Wu Touts Boston's New "Community Choice" Electricity Rates

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is encouraging city residents and businesses to enlist in the state's largest municipal electricity aggregation program, announcing new rates that City Hall says will cost less than Eversource's basic rate and support more renewable energy.

The new rates under Boston's Community Choice Electricity (BCCE) program will take effect in December 2023 and last until December 2025, using a new contracted supplier, Direct Energy, City Hall said on Monday. Eversource's winter rates will begin on Jan. 1, 2024.

The Wu administration said that rates offered under all three BCCE programs will be lower than Eversource rates for at least seven months. The city can't make longer-term guarantees because local utilities change their rates twice a year.

However, City Hall noted that BCCE Standard rates have been lower than Eversource Basic rates since the program launched in 2021, with the average resident using 600 kilowatt hours of electricity a month on BCCE Standard expected to save nearly $15 a month compared to the Eversource base rate. In the first six months of 2023, the average BCCE Standard household saved $340 compared to Eversource Basic.

The BCCE program includes three options for electricity supply: Optional Basic, Standard (default), and Optional Green 100. Wu's office said Monday that the city has increased the renewable energy content in the Standard product by an additional 15 percent beyond the state's required renewable portfolio standard, increasing the total renewable energy content in the default product to 39 percent.

Eversource continues to serve as the electric utility for BCCE customers, handling customer billing and service, grid maintenance, and power outages. Residents and business owners can opt between the three BCCE programs or out of BCCE at any time with no penalties.

"I'm excited to announce the new electricity rates through Boston's Community Choice Electricity program -- allowing Boston residents to further reduce utility bills as they support clean energy options," Wu said. "This program is an important part of the City's efforts to serve constituents through affordable, environmentally-friendly initiatives and also accelerate progress toward our carbon neutrality goals.”

The city urged residents to explore pricing options. Eversource's proposed new Residential Basic Service rate ($0.17251/kWh) is slightly higher than the BCCE Optional Green 100 (100 percent renewable energy) rate of $0.17195/kWh. The Optional Basic (24 percent renewable energy) rate is $0.14205/kWh and the BCCE Standard (39 percent renewable energy) is $0.14805/kWh.

Written by Michael P. Norton/SHNS

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