PLYMPTON– On Monday, August 8, the Plympton Board of Selectmen handled a brief agenda. The main item was a presentation from Colonial Power Group on community choice aggregation.
Brian Murphy, of Colonial Power, an electricity aggregation consultant, presented a detailed plan on how an electricity aggregation program might work in Plympton. The town voted at last town meeting to adopt the statute into the by-laws allowing for such a program, but it must be administered by a consultant. Colonial Power was suggested by the Old Colony Planning Counsel.
Community choice aggregation is a buying group organized usually by one municipality (but occasionally a group of municipalities) in order to reduce the cost of electricity for customers in that buying group. It originated in the late 1990’s with the Massachusetts Utility Deregulation Act of 1997.
All customers in Plympton would be part of the program, unless they opt-out. Colonial Power, if chosen as the consultant, would notify customers of the change and their chance to opt-out. NSTAR would still deliver the electricity, bill the customer and maintain lines. About 1/3 Massachusetts communities have aggregation in place.
Advocates say the benefits are choice, stability and savings to customers.
“We’ve never had a CCA program where prices have gone up for customers,” said Murphy.
The next step is for the Selectmen to adopt an aggregation plan, followed by several steps at the state level handled by the consultant.
Murphy mentioned some concerns that residents might have with CCA. One is that tax-dollars would be used. No tax dollars are used, he said. Also, rate-payers can opt-out, but as well, with Colonial they can opt-in and opt-out at any time, which is beyond what state law requires.
He said that if the selectmen choose Colonial, there will be ample question and answer sessions to explain what is exactly going on with rate-payers power.