City of Pittsfield Community Choice Power Supply Program
The City of Pittsfield began exploring the Pittsfield Community Choice Power Supply Program in 2015 to bring the benefits of renewable energy and electricity choice to its residents and businesses. Pittsfield Community Choice Power Supply supports local renewable energy projects and maximizes consumer protections, all at a price at or below the average price of Basic Service power from the utility. The program is part of Pittsfield’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability. NextEra Energy Services has been selected as the supplier for the Community Choice Power Supply Program.
This Program - generally called municipal aggregation - enables local governments to combine the purchasing power of its residents and businesses to provide them with an alternative to Eversource Basic Service (M.G.L. c. 164, § 134). The program, set to take effect on January 1, 2018, offers residents and small businesses on local electricity utility Eversource's Basic Service rate 25% more solar electricity. NextEra Energy Services has been selected as the supplier for the Community Choice Power Supply Program.
This Program only affects the supply portion of your monthly bill. It will not affect the delivery portion of your monthly bill. Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity but Pittsfield has chosen the supplier for the Program. NextEra will provideelectric power supply for all consumers currently on Basic Service in Pittsfield.
The Green Commission of the City of Pittsfield held a public hearing on January 11, 2016 to receive comments on the City's draft community choice power supply aggregation plan, which was formally approved by the MA Department of Public Utilities on November 14, 2016. The City will hold additional public meetings in December 2017 to educate Basic Service Customers about what the Pittsfield Community Choice Power Supply Program will mean to them.
THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE IN THE MAIL containing all of the information you will need to know about the program.
YOU WILL NOT NOTICE ANY CHANGE IN YOUR ELECTRICITY SERVICE. The only difference you will see is that NextEra will be printed under the “Supplier Services” section of your monthly bill. You will continue to receive one bill from Eversource. You will continue to send your payments to Eversource for processing. Eversource will continue to respond to emergencies, read meters and maintain the distribution and transmission lines. Reliability and quality of service will remain the same. Furthermore, you will continue to have all existing consumer rights and protections.
Public Informational Sessions
Thursday, November 30 at 1:30 pm at the Ralp Froio Senior Center
Wednesday, December 6 at 6:00 pm at the Berkshire Athenaeum
Read a full description of the DPU-required Aggregation Plan (replace draft with final)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
YOU WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED IN THIS PROGRAM unless you choose not to participate and opt-out.
At Program launch, the Residential, Small C&I and Streetlight aggregation rate is lower than Eversource’s Basic Service rate. However, THIS DOES NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE SAVINGS. The aggregation rate is fixed for 36 months (January 2018 to January 2021) while Eversource’s Basic Service rate changes twice a year, in January and July. As a result, the aggregation rate may not always be lower than Eversource’s Basic Service rate. The goal of the aggregation is to deliver savings over the life of the Program against Eversource’s Basic Service rate.
There is NO PENALTY CHARGE TO OPT-OUT of the Program and return to Eversource Basic Service.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN MAILED A NOTIFICATION you do not need to take any action to participate in the Program.
ALL BASIC SERVICE CONSUMERS who have been mailed a notification will be AUTOMATICALLY enrolled in the Program and start benefiting from the aggregation rate beginning on the day of the month in January 2018 that your meter is read. This date varies by service area. Your meter reading date is shown on your bill.
WATCH YOUR EVERSOURCE BILL FOR FURTHER NOTIFICATION of the Program. Your February 2018 bill will show Pittsfield’s supplier and aggregation rate under “Supplier Services”.
BUDGET PLAN OR ELIGIBLE LOW-INCOME DELIVERY RATE CONSUMERS will continue to receive those benefits from Eversource.
SOLAR PANEL CONSUMERS will continue to receive their net metering credits while benefiting from the aggregation rate.
TAX EXEMPT SMALL BUSINESS CONSUMERS must send or email a copy of their Energy Exemption Certificate directly to NextEra Energy, Attn: CAM Team – Tax Exempt Certificates at 20455 State Highway 249, Houston, TX 77070 or email Taxinbox@gexaenergy.com (email) in order to maintain their tax exempt status.
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN A COMPETITIVE SUPPLIER ON YOUR OWN you must opt-out of this Program. This will ensure you continue to get your electricity from that Competitive Supplier.
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN A GREEN POWER SUPPLY OPTION ON YOUR OWN you must opt-out of this Program. This will ensure you continue to get your electricity from that Green Power Supply.
IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROGRAM you may: 1) Opt-out and continue paying Eversource’s Basic Service rate; or 2) Opt-out and choose your own Competitive Supplier (if one is available to you).
HOW TO OPT-OUT
•Sign and return the opt-out card that you receive in the mail in the postage paid envelope provided;
•Visit www.colonialpowergroup.com/pittsfield/ and click the opt-out button, then fill out and submit the Opt-Out Form;
•Call NextEra at (855) 639-8134 and ask to remain on Eversource Basic Service.
ANY TIME AFTER ENROLLMENT you can still opt-out with NO PENALTY CHARGE. It may take a couple of billing cycles before you are back on Eversource Basic Service. If you choose to opt-out after the initial enrollment, you may submit an Opt-Out form at www.colonialpowergroup.com/pittsfield/ OR call NextEra at (855) 639-8134 and ask to be placed on Eversource Basic Service.
FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION regarding Pittsfield’s Program, please visit www.colonialpowergroup.com/pittsfield/ or call us toll-free at (866) 485-5858 ext. 1. To learn more about NextEra, please visit www.nexteraenergyservices.com
TO ACCESS EVERSOURCE’S BASIC SERVICE RATES please visit:
ABOUT COMPETETIVE SUPPLY
It is possible to choose a competitive electricity supplier to deliver your electricity, but the terms and conditions of cancellation depend on the contract you sign with the competitive supplier. Eversource owns the power lines that delver electricity to your house so they remain your distribution company and continue to bill you. You will simply notice a different supplier (and supply price) on your bill.
Learn more about how competitive supply works on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website here, and also see this informational document.
If you choose to seek electricity supply from another vendor, we advise residents to thoroughly educate themselves about a competitive supplier before signing a contract.
Many competitive suppliers claim to include renewable energy as part of their energy mix. However, these claims may not always be taken at face value. Often, competitive suppliers can offer a lower rate because they are producing electricity more cheaply, but using a dirtier fuel like coal, and then mixing it with inexpensive renewables like Midwest wind energy. Other suppliers promise renewable energy, but may deliver energy that you might not consider renewable, like biomass. Other suppliers provide renewable electricity through RECs (renewable energy certificates and there is some controversy about whether REC's actually increase the amount of renewables on the grid because, in some areas of the country, wind farms are inexpensive to build and many argue they would be built regardless of RECs. If you are interested in supporting renewable energy generation, see the Mass Energy FAQs.
As with all consumer products, you should read contracts carefully. Some rates are month-to-month variable, while other rates are fixed for 6 to 12 months. Often a fixed rate reverts to variable rate after six (6) months unless you sign a new fixed rate contract and companies do not have to notify you that the fixed rate term is ending.
The cheapest and most effective way to save money on your utility bills is to invest in energy efficiency, either on your own or using the Mass Save program.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on the Pittsfield Community Choice Power Supply Program, please contact Colonial Power at www.colonialpowergroup.com/pittsfield or call toll-free at (866) 485-5858 ext. 1