Council votes to authorize Community Choice Energy
One hundred twenty-seven cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth have adopted some form of Community Choice Energy. This week, on October 4, 2017, the Council voted unanimously to pass an order authorizing the City of Boston to do the same.
The Massachusetts Restructuring Act of 1997 established Community Choice Energy, authorizing municipal governments to use bulk purchasing power to set an alternative electricity contract on behalf of residents and small businesses, including the ability to specify a higher level of renewable energy sourcing than required by state law.
Studies have shown that Boston can increase its renewable energy source for electricity up to 6% without an increase in the rate payer – the order that passed called for a rate increase of 5%. Councilor O’Malley stated that, “Eversource will still deliver electricity, fix outages, and send residents bills. Ratepayers will not have to deal directly with the alternative supplier.”
On April 25, 2017, the City Council held a working session that demonstrated public demand to explore Community Choice Energy in Boston for its potential to increase the demand for renewables and strengthen consumer protection, transparency in energy consumption, and stability in the energy market.
October 3, 2017, a hearing was held for councilors to gain insight from the administration and listen to public testimony. Residents of Boston filled the Winter Chamber at 26 Court Street and waited in line to offer their views on Community Choice Energy.
At this week’s Council Meeting, Councilor O’Malley stated, "Sound environmental policy is good for the planet, good for green job creation, and good for the rate payer. It doesn't get much better than that.”
The municipal aggregation initiative, like its suburban counterparts, would eventually place residents and small businesses into an electricity plan that relies on more renewable energy than the amount that utilities must buy to meet state mandates.
Councilor Wu stated, "This is the single largest action that the City Council could take to immediately and dramatically increase our renewable energy sourcing in Boston."