Northfield electricity aggregation awaiting DPU approval

Staff Writer
Published: 11/6/2019 10:27:45 PM

NORTHFIELD — Though the Energy Committee has selected an electricity aggregator to help Northfield focus on providing greener energy, it is waiting on the go-ahead from the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to start working with the selected company.

During Annual Town Meeting in May 2018, Northfield voted to join a Franklin County electricity aggregation effort. According to a statement from the Energy Committee, released on the Northfield town website, the group of towns reviewed proposals and selected Colonial Power Group as the aggregator.

“We are waiting for the DPU to release our application so the Colonial Power Group can help estimate what various options are available,” said Susan O’Connor, co-chair of the Energy Committee.

According to the Energy Committee, electricity aggregation is the bulk purchase of electricity for a town on behalf of residential and small business customers. Electricity aggregation was authorized in 1997 by Mass General Law Chapter 164, Section 134.

In its statement, the Energy Committee said an aggregation will provide Northfield with more local control of purchasing, so the town can purchase greener electricity. By opting into a green municipal aggregation for electricity, Northfield will help meet the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act goal of 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050.

Colonial Power Group submitted an aggregation plan with the state Department of Public Utilities in fall 2018. In its statement, the Energy Committee said it typically takes around 10 months for approval, with an update having been expected at this time of year. However, nothing has been received.

If approved, Northfield will join the Franklin Regional Council of Governments towns of Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, New Salem, Shelburne, Shutesbury and Warwick for the regional aggregation contract.

“Everyone will get a notice that we have aggregated, and that letter will come from Eversource,” O’Connor explained.

This notice will provide residents with the choice to opt out of the aggregation or opt for additional green power. If residents do nothing, they will be placed in the default option for the aggregation.

Should they remain in the aggregation, residents will still receive their bill from, and send payment to, Eversource. Even if it results in a slightly higher bill, O’Connor said the Energy Committee hopes Northfield residents will be willing to pay a little extra for the green energy option. However, if enough people opt to join the aggregation, it could create an economy of scale and potentially lower prices.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.




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