How did I get enrolled in this Program?
Your city/town has formed a Municipal Aggregation. A Municipal Aggregation Program allows local government to combine the purchasing power of its residents so that it can provide them with an alternative electricity supply. Once in place, the local government can monitor and set its own energy related goals for the program such as savings, stability or green options. Consumers are no longer “stuck” with the cost and fluctuation of the utility’s Basic Service rates because the program offers them another option.
Before you were enrolled, your utility chose your supplier and you were paying their rate, which was called ‘Basic Service’. With the program, the utility no longer chooses the supplier. Your town or city, used a competitive bid process to select the supplier, and you are being charged that negotiated rate instead.
Aggregations are structured as OPT-OUT programs which means all Basic Service consumers will automatically be enrolled unless they OPT-OUT. A consumer notification letter was mailed out explaining the program and the options to OPT-OUT. If you were unaware of the Program, you may have not see the letter or you did not realize that you had to take action to not be enrolled.
I did not authorize this or sign anything. Isn't it illegal to switch me without my consent?
There was no contract to sign. A letter was mailed notifying all consumers of the program. The letter was mailed first class and was sent from your city/town with their logo on the front. All returned/undeliverable mailings were not enrolled. You may have mistaken it as junk mail and threw it away. If you did not OPT-OUT within 30 days, your account was enrolled.
Massachusetts law (M.G.L. c. 164, § 134), mandates that aggregations are OPT-OUT programs which means all Basic Service consumers within the community will be automatically switched to the program rate unless they take action and OPT-OUT.
Am I being billed twice?
No, you are not being billed twice. Your total bill is divided into two services, Delivery and Supply.
Delivery is the process of bringing electricity to your home or business. Your local Distributor is responsible for the delivery of electricity, reading your meter, repairing the poles and wires, and restoring power. The delivery services cost is based on the number of kWh used multiplied by the local distributor’s Delivery rate. The aggregation does not affect these services.
Supply refers to the electricity itself. The supply services cost is also based on the number of kWh used multiplied by a supply rate. If you do not choose your own competitive supplier or are not part of an aggregation, the local distributor is required to choose a supplier for you and charges you at their supply rate, which is called Basic Service.
You have been and will always be charged for both Supply and Delivery regardless of whether you are in an aggregation, choose your own competitive supplier or remain on Basic Service.
For National Grid Customers ONLY: The look of your monthly bill will change. Before enrollment in the aggregation, the charges in the Account Balance section are combined into one Amount Due column (Delivery + Supply). After enrollment in the aggregation, the charges in the Account Balance section are broken into three columns: National Grid Services(Delivery), Other Supplier Services (Supply) and Total (Delivery + Supply). Also, under the Detail of Current Charges section of your bill, the supplier chosen by your community will be listed in the Supply Services section. Click here to see a sample National Grid bill before and after enrollment.
My bill has doubled since I have been enrolled, is it because I’m in the aggregation?
No. If your bill seems to have doubled from a previous month, please check your electric usage history graph that is located to the left of your supplier service section of your bill. This shows how many kilowatts hours (kWh) you have used each month. The supply section of your bill takes this kWh amount multiplied by your supplier rate. Month to month fluctuations occur due to changes in usage behavior (higher usage can occur due to AC, electric heat, holiday lights, etc..). If you have questions or concerns regarding your kilowatt usage you should call your distribution company to verify there are no issues with your meter.
What is the "Community Choice Power Supply Program"?
The Community Choice Power Supply Program is a Municipal Aggregation Program which allows local government to combine the purchasing power of its residents so that it can provide them with an alternative electricity supply. In doing so, it creates competition among Competitive Suppliers which helps ensure aggressive rates. Consumers are no longer “stuck” with the cost and fluctuation of Basic Service Rates because the Program offers them another option.
What is a "Competitive Supplier"?
A Competitive Supplier is a power supplier other than your Local Utility. Competitive Suppliers provide power supply to consumers either through a Municipal Aggregation Program or through a Competitive Supplier Program. Your electricity is currently being supplied by your Local Utility unless you have switched to a Competitive Supplier Program on your own.
