Today, Mayor Michelle Wu announced new, lower electricity rates through Boston’s Community Choice Electricity (CCE) program, and encouraged all customers to choose CCE as their electricity supplier. The new CCE rates were effective in November 2021 and will be in effect until December 2023. All CCE rates will be lower than Eversource’s Basic Service Rate beginning on January 1, 2022, for a period of at least six months. Eversource is the local utility provider in Boston. The average Eversource Basic Service Residential Customer is expected to spend $27 per month more than a customer on the CCE Standard option. You can learn more about switching your electricity supplier here.
“Boston’s Community Choice Electricity program empowers residents and small businesses to save money and choose a greener future for our communities,” said Mayor Wu. “Signing up for this program will help speed the process of Boston becoming a 100% renewable energy city and provide a more affordable option this winter.”
In 2017, then-Councilor Wu and Councilor Matt O’Malley authored legislation authorizing the City of Boston to adopt Community Choice Electricity, which was then unanimously approved by the City Council. Boston’s CCE program – the largest green municipal program in the Commonwealth – launched on February 1, 2021. Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for the program, with all three CCE rates costing less than Eversource Basic Service prices and utilizing more local, renewable energy sources. This step signals the Wu administration’s commitment to making Boston a Green New Deal city that is affordable, accessible, and sustainable for all residents.
The Community Choice Electricity program uses the City’s collective buying power to provide affordable, renewable electricity to Boston’s residents and businesses at a competitive rate. CCE has three options for electricity supply: Optional Basic, Standard, and Optional Green 100. These packages include between 18% and 100% local, renewable energy, and residents are able to choose which electricity rate and renewable energy portfolio works best for them. Eversource continues to serve as the utility delivering electricity to CCE customers, and Eversource also handles customer billing and service, grid maintenance, and power outages.
In November, Eversource filed its proposed new Residential Basic Service rate ($0.15735/kWh) and their Small Business rate ($0.14732/kWh) with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. These rates are the highest they have been in 15 years and will go into effect on January 1, 2022 until June 30, 2022. As the City moves into the winter months, electricity usage is expected to rise. The City of Boston cannot guarantee that the CCE rates will remain lower than Eversource’s Basic Service rates after June 30, 2022. You can find historic basic service prices here.
Some Boston residents and businesses may participate in contracts with third-party suppliers, whose rates tend to be significantly higher than CCE. Competitive electric suppliers often mislead and take advantage of residents, particularly seniors and residents who speak a language other than English, promising them unreliable savings. According to a report from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, over the last five years, third-party suppliers charged Massachusetts residents $426 million more than the general utility would have. The Attorney General’s Office also reported that these suppliers continue to target low-income residents and communities of color, charging them higher rates for their electricity. The report found that all residents in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, East Boston, Hyde Park, Roslindale and Jamaica Plain were heavily targeted, with more than 40% of low-income residents in these neighborhoods signing competitive electric supply contracts. Compare your electricity rates here.
The City is expecting unusually high electricity prices this winter. Take action now by enrolling in Boston’s CCE program. Contact your electric supplier to ensure there are no fees before changing your supplier. Technical support is available from City of Boston experts by scheduling an appointment or calling 617-635-2331. For information from the Attorney General’s Office on the available programs to assist in paying their utility bill click here.
“With this winter’s rising utility costs, we want residents to be wary of scams from third-party electric suppliers and to check their bills to see if they are paying more than they would with the City of Boston or with Eversource,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “We applaud Mayor Wu for calling attention to these important energy cost issues at a time when many are struggling to pay higher rates, and for providing access to affordable renewable energy options for Boston’s residents.”
“This is a huge milestone for increasing the City’s renewable energy and ensuring a resilient and carbon neutral future for Boston residents,” said Chair of the Council’s Environment, Resiliency and Parks Committee Matt O’Malley. “I am proud to see the success of the Community Choice Energy program under the leadership of Mayor Wu and her administration after partnering with her on the legislation at the Council.”
“Community Choice Electricity helps the City fight the climate crisis while growing energy justice in our communities,” said Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. “Residents have the opportunity to reduce their energy costs and our City’s carbon footprint at the same time. I want to thank Mayor Wu for her commitment to ensuring that Boston residents have access to affordable and renewable electricity.”
“Community Choice Electricity is a system that helps reduce energy cost burdens while minimizing the impacts of climate change that disproportionately affect Boston’s most vulnerable residents,” said Lisette Le, Executive Director of VietAID. “This is particularly important in neighborhoods like Fields Corner, where VietAID is located, and where 42% of low-income residents are getting their electricity from third-party suppliers. I am incredibly grateful for Mayor Wu’s leadership in creating CCE and helping our residents to get out of already challenging situations.”
If you are enrolled in Boston Community Choice Electricity, the Current Charges for Electricity section on your Eversource bill will say, “Billing for City of Boston CCE,” and you don’t need to take any further action to benefit from CCE cost savings. If your bill does not say this, you may be receiving your electric supply from a third-party supplier, you may have moved into Boston after the CCE quarterly mailing period, or you may have placed a block on your Eversource account, which does not allow for changes to other suppliers. City of Boston experts can help determine why you are not enrolled in CCE and how to get on the program by scheduling an appointment or calling 617-635-2331.
The Standard CCE rate is the default option for Boston residents. Boston residents may choose to “opt up” to enroll in the Optional Green 100 rate, with 100% of electricity coming from local, renewable energy sources, like solar or wind. By opting up, residents can support the City of Boston in reducing carbon emissions, improving local air quality, and lessening the impacts of the climate crisis in our communities. With Eversource rates increasing for the winter, Community Choice Electricity’s Optional Green 100 plan will be nearly two cents less per kWh than Eversource’s basic residential rate. For average residential users, that is a savings of about $70 over a six month period for 100% renewable content compared to Eversource’s 18%, the state requirement for renewable electricity. Residents may opt up to CCE’s Optional Green 100 at any time.
Mayor Wu’s leadership with Boston’s Community Choice Electricity expands on her Administration’s commitment for a just transition to a green economy and is a key element of Boston’s Green New Deal. Recently, Mayor Wu signed her first ordinance in office to divest City-funds from the fossil fuel, tobacco and private prison industries. Additionally, Mayor Wu outlined steps to reduce vehicle emissions and electrify the City fleet. Mayor Wu also filed an appropriation order with the City Council for $8 million in federal funds to eliminate fares on the 23, 28 and 29 MBTA bus routes for a two-year period.