Solar Farm to Provide Green Power to Town
LANCASTER, MASS. (Nov. 18, 2013) – Orlando Pacheco, the Town Administrator of Lancaster, has been on the cutting edge of energy issues for years. And he recently added another innovation to his considerable track record. Last month, the Town of Lancaster chose Hampshire Power, a local, non-profit electricity supplier in Massachusetts, as its power supplier for the town’s electricity customers.
And here is the new twist on this year-old program: As part of its effort to support local renewable energy, Hampshire Power also agreed to purchase the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (“SRECs”) generated by Lancaster’s Solar Farm. The purchase ensures that the town receives fair value for the SRECS and also ensures that a portion of the electricity delivered to the consumers of Lancaster is local, renewable energy.
“The synergy between the Landfill Solar Array and the Choice Power supply program is important because it links the “green” aspects of the project into the town’s overall power supply by the purchase of the REC’s while at the same time providing $180,000 in financial benefits to the financing of the project.” We are integrating renewable into the power supply, while reducing prices for our residents, and have do so while reducing utility expenses for the Town stated Mr. Pacheco.
The selection — made on a competitive basis – is part of Lancaster’s “Community Choice Power Supply” initiative, a program for electric power supply that will help stabilize electricity costs for consumers. “Electric customers in the Town of Lancaster continue to protect their interests as consumers through a new purchase option,” said Lancaster Town Administrator Orlando Pacheco. “With the support of the Energy Commission and the Finance Committee, the Community Choice Power Supply initiative allows the town to provide local energy services in a way that stabilizes costs, promotes competition, and enhances support for local, renewable resources. “This program begins at a time with the winter heating months and associated increases in electrical consumption fast approaching, so it comes at a great time to help the Town’s consumers realize savings on their electric bills,” said Pacheco. “We will monitor rates closely over the course of the next year.”
The Community Choice Power Supply initiative provides Lancaster residents and businesses
with energy price stability, and also offers opportunities for potential cost savings. Acting on
behalf of the Town’s 2,900 electricity consumers, the Town of Lancaster selected Hampshire
Power on a competitive basis because of the provider’s ability to offer stable rates, its capacity
to maximize savings opportunities, and its strong record of performance as an energy supplier
in the Northeast.
The program begins at the December meter reading for all consumers. The new Lancaster
residential fixed-price competitive rate is $.091/kWh.* “We’re proud that Hampshire Power’s competitive, fixed-price power supply will help Lancaster residents stabilize their energy bills,” said Todd Ford, Executive Director of the Hampshire Council of Governments, which operates Hampshire Power. “Our organization brings many assets to the Community Choice Power Supply program, including support for local sustainable energy and a strong record of performance and customer service throughout western and central Massachusetts.”
Hampshire Power is a locally owned and operated electricity supplier with a mission to keep
electricity dollars in our local economy. Hampshire Power is a division of the Hampshire Council
of Governments, a non-profit government entity located in Northampton, MA.
In 1997, the Massachusetts legislature approved structural changes that promoted energy
supply competition and provided local municipalities with the option of introducing supply related
competition and customer choice within their jurisdictions. Lancaster’s Community Choice Power Supply program was approved at the Town Meeting in May 2012.
Under the State program, services provided to local consumers by National Grid include both the physical delivery to consumers of power supplies over the wires, which continues to be regulated by the Commonwealth, and the supply of the actual power running through the wires. National Grid, which directly charges consumers for the physical delivery of power, will continue to maintain the wires and read meters. National Grid will remain responsible for maintaining the day-to-day reliability and quality of delivery provided to consumers. However, the supply of the actual power running through the wires is now a competitive service. Under the Community Choice Power Supply program, these supplies may now come from Hampshire Power, which is categorized as a “competitive power supplier.” Charges for the supply component of electric service will be incorporated into regular bills that consumers receive from National Grid, which will indicate supply-related charges and other standard billing information.
All eligible consumers of National Grid “basic service” in Lancaster are automatically enrolled in the Community Choice Power Supply program. Consumers may “opt out” of the program by choosing another competitive power supplier or by choosing to default back to “basic service” supply provided by National Grid. Those choosing to “opt out” during the initial opt-out notice period may do so simply by returning the opt-out postcard within 30 days from the date that the Town mails the opt out postcard and a Consumer Notification Form to ratepayers. Consumers may also return to National Grid’s “basic service” alternative any time after the initial “opt out” notice period by contacting Hampshire Power or National Grid to cancel their accounts, with no penalty charge.
Colonial Power Group, Inc., a Massachusetts energy consulting company, was chosen in a competitive process to design, implement, and administer the Community Choice Power Supply program on behalf of the Town of Lancaster. “This program provides price stability, and competition without adding a single dollar to the tax burden of Lancaster’s residents and business community,” said Brian Murphy of Colonial Power Group, Inc. “We commend the town’s leaders for their innovative approach to energy purchasing.”
*Utility rates are subject to change and therefore Hampshire Power can’t guarantee savings over the term of Lancaster’s new “Community Choice Power Supply” program.
*Hampshire power’s residential and small commercial fixed-price competitive rate of 9.10 cents/kWh does not include taxes, utility distribution charges or other utility fees, charges or credits. Estimated savings are based upon the utility’s rates to compare. Generation Services for National Grid residential customers was set at 10.025 cents/kWh in effect from November 1, 2013 – April 30, 2014