long as the account holder is receiving supply from Eversource or National Grid, they are able to participate in the aggregation program and will continue to receive net metering credits from the utility. Net metering will work in the same way as before you joined the CEA program. Your net metering credits will continue to appear on your Eversource or National Grid bill and will continue to be calculated based on the Eversource or National Grid Basic Service price. In addition, there is no change in SREC eligibility or the ability to sell the SRECs. For a more detailed explanation, please click here.

This information will be available once a winning supplier has been selected.

The energy consultant will be responsible for managing all aspects of the program and keeping the Town appropriately informed.

No, the Town of Westwood does not profit from the CEA program.

Various public meetings and information sessions will take place in your area. Please check for announcements from your municipality and local news outlets. You may also call and speak to a Good Energy representative at ().

Good Energy’s due diligence process requires bidding suppliers to meet strict qualification requirements. Among other things, the request requires suppliers to demonstrate financial strength and experience, as well as customer service capabilities. This process minimizes any chance of a supplier going out of business. If the supplier is bought, the purchasing entity will continue to provide supply service under the existing contract terms.

No, the Town does not pay any administrative fees.

In 1997, the State of Massachusetts became the first state to pass municipal electric aggregation legislation, a type of program designed to save consumers money on their electricity bills. In fact, in 1997, the Commonwealth formed the Cape Light Compact, the first municipal electric aggregation program in the country. Six other states have since followed. The programs go by different names in different states, but the bulk-purchasing principles upon which they operate are largely the same. By aggregating, or grouping, a large number of electric accounts together, economies of scale are created, enabling participating municipalities to achieve greater savings for consumers than could normally have been achieved by the individual customer.

Disclaimer: A goal of CEA is to produce savings for customers. Savings, however, cannot be guaranteed compared to your utility’s Basic Service rate which changes every six months for residential and small commercial customers and every three months for large commercial/industrial customers. The CEA program seeks to provide price stability and average savings over the duration of the program, but because future Basic Service rates are not known, there is no guarantee of savings.

Good Energy, L.P. is a leading national energy management and consulting firm that has been implementing large and small CEA programs in various states across the country since 2008. They have partnered with your municipality to design and operate this CEA program. Good Energy is headquartered in New York City and is currently the retained community electricity aggregation consultant for over 200 communities across the country.