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Community Electric Aggregation

Townsend Community Energy Aggregation (CEA)

Townsend Community Electricity Aggregation 

Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) allows residents and small businesses in Townsend the opportunity to purchase electricity when the market is favorable. 

By combining all residential and small businesses’ electricity accounts into one purchasing group, we may obtain very competitive electricity generation bids from suppliers. 

Unlike the basic service rate from Unitil which changes every 6 months, the CEA program will be able to purchase electricity for 12, 24, or 36 months to provide rate stability. 

The CEA will also have options for more “green” – renewable energy. 

Learn about exciting opportunity to potentially lower residential electricity bills at: 

https://townsendcea.com/ 

https://masscea.com/

And update as of October 3rd, 2023 is available below the FAQs or at this link.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Community Electricity?
Community Electricity, also known as municipal aggregation, is a program whereby a municipality creates a new default electricity supply available to all residents and businesses. The Town can also create other optional electricity supply options.
Why is Townsend pursuing this program?
Community Electricity will empower the municipality to offer new electricity options that meet the diverse needs of our residents and businesses. Although the programs cannot guarantee financial savings, these programs may provide competitively priced and stable electricity costs, as well as cleaner electricity with more renewable energy.
Do many other communities offer this?
Yes. Community Electricity programs have a long track record in Massachusetts, and over 150 cities and towns have active Community Electricity programs. For nearly two decades, Cape Cod has operated a Community Electricity Program, Rockland has operated one for over four years, and Quincy is in the process of developing one.
Will Townsend replace the utility, Unitil?
No. Our utility, Unitil, will continue to own and manage all of our Delivery Services: distribution poles and wires, emergency services and billing. Unitil will continue to respond to outages and provide customer services. Unitil will deliver the power supply that Townsend offers via the Community Electricity program.
Will I get a second bill?
No. Unitil will still send you only one electricity bill. On that bill, only the Supply Services section will change, to reflect the price for electricity from Townsend’s program.
Does the program affect service from Unitil or their profit?
No. Unitil cannot change the quality of their Delivery Service based on your choice of electricity supplier. Unitil’s profit comes from the Delivery Services they provide, and this program only affects the Supply Service portion of the bill.
Does the program affect low-income electricity discounts or budget billing?
No. Utility programs for electric assistance and budget billing are not affected by Community Electricity.
Does the program affect net metering or other solar benefits?
No. Benefits and compensation for solar programs, including net metering, are not affected by Community Electricity.
Is the program structured as opt-out?
Yes. The state law that enables Community Electricity (M.G.L. c. 164 section 134) sets up the program as an opt-out, and this provides the buying power and load certainty to attract bids from qualified electricity suppliers.
Who does the opt-out apply to?
Anyone using Unitil Basic Service electricity supply will be eligible for automatic enrollment. This applies to most residential customers. You can check the “Supply Services” section of your bill to see who your supplier is as shown in the red arrow.
How does the opt-out work?
At least 30 days before the program launches, all eligible customers will receive a letter notifying them that they are eligible for automatic enrollment in the upcoming program. The letter will explain the program, the pricing and provide instructions for you how to opt-out and not participate (including via postage-paid mailer, phone or online form).
What if I've already chosen my own non-utility electricity supplier?
Anyone that has already chosen their own electricity supplier will not be eligible for automatic enrollment in the program. Such customers may choose to join the program if they wish.
Do I have to participate?
No. The choice to participate will be voluntary: any resident or business may choose to opt-out (not participate) before the program starts and you can leave the program at any time, without penalty. If you opt-out, you can stay with Unitil electricity supply or choose your own supplier from the marketplace.
What steps have been taken so far?
In May 2023, the Town Meeting passed a resolution Authorizing the Board of Selectmen to research and develop a Plan for a Community Electricity program.
What comes next?
The Town has released the Plan for a month of public review and comment. On October 3rd, 2023, the Select Board held a Public Hearing at the conclusion of the 30-day period. The Plan will be updated with comments and any new requirements from the DPU (Department of Public Utilities). Then after a separate review by the DOER (Department of Energy Resources), the plan will be returned to the Select Board for formal approval. After DPU approval, the program may launch.
What supply products does the Town plan to offer?
In the Plan, "Townsend Standard" will be the default electricity supply, with a goal of being cleaner than the utility supply while still being cost-competitive (recognizing that savings cannot be guaranteed). The program will also have a 100% renewable electricity option called "Townsend Plus" and an option with the minimum renewable energy required by the State, called "Townsend Basic". Dozens of active programs in the State use this same product mix.