Rhode Island has one of the country’s largest aggregations of municipal facility accounts, which has provided member cities and towns with electricity savings of more than $30M since 1999. CCA was enabled in Rhode Island through the Utility Restructuring Act of 1997, which was later amended in 2003.
The Rhode Island Energy Aggregation Program–REAP–is operated by the Rhode Island League of Cities & Towns and serves 37 of Rhode Island’s 39 municipalities and 4 school districts by negotiating rates lower than the state’s Standard Offer or Basic Service rate. REAP negotiates a master contract (currently with Direct Energy through 2014) including terms and conditions; but each municipality enters into its own contract based on its load profile. REAP has increased members’ buying power and the percentage of renewable power through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). Although Rhode Island’s CCA statute allows for residential and business aggregation, several statutory provisions have discouraged expansion into the residential and small business markets. The most onerous of these provisions is the requirement to run a public referendum on whether the program is to be opt-in or opt-out, and disclosure of precise pricing in advance of the aggregation. The latter provision is impractical if not infeasible given that pricing is subject to change up to the point of contract signing. Rhode Island is ripe for a legislative amendment.
RHODE ISLAND CCA FAST FACTS (updated October, 2013)
- Total annual power load facilitated by REAP for its municipalities: 236MW
- Average contract price in Fall, 2011: 6.1-7.2 cents/kwh; average price in 2013: 5.6 cents/kwh
- Current State renewable portfolio standard: 4.5%, rising to 16% by 2019.
- Percentage of renewable power chosen in 2012 by eleven REAP members: 5-10%
- Percentage of Northeastern hydropower, biomass, and landfill gas resources associated with those RECs: 9%, 43%, and 46%, respectively
- Percentage increase in Rhode Island’s energy efficiency spending between 2004 and 2011: 68%
- Year that Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee signed into law the decoupling of utility profits from utility sales volume to remove disincentives to energy efficiency and demand reduction measures: 2010