Community Choice Energy
What is Community Choice Energy?
Through Community Choice Energy, cities and towns combine the buying power of electricity customers in their communities.
Under this type of program, cities and towns enroll residents who receive default electricity service into a single buying group. They may also require a greater percentage of renewable energy than the mandatory amount set by the state.
The City of Boston is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050.
Carbon neutrality means that Boston can only release as much carbon pollution as our local environment can absorb. To get to carbon neutrality, Boston must run on clean energy. Learn about all the ways that Boston is working to reduce carbon pollution here.
"Green" municipal aggregation is one of several tools Boston can use to buy more clean energy and reduce carbon pollution. This program may also allow Boston residents to:
- stabilize their energy bills, and
- address growing concerns around predatory customer practices in the energy market.
Boston's Community Choice Power Supply Program Aggregation Plan is currently with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).
- voluntary participation
- right to opt out at any time
- equitable treatment for customers in the same class, and
- enrollment and billing processes.
- set prices
- establish the amount or type of carbon free generation which will be included, and
- establish the term of the contract.
Those matters will be determined by the City after the plan is approved. The City is working with a community working group to explore those issues.
The City will follow the steps toward aggregation as laid out by the state. We will work with the state and a consultant to prepare a plan, get community feedback and receive approval to move forward.
The City is also convening a working group to inform the proposed plan and guide how we put it in place. After we are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, the City will be able to start the program.
We’re excited to work with Colonial Power Group and Community Paradigm Associates. They will help us design and roll out our Community Choice Energy program.
Colonial Power Group helps Massachusetts cities and towns launch and manage energy aggregation programs. They’ve brought their expertise to more than 60 municipalities so far.
Community Paradigm Associates specializes in municipal law and process. They will also help us with collaborative decision-making and community engagement.
The City is convening a working group of Boston residents. As we develop the Community Choice Energy program, they will serve as:
- advocates, and
- community leaders.
The group will meet often over the duration of this process. For questions about the working group, please contact the Environment Department.
To guide our decisions around Boston's aggregation program. These principles came from discussions with our working group.
A principal goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We want to support the City’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Socially vulnerable populations are exposed to the greatest risks of:
- increased carbon pollution, and
- the impacts of climate change.
We want to benefit these communities and offer them new economic opportunities. We're committed to represent at-risk populations throughout:
- education, and
Purchases of renewable power will support the development of new renewable energy projects.
We will look to source renewable power from new rather than existing projects. We want to increase the total amount of renewable generation on the regional grid. This is what is meant by additionality.
When buying renewable energy through credits or direct investment, we're staying local. Energy will be sourced, in order of preference, from projects:
- in Boston
- in Massachusetts
- if outside of Massachusetts, within the New England region, and
- then elsewhere, as long as additionality can be demonstrated.
Aggregation products must represent affordable choices. Product pricing should also stay stable over longer periods of time than the utility’s default service.
In Boston, 22 percent of households are severely housing-cost burdened. These households spend 50 percent or more of their income on housing costs. Utility costs are also a big concern for low-income renters. This program aims to help with that burden, not make it worse.
We want to displace for-profit aggregators that target vulnerable residents with deceptive products. These products may offer low introductory rates that are rapidly increased. They may also include undisclosed fees.