The Town of Upton developed the Aggregation Plan in compliance with Massachusetts law regarding public aggregation of electric consumers. It contains required information on the structure, operations, services, funding, and policies of the Town’s Plan. The Plan has been developed in consultation with the Town’s aggregation implementation consultant, Colonial Power Group, Inc. (CPG) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
The purpose of this Plan is to represent consumer interests in competitive markets for electricity. It seeks to aggregate consumers in the Town to negotiate rates for power supply. It brings together the buying power of about 7,500 consumers. Furthermore, the Town seeks to better manage energy prices. Participation is voluntary for each eligible consumer. Eligible consumers have the opportunity to decline service provided through the Plan and to choose any Competitive Supplier they wish. The Town has distributed this Plan for public review prior to submitting it to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.
Public Review and Comment Period
The Town of Upton’s Aggregation Plan is available for public review and comment from Monday, April 4, 2016, at 9 a.m. through Friday, April 22, 2016, at 5:00 p.m.
Any person who desires to comment may do so in person at the Town Clerk’s office or submit written comments using one of the following methods: (1) by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or (2) by postal mail to the address below.
Comments must be clearly marked Town of Upton’s Aggregation Plan and must be received (not postmarked) by the end of the comment period in order to be addressed.
Blythe C. Robinson
One Main Street
Upton, MA 01568
Any questions pertaining to this should be directed to Blythe Robinson, Town Manager at (508) 529-6901.
Click here to read the Town of Upton’s Aggregation Plan. An original hardcopy of the Plan is also available at the Town Clerk’s office.
Another problem with the Aggregation Plan the way I understand it (and as described in the attached document) is that the Town approves the plan AND THEN goes out for bids on electrical rates, so we don’t know what we are getting into to until we are committed. Another problem is that usually the bid rates are with one year contracts so we are all “stuck” with that bid rate for 12 months. What don’t I like about that, you might ask?
Take Marlboro for an example: They locked into a plan last year at 9.58 cents/kWh, which was a “decent” rate at the time, and has saved the residents about 30% over National Grid this past winter, HOWEVER they paid about 12% more than what my customers were paying all winter and will be stuck with that 9.58 cent rate even when National Grid drops down to around 8 cents in May (as announced on National Grid’s web site yesterday).
For another example (of the problem): In Jan of 2015 when National Grid rates were well over 16 cents/kWh friends and neighbors here in Upton signed three year contracts with one company that offered to “lock in” rates at only 12.5 cents. That 4 cent saving seemed like a God’s send at the time, but when National Grid was down to 9.7 cents late last summer (and my company was offering locked in rates for 6 months at only 8.5 cents) they were paying 30% more than if they had stayed with “The Grid”, and 47% more than my customers! When they tried to switch out they were told they would be charged a significant cancellation fee!
So what is the solution? The most important consideration is NOT what the rate is, but how flexible the plan is to change as rates go up and down seasonally. The company I represent lets each customer pick from five rates/plans including variable rate plans that can fluctuate, fixed rate plans, and “green energy” plans. Most importantly however is their offer to “lock in” low rates for the long term and then allow customers to switch out to lower rates (as often as once a month) as they become available. This way each customer can lock in a maximum rate that the company will not exceed for the term, but still maintain the ability to take advantage of any/all lower seasonal rates as they become available. Any program that doesn’t provide that flexibility is just gambling with your money!
I read the entire attached document and have a few comments. First of all I believe there are better ways for the residents to save money on their electric bills than with this program. For instance the town of Marlboro is on this type of program and their residents paid 9.58 cents per kWh this past winter. While this rate was a lot better than what National Grid was charging customers all winter (as high as 15 cents!) it was higher than the 8.5 cents I paid.
I am an energy consultant that lives in Upton, and have a plan that will provide a lot of advantages to both residents and the town than the program that is being contemplated. In addition to lower rates my proposed plan lets each customer earn vacation rewards points for just paying their lower bill each month. There is also a program where each customer can get FREE energy by just referring other customers.
For the town we offer energy rebate checks monthly that could produce over $8,000.00 a year in revenue that would help reduce the tax burden. One more plus is the potential for all town employees to get free electricity as part of the package.