TEWKSBURY —Tewksbury’s new energy program is a way for the community to harness the benefits of renewable energy, even if it is not generated within the town. Tewksbury’s Community Choice Power Supply program is now working with Constellation Energy to supply power derived from wind energy.
By providing five percent of Massachusetts Class I RECs as part of the plan, Tewksbury will be encouraging renewable energy production in the region. RECs are Renewable Energy Credits which represent 1 Mega Watt hour of energy generated by a renewable or clean energy source, such as wind or solar.
The purchase of these RECs provides incentives for more generation of renewable energy in the New England market by showing high demand for the product.
According to EnergySage, a renewable energy marketplace funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, “RECs can be generated from the following renewable energy sources: wind, solar, moving water (hydropower), organic plant and waste material (biomass), and the earth’s heat (geothermal). Unlike coal or natural gas, renewable energy supplied by these sources is readily available and constantly replenishes.”
Each REC is individually identified, so once purchased, it cannot be sold again, keeping the marketplace accurate in terms of how much renewable energy is moving through the system.
Tewksbury participates in a municipal aggregation program which lets it combine the purchasing power of its residents and businesses to bid for suppliers who may provide the community with a lower electricity rate that might be provided by National Grid.
Tewksbury’s choice of Constellation New Energy as the provider of the energy for this contract cycle is yielding a 26 percent lower contracted rate for basic residential winter electric service than National Grid’s winter basic service rate. The addition of the five percent Class I RECs is a step for Tewksbury above what is required by law. National Grid is still the distributor of the energy via its infrastructure.
According to Town Manager Richard Montuori, there are additional consumer options that are awaiting approval from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) as a way for residents to have even more impact on using renewables. Once approved, the town will provide details for residents to sign up.
An exciting potential option is one that would let the consumer pay a slightly higher rate and include a 25 percent REC purchase. Residents like Rob Kocsmiersky like this idea.
“Additional opt-up options let consumers who don’t mind paying a little extra help supply even more local RECs toward our renewable energy goals.”
No action is required by individual consumers. All accounts currently enrolled in the Program will remain in the Program at the new rate as of the December 2021 meter reads. This change will be noted on the December 2021 bills and will be seen on the January 2022 bills. There are no enrollment, early termination, or cancellation fees attached to the Tewksbury electricity program.
Residents who choose to opt-out can also opt-in at a later date if they so choose at no cost. However, anyone switching from a contract with a third-party supplier may be subject to penalties or early termination fees charged by that supplier. Ratepayers should verify terms before switching.
Two Basic Service rates change twice a year or more, depending on rate class. As a result, the aggregation rate may not always be lower than the Basic Service rate. The goal of the aggregation is to deliver savings over the life of the program against National Grid’s Basic Service. However, such savings and future savings cannot be guaranteed. Residents may also visit colonialpowergroup.com/tewksbury/ or call (866) 485-5858 ext. 1 to learn more about Tewksbury’s Community Choice Power Supply Program or to opt-in or optout. National Grid has several programs to help income-eligible families and customers needing special assistance meet their energy needs.
To learn more visit nationalgridus.com/MAHome/Bill-Help/Payment-Assistance-Programs.