MARLBOROUGH – The city’s Municipal Aggregation Committee opted to continue the program and approved a six-month contract with TransCanada that will provide electricity to residents at a cheaper rate than National Grid.

The municipal aggregation program allows cities and towns to seek competitive bids to supply electricity to customers in their communities at a lower rate than major electricity providers, such as National Grid. The idea behind an energy aggregation program is that costs for the consumer can be lowered by purchasing and distributing large amounts of energy town- or city-wide rather than each household purchasing it separately. The city has participated in the program for several years, but its contract expires Oct. 31.

City residents have the option of joining the program or receiving service from National Grid. Residents can opt in or out of the aggregation program with no fee.

Under the terms of the agreement with TransCanada, residents will pay 9.585 cents per kilowatt hour. National Grid was offering a basic service rate of 9.878 cents per kilowatt hour. The new rates will be in effect from Nov. 1 to April 30, 2017.

Using his most recent electric bill in which his household used 1,020 kilowatt hours, City Councilor Michael Ossing estimated he would save about $2.98 per month with the new rates.

“It’s dependent on your individual usage,” Ossing, a member of the Municipal Aggregation Committee, said of the savings.

City Councilor Donald Landers characterized the new rates as “a good deal.”

The committee reviewed a handful of options, including scrapping the aggregation program, signing a six-month deal or agreeing to a two-year contract with an energy supplier.

Had the city discontinued the aggregation program, it would cost city residents more money for electricity and the city would have to go through an extensive regulatory process to get the program back up and running, according to a letter from City Council President Ed Clancy, also a member of the Aggregation Committee.

In his letter, Clancy wrote there is insufficient time to vet all the terms and conditions contained within a two-year agreement. He said the option of a two-year contract can be fully vetted in the coming months.

Jeff Malachowski can be reached at 508-490-7466 or Follow him on Twitter @JmalachowskiMW.

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