TYNGSBORO — Town officials are working on an electricity aggregation plan for Tyngsboro residents that could save them money on their monthly electric bills.
The plan would allow the town to negotiate competitive electricity supply rates for the roughly 5,200 National Grid customers in town, essentially bulk-buying electricity to score lower prices.
With the public-comment period having wrapped up on Thursday, selectmen will soon vote on the plan and submit it to the state Department of Public Utilities for approval.
Residents at a previous Town Meeting authorized selectmen to research and develop a plan for electricity aggregation, a method of pooling the purchase of power that the town already uses for a lower electric bill.
Using Colonial Power Group as a consultant, the town would issue bids for energy supply rates. National Grid would still be the distribution company.
Yet unlike National Grid, which purchases electricity on behalf of customers just twice a year, Tyngsboro can accept bids at any time.
“Once we’ve been approved (by the state), that just allows us to go to bid on behalf of the residents,” said Assistant Town Administrator Matt Hanson. “If it’s a peak time in the energy market or for some reason energy rates are high at that time, we wouldn’t necessarily have to enter into a contract.”
Hanson said the only change residents will see on their electricity bill is in the supplier services line item, which shows the rate that the town’s chosen electricity supplier will charge.
Currently, residents pay a supply cost of roughly 8 cents per kilowatt hour through a National Grid rate that changes every six months. This past winter, residents paid roughly 13 cents.
Residents can opt out of the program at any time if they’d like to use a different supplier, and there is no penalty.
Once the plan is approved — which Hanson said could be in the fall — and the town chooses the supplier, there will also be a 30-day period for residents to opt out before the program begins.
The move is similar to the one Lowell adopted in 2014, saving an estimated $9.5 million in one six-month period.
Other towns, including Tewksbury and Chelmsford, have also adopted such plans.
Colonial Power Group President Mark Cappadona said the company hasn’t had discussions yet with the town about specifics of the supplier bids, such as terms and types of energy.
But for a bedroom community like Tyngsboro, he said, residents could save around $10 to $12 a month.
Any public comments will be included in the plan sent to the state, Cappadona said.
National Grid spokeswoman Danielle Williamson said about 40 percent of the company’s electricity customers statewide already receive electricity from an alternate supplier.
“Regardless of whether Tyngsboro residents are with another energy supplier, we will continue to deliver safe, reliable energy, respond to service and emergency needs and provide storm restoration efforts,” she said.
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