Somerville’s Expanded “Community Choice Electricity” Program will Provide Lower Costs, More Renewable Energy

Municipal Aggregation Program launched in 2017, expanded for 3-year term beginning in January 2020.

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the Somerville Office of Sustainability and Environment announce an expansion of the city’s Community Choice Electricity Program (CCE) which will bring lower rates and increased renewable energy from local clean renewable sources.
 
In January 2020, the city will begin a new 35-month term with electricity supplier Direct Energy. In July 2017, the city created the municipal aggregation program, which provided Somerville residents with reduced costs and provided more renewable energy than is required by the state. Residents have the option to “opt up” for more renewable energy to their individual units, as well as the option to leave the program altogether. 
 
With the expanded program beginning in 2020, the price of the default rate will decrease, and the amount of extra renewable electricity will double from 5% to 10% above the state requirement. The Somerville CCE rate will be 15% lower than the winter 2020 Eversource residential rate. 
 
“We’ve set a goal of becoming carbon neutral in Somerville by 2050, but in the short term, we need to take bold action to reduce our carbon footprint. With the expanded CCE program, we’re bringing more local renewable energy to Somerville, reducing carbon emissions and supporting our region’s green jobs sector. The City will also be purchasing renewable energy for our own operations for the very first time,” said Mayor Curtatone. “This program is a great example of how taking big steps to reduce carbon emissions has other meaningful benefits, like low, stable electricity costs for our residents, and offering the opportunity to opt up for even more local renewable electricity, up to 100%. I want to thank Mothers Out Front, who have advocated and pushed for us to pursue high-quality, local power as well as affordability for our diverse community. Their work is pushing us even further toward our carbon neutrality goal.”
 
In 2019, Mothers Out Front, a local coalition of caregivers organizing for action on climate change, collected more than 700 postcards from Somerville residents and families asking for the city to pursue renewable electricity options.
“As mothers, we are deeply concerned about our children’s health and safety. Mothers Out Front works for a swift, just transition to clean renewable energy to ensure a healthy and livable climate for ALL children. Somerville's Community Choice Electricity (CCE) program is part of the solution to decarbonize our future.” said Jessica Garrett, a volunteer with Mothers Out Front.
 
Since the creation of Somerville CCE, Somerville has purchased approximately 9,200 megawatt hours of extra renewable energy annually, equal to the output of 2 wind turbines. In that same time period, residential customers have saved over $3 million, or $130 per household. 
 
The expanded CCE program keeps Somerville’s electricity prices stable and protects consumers from seasonal rate increases, but also allows customers to opt up to 100% clean renewable energy by paying a slightly higher rate. Some 400 households have already opted up to 100% in the last couple of years.
 
Municipal aggregation harnesses the bulk buying power of ratepayers to secure a low, fixed-rate for electricity. Communities have been aggregating electricity since 1997, and more than 60 cities and towns in Massachusetts—including Cambridge, Melrose, New Bedford, and Salem—already have active electricity aggregation programs. These communities, and Somerville, developed their aggregation plans in accordance with Mass. General Law c.164, sec. 134, which authorizes any municipality to aggregate the electrical load of interested consumers within its boundaries.
 
For more information, visit cce.somervillema.gov, or contact the City’s Office of Sustainability and Environment at 617-625-6600 ext. 2106.