Your electric bill is divided into two parts: Delivery and Supply. The supply is no longer regulated and therefore can be provided by a Competitive Supplier. Delivery is still regulated and can only be provided by your Local Utility. Your Local Utility will continue to deliver your power supply over the wires. However, the power running through those wires can be provided by a Competitive Supplier.
What is the difference between programs advertised to "lower your electric bill" and municipal aggregation programs?
Programs you see advertised are Competitive Supplier Programs in which the competitive supplier contracts directly with the individual consumer. While both Programs seek to lower your electric bill, they are run very differently.
BEWARE OF OTHER ENERGY OFFERS claiming to be associated with your community or Local Utility. You may receive direct mail, phone calls or even visits to your door from energy marketers for the Competitive Supplier Programs mentioned above. These marketers are NOT associated with the Community Choice Power Supply Program or with your Local Utility. The Community Choice Power Supply Program will notify you of the Program ONLY through mail direct from your community (look for your Town’s seal).
You may have recently seen programs advertised to lower you electric bill by switching to a different provider. These Competitive Supplier Programs differ from Municipal Aggregation Programs. While both programs seek to lower your electric bill, these programs are run very differently.
Municipal Aggregation Programs are run by cities or towns. Once signed up, it is up to the city or town to monitor the rates. Having knowledge of the electricity market, the city or town continually looks out for their citizens’ best interests. Their goals are to provide low, stable rates and possibly green options to its citizens.
Competitive Supplier Programs are run by supply companies. Once signed up, it is up to the consumer to monitor the rates. Typically the offer is for a fixed rate that is below the basic service rate at the time of the offering.
Competitive Supplier Programs usually have a clause in its terms and conditions that states the consumer remains in the Program after the original rate and term have ended unless specific action is taken to cancel the contract. In many cases there may be an exit fee.
Municipal Aggregation Programs have no entrance or exit fees. To opt-in or opt-out requires just a telephone call to the Municipal Aggregation’s supplier.
Competitive Supplier Programs may have a clause in their contract which allows pass-through charges. These would be additional costs incurred by the supply company as a result of changes decreed by a governmental authority. These costs would then pass through to the consumer in addition to the contracted rate.
Municipal Aggregation Fixed Price Programs include all cost and do not allow pass through charges. Municipal Aggregation Portfolio Managed Product Programs have all costs passed through to consumer at actually costs. If applicable, these costs are noted on the rate charts on Colonial’s individual community webpages.
If you are interested in a Competitive Supplier Program, be sure to completely read and understand the price, term length and any other conditions of the contract before signing.
Cities and towns encourage competitive power supply and make no representation and take no position either for or against Competitive Supplier Programs. The individual consumer must carefully assess the terms and conditions of the contract and determine if it is in his or her own best interest.
Why have I received a consumer notification letter?
Your city/town has signed a contract with a Competitive Supplier on behalf of your community as part of their Community Choice Power Supply Program.
Why haven't I received a consumer notification letter?
You will not receive a Consumer Notification Letter if your Local Utility has your account listed as being contracted with a Competitive Supplier or if you have requested the Local Utility to put a “Supplier Block” on your account so that it is removed from all supplier marketing lists. However, there is a lag between the date the utility provides the account data and the date the Consumer Notification Letters are mailed so there may be some accounts that are categorized wrong at the time of the mailing.
How will being a part of this program affect me?
You will receive the benefit of potentially lower rates on your electricity and therefore a lower electric bill. Otherwise, YOU WILL NOT NOTICE ANY CHANGE. The only difference you will see is that the name of the chosen Competitive Supplier will be printed under the “Supply/Generation Service Charges” section of your monthly bill. You will continue to receive one bill from your Local Utility. You will continue to send your payments to your Local Utility for processing. Your Local Utility will continue to read meters and maintain the distribution and transmission lines. Reliability and quality of service will remain the same. Furthermore, you will continue to have all existing consumer rights and protections.
Why do I need to do to participate in this program?
If you have received a Consumer Notification Letter AND you have not opted-out you will not need to do anything to participate. You will be automatically be enrolled in the Program.
Why have I not been enrolled, I thought it was automatic?
