Somerville’s Community Choice Electricity Program to Provide Stable Electricity Costs, Double the Renewable Energy

SOMERVILLE — Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and the Somerville Office of Sustainability and Environment today announced the continuation of the City’s Community Choice Electricity (CCE) program, which will increase amounts of zero-carbon renewable energy from regional sources. Direct Energy is Somerville’s current supplier through the CCE program. After a competitive process, Direct Energy will continue to be Somerville’s CCE program supplier, with new electricity rates that will be fixed from November 2022 through December 2024.

Since its launch in July 2017, the CCE program has been a successful way for renters, businesses, and homeowners across Somerville to fight climate change at home. This shift to clean energy supply is key to supporting Somerville Climate Forward, the City’s climate action plan, and Mayor Ballantyne’s net-zero carbon negative goal. Somerville’s CCE program allows residents and businesses to increase the share of renewable energy used to provide their electricity. Even renters who pay their own electric utility bills can join without their landlord’s permission, since there is no installation, upfront costs, or maintenance required.

“Many of us want to do more to fight climate change but aren’t sure about how we personally can make an impact,” said Mayor Ballantyne. “Well, one important and easy step for Somerville renters, businesses, and homeowners is to use Somerville’s Community Choice Electricity. This City-supported program helps you support the shift to clean energy and the creation of green energy jobs close to home, and that’s a great way to help build a more sustainable future.”

Starting in November, each of the program’s three levels will feature increased percentages of renewable energy:
The Local Green option will now provide 40-44% zero-carbon renewable energy from regional sources, double the current state requirements. New customers will be automatically enrolled in the Local Green option.
The Somerville Basic option matches the state-mandated minimum requirement for renewable energy.
The 100% Local Green option provides an additional 100% zero-carbon, regionally produced renewable energy on top of the state minimum requirements.
Nearly 1,000 accounts are currently enrolled in the 100% Local Green option and have contributed one-fifth of the voluntary renewable energy purchased through this program. Since 2017, Somerville’s CCE program has collectively purchased an additional 64 million kWh of zero-carbon, regionally produced renewable energy, equivalent to taking more than 10,400 cars off the road for a year.

Businesses and residents participating in the CCE program receive stable electric supply pricing, which will be fixed for the next two years. This enables them to avoid the seasonal rate fluctuations of the Eversource Basic Service Rate. Although future savings aren’t guaranteed, the CCE program has saved residents nearly $11 million since it began, compared to Eversource’s Residential Basic Service rate. Future savings compared to Eversource Basic Service cannot be guaranteed because future Basic Service prices change every six months for residential and commercial customers and every three months for industrial customers.

Somerville’s CCE program also prioritizes equity in the renewable energy sector. Anyone who pays a residential or business electric account in Somerville is eligible to participate. Additionally, income-eligible customers are still able to receive Eversource’s 36% discount while participating in Somerville’s CCE program. CCE reduces the community’s contribution to climate change by reducing the fossil fuels that are normally produced from typical electricity generation, which is often disproportionately harmful to low-income communities. Finally, the participation of municipalities in programs like this supports the development of regional clean energy development, and the job market surrounding it.

Somerville’s CCE program periodically sends letters to customers with details on pricing and renewable energy certificates. Electric account holders can expect to receive the next letter around October 4, 2022. Somerville’s CCE program will never knock on your door or call you (unless requested). Eversource will continue to deliver participants’ monthly bills, and Eversource is available for any service-related issues. For more information, visit CCE.SomervilleMa.gov or contact 311 (617-666-3311). Residents can change their enrollment in Somerville’s CCE program any time without penalty online at CCE.SomervilleMa.gov. Applications for fuel assistance for this winter will open in October. To learn more about ways to reduce electric costs, visit somervillema.gov/r2nz or contact Cambridge-Somerville Fuel Assistance at cambridgema.gov/iwantto/applyforfuelassistance.

Municipal aggregation harnesses the bulk buying power of ratepayers to secure a low, fixed rate for electricity. Communities have been aggregating electricity since 1997, and more than 60 cities and towns in Massachusetts—including Cambridge, Melrose, New Bedford, and Salem—already have active electricity aggregation programs. These communities, and Somerville, developed their aggregation plans in accordance with Mass. General Law c.164, sec. 134, which authorizes any municipality to aggregate the electrical load of interested consumers within its boundaries.

Eversource
Basic Service
(for residential customers)
Somerville
Basic
Somerville
Local Green
(default for new customers)
Somerville
100% Local Green

Price
17.871 ¢/kWh
14.914¢/kWh
15.654¢/kWh
18.614¢/kWh
Voluntary Renewable Energy
Content


Adds 20% voluntary renewable energy
(MA Class I RECs)
Adds 100% voluntary renewable energy
(MA Class I RECs)
Duration
July 1 to December 31, 2022
November 2022 to December 2024

The Somerville CCE Program cannot guarantee savings compared to Eversource Basic Service for the duration of the Program pricing because future Basic Service rates are unknown.
The products labeled “Green” contain additional Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) above that required by MA law. The additional RECs qualify for MA Class I designation from generation located within, or delivered to, New England.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact Adrienne Pomeroy, at 617-625-6600 ext. 2059 or apomeroy@somervillema.gov.

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