Mass. Department of Public Utilities approves City's Community Choice Electricity program
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to move forward with its Community Choice Electricity program. The program will allow the City to buy electricity on behalf of residents and businesses. By combining its buying power, the City will be able to provide affordable and renewable electricity to those who participate in the program.
Under the program, Eversource (the local utility) will continue to deliver electricity to residents over their power lines. They will also continue to provide customer service and billing. Participation in the program would only change residents' electric supply.
"Community Choice Energy will help Boston deliver electricity in a way that is safe, affordable, and convenient for all residents," said Mayor Walsh. "As we continue our work to achieve carbon neutrality in Boston by 2050, creating affordable energy options represents Boston's commitment to equity in all our environmental goals."
The program is guided by six principles. The principles listed below were created in collaboration with a working group of Boston residents, advocates, and local leaders:
- Reduce carbon emissions;
- Prioritize local renewable energy projects;
- Prioritize new renewable energy projects;
- Provide affordable and stable electric rates;
- Deliver benefits and economic opportunities to environmental justice communities;
- Strengthen consumer protection around electricity supply.
The defining feature of Community Choice Electricity is its size and buying power. The City will be able to secure a power supply that meets its goals for the future by combining the buying power of thousands of residents and businesses.
"Community is the key word in this program," said Chris Cook, Chief of the Mayor's Office of Environment, Energy, and Open Space. "I want to thank all of the advocates and organizations who helped the City advance Community Choice Electricity. I look forward to continuing this work towards a carbon free Boston."
The City of Boston submitted its plan for the program to the Department of Public Utilities on June 20, 2019. With the conclusion of the regulatory review process, the City will now develop the electric supply offerings that will be available to residents through the program.
The City of Boston is on schedule to launch Community Choice Electricity in early 2021. Community Choice Electricity is an opt-out program. This means that Eversource Basic Service customers will be enrolled in the program unless they actively choose not to be enrolled. Before the program launches, residents will be given a period within which they can choose to opt out. Although the program cannot guarantee cost savings, the City of Boston is committed to working towards affordable and stable electric rates.
"As Chair of the Boston City Council's Committee on Environment, Resiliency, and Parks, I am happy to see Community Choice Electricity move forward in the City of Boston," said City Councilor Matt O'Malley. "This program will benefit all of Boston's residents and help in our efforts to reach carbon neutrality in the near future."
"As youth leaders and Boston residents, we care deeply about how climate change will impact our city," said Rachel Gunther, Associate Director of Youth on Board, who helped with the program goals. "We are actively working to help other young people understand how private, for-profit electric companies negatively impact our communities, and the alternative that Community Choice Electricity presents. Participating in the Community Choice Electricity working group has been an enriching learning experience and we are excited to see the program move closer to providing access to green energy for all Boston residents."
For more information on the City of Boston's Community Choice Electricity program, visit Boston.gov/community-choice-electricity.