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Greenfield one step away from bulk rate electricity

Recorder/Peter MacDonald
Greenfield Mayor William Martin in his office in the town hall

Recorder/Peter MacDonald Greenfield Mayor William Martin in his office in the town hall

GREENFIELD — The town is one step away from being able to offer itself, its businesses and its residents electricity at bulk rates.

The state Department of Energy Resources has approved Greenfield’s plans to buy electricity at bulk rates and pass the savings on to its residents and businesses.

Mayor William Martin has been working on forming the municipal aggregation for almost four years.

Martin said the town will buy electricity at bulk rates and sell it to businesses and residents. He said all residents will automatically be signed up, but will be able to opt out, if they choose.

He said the savings to residents and businesses might only be 50 cents to $2 a month, but there will be other benefits, including the opportunity for them to choose “greener” power at lower prices than they would probably receive on their own.

Martin said the only step left is to present the plan to the state’s Department of Public Utilities for approval. He said he expects to receive that approval by spring.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Martin, who said there will be no change in the way businesses and residents are billed or in how they receive service from Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

“The company will have direct communications with all of its customers,” said Martin.

The mayor said only electricity will be purchased, not gas or heating oil.

“This is simply a way for residents and businesses to purchase the power they want through the town,” said Martin.

Martin said the municipal aggregation is not being created to offer “sweetheart” deals to anyone. He said there will be fixed pricing for individuals, businesses and industries.

“The goal is to increase the amount of electricity generated by town projects so everyone’s bills will be lower and dependence on energy from foreign and environmentally degrading sources will decrease,” said Martin.

According to town officials, based on data provided by WMECO on electricity use in Greenfield, the total use for an entire year has been about $4.1 million in supply costs alone. That does not include delivery costs.

Commercial use, which includes municipal, state and federal accounts located Greenfield, totals about 69,887 megawatt hours, and industrial accounts add an additional 14,183 megawatt hours.

There are about 8,000 residential electricity accounts with WMECO in Greenfield and more than 1,000 commercial accounts. There are about 30 industrial accounts.

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