Pittsfield's municipal aggregation program update: rates on track to deliver more savings for residents and business owners

By the end of December 2018, the City of Pittsfield’s municipal aggregation program is on track to deliver a total savings of $565,000 for residents and business owners – a trend of savings that is expected to continue into 2019.

With the City of Pittsfield’s municipal aggregation rates remaining the same – and coming in lower than other supplier rates – the total projected winter savings, from January through June, for all rate classes is expected be $1.3 million in 2019.

Through the city’s municipal aggregation program, also known as the Pittsfield Community Choice Power Supply Program, the city’s electricity supply is locked in at a fixed rate of .09976 cents/kWh now through December 2020. Municipal aggregation leverages the power of group purchasing to negotiate lower prices on electricity bills for the members of the group. There are approximately 16,000 participants, a mix of residents and business owners, in the city’s program, which is the largest in Berkshire County.

The savings projection is based off of last year’s usage from January 2018 through June 2019, according to Colonial Power Group, Inc., which monitors the data for the city’s municipal aggregation program. The projection includes rates for residential, small commercial and industrial, and medium and large commercial and industrial properties.

“This large increase in savings is due to the Mayor and her staff’s long term view of the market. So as Eversource’s Basic Service Rates rise this winter, the consumers in Pittsfield will stay protected given the forward thinking of the City of Pittsfield’s management,” said Mark Cappadona, President of Colonial. “Eversource’s Basic Service rate will increase from $.10003 this summer to $.11678 this winter starting in January. While the consumer in Pittsfield will enjoy the steady local green product that the City of Pittsfield has chosen for municipal aggregation consumers with a fixed rate of $.09976 through the end of December 2020.”

Earlier this month, the state’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved Eversource’s Basic Service rates, which as Cappadona mentioned, remain higher than those offered through the city’s municipal aggregation program. Eversource’s Basic Service rates for the period of Jan. 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 is $0.11678 per kWh for residential users; small commercial and industrial, $0.12355 per kWh; and for medium and large commercial and industrial properties, $0.14839 per kWh.

“The city leadership has protected the community from the basic service price swings and used renewable energy certificates to advance its green initiatives, while creating savings for residents and businesses,” said Cappadona, also referring to the city’s purchase of 25 percent more Solar Renewable Energy Certificates II’s, which was more than what is required by the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Mayor Linda Tyer said the projected savings reflect the program’s success and its long-term impact on the city. The program was approved by the City Council in April 2016, and the city selected NextEra as the program’s primary energy supplier on the basis of lowest price margin.

“A year later, the city’s municipal aggregation program continues to deliver on its promise to provide crucial savings to our hardworking residents and business owners,” said Mayor Tyer. “We know that in these times everything helps, so we’re so pleased to be able to offer our community this vital program, which will also help to create a cleaner and healthier Pittsfield for future generations.”

Additional information is available on the program website at www.colonialpowergroup.com/Pittsfield. Questions or comments can be submitted directly to Pittsfield Community Electricity program consultants at 1-866-485-5858, Ext. 1.