Enrollment is automatic ONLY IF you have received a Consumer Notification Letter and have not opted-out. Enrollment is NOT AUTOMATIC if you have not received a Consumer Notification Letter OR if your Local Utility had your account listed as being contracted with a Competitive Supplier at the time of the enrollment. Also, you will not receive a consumer notification letter and therefore not be enrolled if you have requested the Local Utility to put a “Supplier Block” put on your account so that it is removed from all supplier marketing lists. If that is the case, consumers may have to call their Local Utility to be enrolled in the program.
Can I participate in the program if I have not received a consumer notification letter?
Yes, as long as your community has a DPU approved aggregation working with Colonial Power Group. You may OPT-IN AT ANY TIME by filling out the online Opt-In Form on your community’s page OR by calling the Supplier chosen by your community (listed on your community’s page) OR by calling Colonial Power Group, Inc. at (508) 485-5858. To avoid delays in your enrollment, before opting in, please make sure that if you have a “Supplier Block” on your account that it is removed. Also, if you have previously contracted with your own Competitive Supplier, you should confirm with them that you will not incur any fees for leaving their supply.
When will my enrollment take effect?
Your enrollment will start on the meter read date stated on the Consumer Notification Letter. You will see the new rate on the bill the following month. For example, if your meter read enrollment date is January 1, your usage from January 1- January 31 will be charged the new rate and billed on February 1. If you opt-in any other time, enrollment can take up to two billing cycles before taking effect.
What if I do not want power from this supplier?
Each consumer has the right to choose his/her supplier. Enclosed in the Consumer Notification mailing is an Opt-Out Return Card. If you do not want to participate in the Community Choice Power Supply Program, you can sign and date the card and drop it in the mail OR fill out the Opt-Out Form on your community’s page, OR call the Supplier chosen by your community (listed on your community’s page) OR call Colonial Power Group, Inc. at (508) 485-5858. You will be removed from the list of participating consumers. The initial opt-out period is (30) days from the mailing date of the consumer notification letter.
What if I decide I want to opt-out after 30 day initial opt-out period?
Participation is designed to be as flexible as possible. You may leave the Community Choice Power Supply Program at no charge and be placed on their Local Utility’s Basic Service or choose another Competitive Supplier on their own. Opting out of the Community Choice Power Supply Program is easy. You may fill out the online Opt-Out Form on your community’s page OR call the Supplier chosen by your community (listed on your community’s page) OR call Colonial Power Group, Inc. at (508) 485-5858. It may take a couple of billing cycles before you are back on your Local Utility’s Basic Service. There is NO PENALTY CHARGE to opt-out.
Commercial consumers (G2, G3), if you participate initially and then choose to leave the Community Choice Power Supply Program, you may return only if accepted by the Competitive Supplier and at prevailing market rates.
What if I have already chosen a competitive supplier?
The Local Utility records should indicate that you already have a Competitive Supplier. If so, you will not be enrolled in the Community Choice Power Supply Program. However, there is a lag between the date the utility provides the account data and the date the Consumer Notification Letters are mailed so there may be some accounts that are categorized wrong at the time of the mailing. This is why we recommend that you opt-out if you have received a Consumer Notification Letter and have contracted with a Competitive Supplier or have chosen a Green Power Supply Option.
What if I am on a budget plan or low-income delivery rate?
You will continue to receive those benefits from your Local Utility.
What if I operate a business and have a "tax exempt" status, what do I need to maintain my status under this program?
According to Massachusetts law, in order to maintain your tax exempt status for your electric bill, you must send a copy of your tax exempt certificate directly to the Competitive Supplier chosen by your community. (The supplier’s name is listed on your community’s page.)
What if I have solar panels on my residence or business?
Net Metering will work the same way with the Community Choice Power Supply Program. You will continue to receive your net metering credits while benefiting from the aggregation rate on your electricity. The Local Utility will continue to post your net meter credits to your electric bill at the local utility’s basic service rate.
How long does The Community Choice Power Supply Program last?
The Community Choice Power Supply Program is in effect until the local government terminates the Program. Throughout the life of the Program, each subsequent contract will vary by rate, term and possibly Competitive Supplier. The latest rates, terms and Competitive Supplier contracted can be found on your community’s page or by calling Colonial Power Group, Inc. at (508) 485-5858.