By Brad Petrishen
Telegram & Gazette Staff Posted Oct 2, 2017 at 7:00 PM
GARDNER – The city Monday announced that residents and businesses will soon start seeing a nearly 10 percent reduction on their energy bills as a result of a partnership with a company that specializes in negotiating better rates.
“We’re pleased to work with Colonial Power Group to offer Gardner residents and small business owners the opportunity to have a more stable and lower cost energy option,” Mayor Mark P. Hawke said in a news release.
According to the release, Colonial Power Group is a Marlboro company that specializes in municipal electricity aggregation – the practice of allowing cities and towns to pool electrical consumption of ratepayers to procure lower supply costs for everyone.
“Since July 2013, Colonial Power has saved households and businesses across New England a total of nearly $11 million on their electric bills,” the city said. “Colonial Power Group, which serves more than 60 municipalities in Massachusetts, was chosen to design, implement and administer the program on behalf of Gardner.”
Michael J. Nicholson, the mayor’s executive aide, said Colonial Power gets a small cut of energy bills – $0.001 per kilowatt-hour accrued – under the terms of its contract with the city. There were no upfront costs to the city for Colonial Power procuring the deal.
Customers don’t need to opt in to the program and will begin to see savings on their bills in December, said Rachael Catlow, the city’s Geographic Information System coordinator. They will still be billed by National Grid, the same as now; the city’s role is confined to negotiating the better rate.
If customers want to opt out of the program, they can do so at colonialpowergroup.com.
According to the release, the cost-saving contract lasts 24 months and is expected to save residents and businesses 9.63 percent on their monthly energy bills during the first year. The total savings for all ratepayers over the two years is pegged at more than $751,000.
Mark Cappadona, president of Colonial Power, said Monday that his company has about 50 percent of the state’s electricity aggregation market. He said Worcester is expected to seek bids for aggregation soon.
According to the state’s website, nearly 130 cities and towns participate in municipal electricity aggregation, including Westboro, Auburn, Grafton and several other towns in Central Massachusetts.