Hadley residents getting more electricity choices

  • Watt-hour meters track electricity used by residents of an apartment building in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, May 6, 2009. AP PHOTO/J. Scott Applewhite

Staff Writer
Saturday, June 15, 2019

HADLEY — Hadley residents who get their electricity from Eversource will soon be enrolled in a community electricity aggregation program that aims to give them more choice, including renewable energy options, and longer-term price stability.

“This is an opportunity for residents to purchase electricity as aggregate as opposed to individually,” says Town Administrator David Nixon.

Most residents in the past week or so have received a mailing alerting them that they will be automatically enrolled in the new program unless they opt out by July 13.

An information session is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at the Council on Aging’s temporary site at Most Holy Redeemer Church’s parish center, 120 Russell St. Hadley Media is expected to film the presentation so residents unable to attend can watch it on TV or stream it on their computers, tablets and smartphones.

Hadley has been working with aggregation consultants Good Energy, L.P., which is based in New York, to seek competitive bids for the electricity supplier. Direct Energy Services was selected.

Conway resident John ​​​​​O’Rourke, director of marketing and municipal affairs for Good Energy, said the aggregation program gives residents more choices and reduced prices for the basic service, which, at .0975 cents per kilowatt hour, will initially be about 1.1 percent lower than the .0985 cents per kilowatt hour rates charged by Eversource.

While the kilowatt-per-hour price for the basic service is not guaranteed to stay lower, with Eversource revising its rates every six months, Nixon said previously that he hopes an average resident could see bills reduced by about $100 per year.

The greater choices include, initially, the option for 100 percent local green and renewable energy, for which customers will pay about 24 percent more, or .121 cents per kilowatt hour, than the basic rate.

The green program’s electricity originates from qualified Massachusetts Class I renewable energy. O’Rourke said renewable energy certificates, or RECs, that are purchased typically come from sources approved by the nonprofit Green Energy Consumers Alliance, and are mostly wind-based, with no biomass.

O’Rourke said he anticipates one question will be why residents are required to opt out, rather than to opt in. This is to ensure 80 to 85 percent participation from the outset and is a means of getting the best price from the electricity supplier, Direct Energy Services.

Hadley is one of 147 of 304 eligible communities in the state that have been approved for aggregation plans by the Department of Public Utilities and Department of Energy Resources.

O’Rourke said that customers who are in discount programs are not affected, since those reduced prices come from the distribution side rather than the supply side, and those homeowners with solar arrays and net metering agreements, are also unaffected.

Electricity aggregation has been a long-standing goal for Nixon since the state, more than 20 years ago, passed legislation allowing for a competitive electricity market, by restructuring the industry and establishing energy plans through municipal aggregation.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.