Municipal aggregation is allowed under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 164 Section 134. More than 140 cities and towns in Massachusetts—including Brookline, Arlington, Melrose, Stoneham, and Winchester—already have active electricity aggregation programs, and other nearby communities are actively pursuing similar programs.
Under a municipal aggregation program, like Arlington Community Electricity, all customers receiving Eversource Basic Service are automatically transitioned to the aggregation’s chosen supply product. However, before the aggregation begins, all customers must be given the chance to stay with Eversource Basic Service, known as “opting out”.
In 2016, Town Meeting authorized the creation of a community choice aggregation program in Arlington, and the Town then selected consultant Good Energy, L.P. to assist with all aspects of program implementation. The Town developed a draft aggregation plan and solicited public comment. As required by law, the plan was reviewed with the MA Department of Energy Resources and then sent to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for review. DPU approved the plan in April 2017. At the outset, the program was known as Arlington Community Choice Aggregation (Arlington CCA).
Read the 2017 Arlington Aggregation Plan here
The Town conducted a competitive bid for electricity supply and secured its first supply contract starting in August 2017. The contract was with supplier Dynegy for a 28 month fixed-price contract. This contract had a standard (default) product with 5% more MA Class I renewable energy above the State’s minimum requirements. The contract also had optional products with 50% and 100% extra renewable energy, as well as no extra renewable energy.
Future savings cannot be guaranteed because future Basic Service rates are unknown.
For the entire two-and-a-half years of its first contract, Arlington Local Green had a cost that was lower than Eversource’s Basic Service for residential and small business customers.
Products described as Green contain renewable electricity above that required by state law. The additional renewable electricity qualifies for MA Class I designation and comes only from solar, wind, anaerobic digestion and low-impact hydro located within New England. Local refers to New England.
Arlington conducted another competitive bid to secure a successor contract, which began in December 2019 and lasts for 30 months through the meter read in November 2022 with Direct Energy as the supplier. In this contract, Arlington more than doubled the amount of extra MA Class I renewable energy it includes, from 5% to 11%.
In summer of 2020, the Town renamed the program from Arlington Community Choice Aggregation to Arlington Community Electricity (ACE). It’s the same program, with a new name to convey the program’s purpose and Town-affiliation more clearly.