Community Choice Electricity
What is Community Choice Electricity?
Community Choice Electricity is a municipal program that buys electricity on behalf of Boston’s residents and businesses. By combining our collective buying power, the City of Boston is able to provide affordable and renewable electricity to the program’s customers. You must be a resident, organization, or company based in Boston to participate in the program.
The program allows for energy decisions to be made at the local level, instead of by a company or utility. This means Bostonians will have greater control over their energy future. It’s one of the key strategies the City is implementing to meet its economic and environmental goals.
Community Choice Electricity belongs to a family of programs referred to as municipal aggregation programs. There are currently around 150 such programs throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston’s program will be the largest in the entire state.
The program will officially launch in February 2021.
The Community Choice Electricity program is an opt-out program. This means that customers who are on Eversource Basic Service will be automatically enrolled in the program unless they choose to “opt-out.”
From December 4, 2020, through January 11, 2021, there will be an opt-out period. During this period, customers who do not want to participate in the program can choose to opt-out by signing and returning the postage paid opt-out card that they will receive via U.S. Mail. If a customer takes no action — if they do NOT return the opt-out card — they will automatically be enrolled. Please note, customers can opt-out or opt-in to the program at any time without penalty. You are NOT signing a contract by participating in Community Choice Electricity.
As a customer of the program, Eversource will continue to deliver your electricity, maintain the grid, and provide customer service and billing. Participation in the program would only change the electric supply portion of your bill. Your bill would approximately look like what's shown to the right:
The program will offer its customers three products. The products differ in terms of their electric rate and the amount of renewable electricity they offer. The products are:
Customers who are automatically enrolled in the program are placed on the default Standard Product. Customers may opt-in to either of the two optional Program products by submitting an OPT-IN form. Customers can use the same form to OPT-OUT of the program altogether if they so choose.
The “Optional Basic” Product will cost less than the Standard Product. It will also provide customers with the lower, state-mandated level of renewable electricity. The “Optional Green 100” Product will cost more than the Standard Product. It will provide customers with 100 percent renewable electricity.
Compare the cost of the program's three products against one another, or compare these products against Eversource’s Basic Service rates, using our calculator:
The City of Boston has selected Constellation NewEnergy, Inc. (“Constellation”) as the electricity supplier for the program and its customers. The rates shown in this section are for the period of FEBRUARY 2021 — NOVEMBER 2021. After this period, new rates will be set. The program may or may not select the same electricity supplier.
Eversource offers residents a default electric supply option called Basic Service. You can find Eversource's rates on the Eversource website. The Community Choice Electricity program aims to offer a Standard Product with a rate below the Basic Service rate. However, because Eversource Basic Service rates change twice a year or more, this may not always be possible. While the program will strive to deliver cost savings to customers, such savings cannot be guaranteed.
The Program has six principles that guide the Program. The principles are to:
- strengthen consumer protection
- offer affordable and stable electric rates
- reduce carbon emissions
- increase the share of renewable energy on the grid
- support local renewable energy, and
- commit to environmental justice.
These principles were developed in coordination with a Working Group. This Working Group includes local experts and advocates, community leaders, and residents. They have met since December 2018 and have helped shape the design and implementation of the Community Choice Electricity Program.
Some residents have signed contracts with for-profit companies called competitive electric suppliers. Competitive electric suppliers sell electricity directly to residential customers. Signing these contracts can carry certain risks. The program will offer residents an alternative option for their electric supply that avoids these risks. Learn more about the issues with competitive electric suppliers.
We intend to set low-cost electric rates that remain fixed over long periods of time. More affordable and consistent rates should help residents plan their monthly household budgets.
The City of Boston is committed to reducing carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The Program supports this vision through its focus on renewable electricity. Learn about the ways that Boston is working toward carbon neutrality.
Community Choice Electricity works to increase the amount of renewable energy on the regional grid. The program purchases renewable electricity for its customers to support and incentivize the development of new renewable energy projects.
When buying renewable electricity for the Program, we strive to stay local. Listed in order of preference, the program will prioritize renewable sources from:
- Within New England
Initially, the Program's Standard Product will include 10% more renewable energy content than is currently required by statute. This additional 10% will be entirely met through the purchase of MA Class I RECs from non-emitting sources — the "gold standard" for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
We recognize that socially vulnerable communities are disproportionately harmed by pollution and climate change. The program aims to deliver benefits and economic opportunities to these communities. We are also committed to the representation of socially vulnerable communities as we plan and roll out the program.
Working Toward Carbon Neutrality
The Community Choice Electricity (CCE) program works to achieve Mayor Walsh’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Carbon neutrality means that in 30 years, our community can only release as much carbon pollution as our environment can safely absorb. CCE is a key milestone in the Climate Action Plan, which outlines 18 strategies to work together to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Community Choice Electricity will build off the work of the 2019 Climate Action Update. The five-year plan focuses on reducing emissions in buildings and transportation. This program is a critical step toward making our energy supply cleaner and more resilient.
Frequently Asked QuestionsCommon questions
Electricity customers who have chosen to receive electricity from an electric supplier other than Eversource will NOT be automatically enrolled in the program. Those customers may choose to:
- immediately end their current electric supply contract (IMPORTANT: early contract termination fees may apply), or
- wait until their contract ends and then opt into the program.
Your residential assistance discount will NOT change as a result of the Community Choice Electricity Program. If you receive a residential assistance discount, you will continue to do so under the Program.
If you are currently on a budget billing plan with Eversource, you will be able to stay on that plan under the Community Choice Electricity Program.
Do you have solar panels on your residence or business or participate in a community solar program? You may currently benefit from net metering/on-bill credits. If you participate in the Community Choice Electricity program, you will continue to benefit from the net metering (and on-bill credits) that you currently receive from Eversource.
If during a billing period you generate more electricity than you use, Eversource will calculate a net metering credit at the Basic Service rate on the amount of excess electricity exported to the grid. This credit, located in the delivery portion of your bill, is calculated exactly the same way, whether you are part of the Program or not.
If during a billing period you generate less electricity than you use, you will only pay for the net electricity that you draw from the grid. You will be charged at the Program rate rather than the Basic Service rate on the supply portion of your bill.
The Community Choice Electricity program will not affect your participation with green power supply options.
Green power supply options allow for concurrent enrollment with Basic Service or competitive supply. This includes municipal aggregation programs like Boston Community Choice Electricity.