Submitted by Suzy Enos
As described in the first story in this series (click to read it), Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) provides the ability for a community to buy electricity in bulk at cheaper rates than individuals can get on their own.
Many local towns have taken advantage of this capability and Bedford can too!
There are a number of steps a community must follow to take advantage of Community Choice Aggregation.
- Residents approve a warrant article to pursue CCA at Town Meeting
- Town selects and engages a broker to negotiate on behalf of the residents/businesses for a better rate
- Residents/businesses review possible contract options and provide feedback
- Selectmen evaluate the feedback and choose to sign one of the contract options, or can choose not to pursue CCA if no attractive options are presented
- If a contract is signed, residents and businesses are given a period to opt out
- When contract kicks in, residents and businesses that have not opted out or do not already have a contract are switched over to the CCA contract
- Residents or businesses can opt in or out without penalty or fee
As it happens, the forward thinking citizens of Bedford approved pursuing CCA at a Town Meeting vote in 1998! At the time, the concept was new. Finding brokers and energy suppliers was not easy and the initiative lost steam. The market is now well developed with many towns in our region adopting CCA to both save money and reduce climate change impact by choosing renewable power such as solar and wind.
At the Selectmen’s meeting on December 7, 2015, the Bedford Energy Task Force (BETF) asked the Selectmen to endorse a new pursuit of this goal. The Selectmen agreed and brokers are being evaluated.
Bedford is part of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), a planning agency with a goal of regional collaboration. MAPC was an early proponent of CCA, with the specific intent of displacing fossil fuel use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing energy options which meet Class I Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), generators bring on line new sources of clean energy – ultimately reshaping our energy grid.
MAPC has recently run a procurement exercise to select a preferred energy broker for the member towns of the MAPC. This provides an advantage to the 101 towns in the Metropolitan region, using their professional staff to request and evaluate proposals from multiple brokers. The Bedford Energy Task Force has reviewed the selected submission from Good Energy (https://www.goodenergy.com ). The BETF recommended acceptance of the Good Energy proposal to the Selectmen. The company has one of the longest track records of bringing electricity savings to cities and towns. They will also use the power of multiple towns going to bid at the same time to get us a better deal than we might expect for our town size.
A presentation on Community Choice Aggregation will be given by Mark Mullins, Chair of the Bedford Energy Task Force as part of the Committee Reports at Annual Town Meeting on Monday night. There will also be a table outside the auditorium with people to answer questions about CCA.
Community Choice Aggregation is a program meant to benefit members of the community. The Town of Bedford wants those in the community to understand the program and have an opportunity to voice their opinions. Similar to the feedback sessions for The Great Road Master Plan or the Coast Guard Housing, there will be sessions to gather input on Community Choice Aggregation. When the sessions are planned, postings will be made on the Town web site, on the Bedford Yahoo group and in local papers. All are invited to come and share their thoughts.
The Town of Bedford has many competing priorities. If this initiative is important to you, let your elected officials know.