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.
communities with Local CCA Authorization
active CCA communities
inactive CCA communities
MWh of annual load (2022)
statewide population participants
6 to 42
Use this interactive map to explore CCA communities across Massachusetts.
Use your mouse to zoom in, click on flags for more information.
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.
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.