According to a recent report from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, over the last five years, third-party utility suppliers charged Massachusetts residents $426 million more than a general utility like Eversource would have. The AG’s office also reported that these suppliers continue to target low-income residents and communities of color, charging them higher rates for their electricity. The report found that all residents in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, East Boston, Hyde Park, and Roslindale were heavily targeted, with more than 40 percent of low-income residents in these neighborhoods signing competitive electric supply contracts.
On Monday, Mayor Michelle Wu announced new, lower electricity rates through Boston’s Community Choice Electricity (CCE) program, and encouraged all customers to choose CCE as their electricity supplier. The new CCE rates went into effect in November 2021 and will be in effect until December 2023.
Wu said all CCE rates will be lower than Eversource’s Basic Service Rate beginning on January 1, 2022, for a period of at least six months. Eversource is the local utility provider in Boston. The average Eversource Basic Service Residential Customer is expected to spend $27 per month more than a customer on the CCE Standard option.
Residents can learn how to switch over to the new CCE program at www.boston.gov/departments/environment/community-choice-electricity/protect-your-electric-bill/switching-your-supplier.
Wu said some Jamaica Plain residents and businesses may participate in contracts with third-party suppliers, whose rates tend to be significantly higher than CCE. Competitive electric suppliers often mislead and take advantage of residents, particularly seniors and residents who speak a language other than English, promising them unreliable savings.
“Boston’s Community Choice Electricity program empowers residents and small businesses to save money and choose a greener future for our communities,” said Mayor Wu. “Signing up for this program will help speed the process of Boston becoming a 100% renewable energy city and provide a more affordable option this winter.”
In 2017, then-Councilor Wu and Councilor Matt O’Malley authored legislation authorizing the City of Boston to adopt Community Choice Electricity, which was then unanimously approved by the City Council. Boston’s CCE program – the largest green municipal program in the Commonwealth – launched on February 1, 2021.
“This is a huge milestone for increasing the City’s renewable energy and ensuring a resilient and carbon neutral future for Boston residents,” said Chair of the Council’s Environment, Resiliency and Parks Committee Matt O’Malley. “I am proud to see the success of the Community Choice Energy program under the leadership of Mayor Wu and her administration after partnering with her on the legislation at the Council.”
The CCE program uses the City’s collective buying power to provide affordable, renewable electricity to Boston’s residents and businesses at a competitive rate. CCE has three options for electricity supply: Optional Basic, Standard, and Optional Green 100. These packages include between 18 percent and 100 percent local, renewable energy, and residents are able to choose which electricity rate and renewable energy portfolio works best for them. Eversource continues to serve as the utility delivering electricity to CCE customers, and Eversource also handles customer billing and service, grid maintenance, and power outages.
According to Eversource the utility company filed its proposed new Residential Basic Service rate ($0.15735/kWh) and their Small Business rate ($0.14732/kWh) with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in November.
Wu said these rates are the highest they have been in 15 years and will go into effect on January 1, 2022, until June 30, 2022. As the City moves into the winter months, electricity usage is expected to rise. However, the City of Boston cannot guarantee that the CCE rates will remain lower than Eversource’s Basic Service rates after June 30, 2022.
“Community Choice Electricity helps the City fight the climate crisis while growing energy justice in our communities,” said the city’s Chief of Environment, Energy and Open SpaceReverend Mariama White-Hammond, . “Residents have the opportunity to reduce their energy costs and our City’s carbon footprint at the same time. I want to thank Mayor Wu for her commitment to ensuring that Boston residents have access to affordable and renewable electricity.”