Nantucket Islanders in Massachusetts who have crusaded for lower energy bills now have a new choice for retail electric supply — one that will save them money, according to town officials, The Cape Cod Times reports.
After town meeting approval last year, Nantucket, an isolated enclave off Cape Cod, now has signed a 12-month contract with Agera Energy of Briarcliff Manor, New York, to supply electricity to customers at 9.03 cents per kWh.
Currently, residents and businesses are serviced by National Grid, which still will deliver the town’s electricity, handle billing, and respond to power outages. Customers will automatically be enrolled in the Agera retail energy program, but can stay with the National Grid’s basic service if they choose to opt out of the new program.
Customers will have two options in the Agera program, which is slated to start this month:
- The standard choice option, which includes the fixed price of 9.03 per kWh hour, or
- The “green” choice, which will provide 100 percent of the energy through regional and national wind projects at 9.576 cents per kWh.
Both of those prices are lower than National Grid’s current price of 9.78 cents per kWh, The Cade Cod Times reported..
Fully 32 percent of the green power will be coming from New England wind projects, said Marlana Patton, a spokesperson for the Boston-based Peregrine Energy Group, the consulting firm hired by the town.
“Since National Grid residential and commercial prices change twice a year or more, depending on rate class, the fixed program rate may not always be below the National Grid Basic Service price,” said Lauren Sinatra, town Energy coordinator. “However, the program goal is to deliver annual savings when compared against the National Grid’s average Basic Service prices across all 12 months of the new supply contract.”
National Grid spokesperson Robert Kievra wrote in an email to the newspaper that the utility company will commit the same level of service to all customers, no matter which supplier they choose.
“National Grid doesn’t take a position on competitive supply, whether individually or through municipal aggregation,” he wrote. “We encourage customers to consider all available energy supply options and determine which one best meets their needs.”
“We encourage customers to read the fine print and understand the terms of their power supply contract, including whether prices are fixed or subject to change and whether there are any early termination fees,” he wrote.
The program is similar to the aggregation portion of the Cape Light Compact – a nationally recognized energy services organization operated by the 21 towns and two counties on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.–, but the town, at the moment, does not plan to pursue other services provided by the compact.
“Nantucket does not plan to provide the energy-efficiency programs that the Cape Light Compact provides,” Sinatra said. “However, the town of Nantucket may chose, at a future time, to charge an operational adder to fund a local solar rebate program, which would be overseen by the aggregation committee, subject to Board of Selectmen approval.”
Sinatra said one lesson Nantucket has learned by looking at electricity aggregations from across the state, including the Cape Light Compact, is that “aggregations often do best with shorter-term contracts in order to stay in closer alignment with market prices, and that is what Nantucket has done.”
The town can re-evaluate the program at the end of the 12 months.