Lederman, Govan, Perez Shepherd Community Choice Energy Authorization to Passage
The Springfield City Council this Monday night voted unanimously to pass an order introduced by City Council President Jesse Lederman, Sustainability & Environment Committee Chair & Ward 1 City Councilor Maria Perez, and Maintenance and Development Committee Chair & Ward 8 City Councilor Zaida Govan to allow the City of Springfield to begin the process of establishing a Community Choice Energy Aggregation program.
Community Choice Energy Aggregation is a Massachusetts process that allows local communities to assume the responsibility of contracting the supply source of electricity that flows to ratepayers in their municipality.
That local control allows the municipality to prioritize longer-term energy agreements to stabilize the supply side of electricity rates for ratepayers in the community and to negotiate the amount of renewable energy sources that are being supported through the contract.
Currently, over 170 cities and towns in Massachusetts have Community Choice Energy Aggregation plans in place, including Boston and Worcester – however, because Springfield does not have Community Choice Energy Aggregation, our electric utility, Eversource, is in control of the supply contracting.
Under a Community Choice Energy program the energy is still distributed and billed solely through the municipalities energy utility company, and residents and businesses have the option to opt-out of the CCA rate at any time to return to the Eversource rate if they choose to.
“Community Choice Energy Aggregation will allow Springfield to utilize our bulk purchasing power to spur investment in renewable energy and negotiate more stable energy rates for residents,” said City Council President Jesse Lederman “Participating municipalities are already seeing the benefit of giving their residents more options when it comes to their energy supplier. As we continue to navigate volatility in the energy market and the need to expand clean energy sources, this is a tool that we should have available to us in Springfield.”
“As Chair of the Sustainability & Environment Committee I want to thank the community members from the Climate Change, Health, & Equity Committee for the opportunity to be able to work together in addressing one of the most important issues affecting our community: the unstable cost of electricity,” said Ward 1 City Councilor Maria Perez, Chair of the Sustainability & Environment Committee.
“I am proud to be on the cutting edge of instituting an initiative to help stabilize energy costs for our community. I’ve heard from many constituents regarding the month to month increases, and it is time for us to put the concerns of residents over the profits of energy companies,” said Ward 8 City Councilor Zaida Govan, Chair of the Maintenance and Development Committee.
Community Choice Energy Aggregation can also serve as a protection for residents against energy brokers that target individual residential customers with predatory energy contracts.
Prior to the vote hearings were held through the Sustainability and Environment Committee, including presentations by Live Well Springfield’s Climate Change, Health, & Equity Committee, which has been working to build community awareness about Community Choice Energy Aggregation.
The Council’s authorization is the first step in establishing a Community Choice Energy Aggregation Plan. After that, the City is able to move forward with the process of obtaining an energy broker to assist with the negotiation of the energy contract and advise on the most beneficiary timeline for implementation, at the initiative of the Mayor.
Final CCA approvals are required from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.