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MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci signed the nation’s first community choice legislation in 1997.  Massachusetts is also home to the country’s oldest municipal energy aggregator (MEA or CEA), Cape Light Compact, which also launched in 1997. As of March, 2023, the state has approved 176 MEAs, which represents almost half of the state's municipalities. 
176
communities with Local CCA Authorization
144
active CCA communities
32
inactive CCA communities
7,012,000
MWh of annual load (2022)
41%
statewide population participants
1,130,000
total customer
accounts
6 to 42
-month electricity
supply contracts

Use this interactive map to explore CCA communities across Massachusetts.

Use your mouse to zoom in, click on flags for more information.

HISTORY

In late 1994 State Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Energy, introduced a Competitive Franchise bill (S.447, 1995) to allow local governments to create “Consumer Service Districts” that would procure electricity for their residents using a competitive bidding process.  His bill was based on concepts that were the brainchild of CCA pioneer Paul Fenn.  After nearly three years of debate and revision, the Utility Restructuring Act of 1997 was signed into law. Commonwealth law prohibits a profit mark-up on the energy supply portion of utility services. As a result, Massachusetts electric utilities have not opposed CCA formation.

CCAs in Massachusetts are initiated by municipal elected bodies.  Aggregation programs must be developed in consultation with the Department of Energy Resources and approved by the Department of Public Utilities.  As in other states outside California, most of the Commonwealth’s aggregators focus on rate savings rather than environmental benefits, although that is changing. Currently, Massachusetts is very active in the CCA space. The general perception is most new municipal aggregators are opting to be green aggregators, exceeding the state RPS by at least 5% through the use of Class 1 renewable energy credits. Most programs also offer a 100% renewable option at a small price premium.

The average electricity rates in Massachusetts over the past few years (shown in chart below) are evidence that CCA programs ensure higher rate stability in comparison to default utilities, and price stability.

FAST FACTS
  • In April, 2024, the state senate passed S.2738 which would ban individual residential electric choice. "Beginning on January 1, 2025, no supplier, energy marketer or energy broker shall execute a new contract or renew an existing contract for generation services with any individual residential retail customer. This section shall not apply to, or otherwise affect, any government body that aggregates the load of residential retail customers as part of a municipal load aggregation program pursuant to section 134." The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) is opposed to the bill and is backing a proposed House bill which would allow suppliers that serve individual residents to continue, but with stricter rules on marketing, sales and enrollment processes.

  • Published in March, 2023, a study by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Sustainable Policy Lab finds community choice energy aggregation programs have reduced costs, increased sustainability. Most notable study results include 80% of municipalities with CCA programs achieved reduced rates; 89% of municipalities with contracts exceeding state renewable energy level requirements achieved savings of approximately $33,500,000 per year. Access to the full study can be found HERE.

  • Despite over 170 communities with local CCA authorization, there has been a large backlog with the DPU in reviewing and approving new or updated programs; as of October, 2023, 19 communities have been waiting, some for over 2 years. A  bill (HB 4266) introduced in April, 2023 from Rep. Tommy Vitolo of Brookline and Sen. Jason Lewis of Winchester will set a 90 day deadline for the DPU to review and plan amendments. Additionally, on August 15, 2023, DPU order (Docket 23-67) includes proposed guidelines and a draft template to help municipalities develop new aggregation plans. The DPU is proposing to expedite its review process for certain municipalities that use the template.

  • A bill introduced in early 2023 sponsored by Senator Crighton and Representative Moran: SD648 / HD3214,  An Act relative to electric ratepayer protections would ban third party power suppliers from signing up new individual residential customers in Massachusetts. According to a report out in May, 2023 authored by Attorney General, Andrea Campbell, shows that over a six year period, (from July 2015 to June 2021), consumers paid $525 million more than if they had received supply from their utility, and that the approximately 430,000 residential customers who are enrolled with third party suppliers lose an average of $231 per year. Evidence also shows low-income customers and people of color are more likely to be pulled in to these programs than the overall population.

  • Rising electricity prices due to several factors are affecting Massachusetts residents and businesses, much the same as everyone across the country. For those communities that have Community Choice Energy programs with energy contracts extending into late 2023 and early 2024, they will be protected by the rise in winter rates from the state's IOUs. For example, Medford's program will be about half the price of National Grid's winter price, which went into effect on November 1, 2022. See article HERE

  • "MA Class I RECS" is the State of Massachusetts’ term for new, local renewable energy. The renewable energy can come from wind, solar, landfill gas, low impact hydroelectric and anaerobic digestion, other biomass and marine. Additionally, it must have started operation after 1997 and be located within New England, New York or Eastern Canada.

  • Boston's long-awaited CCE program launched in February, 2021, and residents are automatically enrolled unless they opt out. Constellation New Energy offers three rates for consumers: Optional Basic, Standard and Optional Green 100, ranging from $0.10959 to $0.14764 per kilowatt-hour. These rates also vary in what sources are used to supply that energy, with the Green 100 option entirely supplied by renewable resources. 

  • The City of Newton, population ~ 80,000 launched Newton Power Choice in May, 2019. Residents and businesses in Newton were buying renewable electricity to match 62% of their electricity use at that time. Newton’s standard energy package is the cleanest in the state, with an 82% renewable mix, with Lowell (65%) and Brookline (50%) following.

CCA PROGRAMS
CCA PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS
INVESTOR OWNED UTILITIES
Eversource (Western Massachusetts Electric & NSTAR)
National Grid
Unitil (Fitchburg Gas & Electric Light)
INFORMATION RESOURCES
RECENT PRESS
After two years, Windsor residents will get a break on electricity in a municipal aggregation plan. June 2, 2024, The Berkshire Eagle

State approves Valley Green Energy, Amherst leads community choice aggregation
. May 20, 2024, The Reminder


Massachusetts Senate Passes Bill Ending Individual Residential Electric Choice. April 24, 2024, energychoicematters.com

Massachusetts Issues Emergency Rules Governing Solar Projects under SMART Program
. April 17, 2024, The National Law Review

Energy program tries to limit “sky high” electric bills
.
January 11, 2024, Dartmouth Week

Direct Energy to power Boston Community Choice Electricity program. This municipal aggregation initiative will offer Boston residents 24% to 100% renewable electricity while reducing their utility bills by about 15%. January 4, 2024, PV Magazine

Cleaner, stable power choices in Needham. December 13, 2023, Hometwonweekly.net

Boston residents can get greener (and cheaper) electricity through the city. Here's how
. November 29, 2023, wbur.org

NEW REPORT: GMA Continues to be a success in the Bay State. November 18, 2023, Green Energy Consumer's Alliance

Massachusetts seeks to streamline approvals for community choice aggregation
. October 4, 2023, Energy News Network


New Lower Prices Announced by Cape Light Compact. May 26, 2023, CapeCod.com

Newton To Lead State in 'Green' Power Under New Energy Contract. May 26, 2023, patch.com

Study finds community choice energy aggregation programs have reduced costs, increased sustainability. February 7, 2023, techxplore.com
Utility vs CCA rates in MA.png
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