Aggregation FAQs

What is Community Choice Aggregation?

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a program that enables a town government to procure electricity from a supplier other than its utility provider (National Grid, EverSource). Through aggregation, towns may negotiate a contract that can offer lower and more stable electricity rates as well as options that increase the proportion of green electricity consumers receive.


What do you mean by "green electricity"?

In Massachusetts, green electricity (Class I RECs) is defined as electricity produced from renewable sources such as solar, wind, small hydro, digester gas, or geothermal on the New England power grid from a source built after 1997. Class I RECs certify the “greenness” of the electricity you buy and help drive the transition to a decarbonized grid in New England.

Would setting up a community aggregation be complicated for a town like Shutesbury?

No. As of May 2022, over half of the households in the Commonwealth were served by municipal aggregation, including towns smaller than Shutesbury.


Who pays for setting up and running a CCA?

Towns often engage an energy broker to help set up the CCA at no expense to the town.  Energy brokers are usually paid a small commission on the total electricity purchased in the plan, usually around $0.001 per kWh.


What happens if the power goes out? Who would I call?

Existing utilities (National Grid, Eversource) continue to own and operate the power grid, address outages, and provide billing and customer services.


How would CCA affect my electricity bill?

Participants would see a change only in the cost being charged for energy supply, with the name of the providing vendor noted clearly. Everyone would continue to receive a single bill and make one payment.


How does CCA affect households that have net metering?

Households with net metering will still receive credits. Households would receive credit at the utility’s Basic Service Rate. Household would pay for electricity at the chosen aggregation rate.


How does CCA affect fuel assistance program participants?

Customers continue to get all benefits that are delivered by National Grid or Eversource. Should a customer be on the low-income rate they continue to receive that benefit (% discount) from the utility. If the customer benefits from the Farm discount or receives budget billing, those benefits also stay in place with aggregation.


Does the program require that people join?

No. People can opt out at any time (nationally, only 3-5% do this).


Other than opting out, what kind of choices would CCA provide?

CCA would offer a base rate that meets the current MA requirement for renewable energy. CCA would also provide additional supply options that utilize more green electricity, including up to 100% green electricity.


If the CCA provides electricity supply choice options, when in the process of setting up a CCA program are the choices established?

Since prices are dependent on the market at the time of bidding, this stage is relatively late in the process. After a town agrees to consider CCA, a broker is selected. Supply options are determined in a meeting between the Select Board and broker. The Select Board would receive and review bids at this stage and then can choose a supplier or reject the bids. See a list of steps for setting up a CCA later in this FAQ.


What can we say about supply options and prices in advance of the bidding stage?

The Energy and Climate Action Committee (ECAC) recommends the following strategy for establishing choice options from the market:

  • Choice 1: A CCA Basic Rate that meets the current MA requirements for renewable energy. Based on the experience of other towns, ECAC expects this rate would represent a cost savings, coming in lower than what households currently pay their utility.
  • Choice 2: [Default] A CCA Green Plus 10-20% Rate. This rate would seek to match the National Grid Basic Rate in price but increase the proportion of green electricity. This option would be the new default for the town, providing greener electricity at the same price households currently pay (with no fluctuations) for the life of the contract.
  • Choice 3: 100% Green Rate


Many people in Shutesbury are concerned about clear-cutting forests to site solar arrays. Is it possible to specify that Class I RECs come from responsibly-sited solar?

Aggregation is about local control and flexibility. Shutesbury could request that Class I REC’s from solar be sourced from reclaimed brownfields or similar, degraded lands.

How does a municipality typically create a municipal aggregation? What are the steps?

  1. Town initiates research
  2. Select Board drafts the warrant article
  3. Town votes on whether to authorize the CCA at a town meeting
  4. If approved, town issues a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an energy broker
  5. Broker develops an aggregation plan with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  6. Plan is posted publicly for 30 days
  7. Select Board votes on whether to approve the aggregation plan
  8. If approved, broker submits the aggregation plan to the Department of Public Utilities
  9. The broker meets with the Select Board to establish program options
  10. The broker issues RFP for a competitive supplier
  11. The Select Board chooses a supplier or rejects the bids
  12. Execute contract with supplier
  13. Notify customers (detailing opt out options – by mail)
  14. Begin automatic enrollment