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Swampscott residents prefer renewable energy

SWAMPSCOTT — The town’s new energy provider promises to use more sustainable energy and save residents money. 

The contract with Agera Energy, as part of the Community Choice Power program, expired and the town has replaced it with a 28-month contract with Direct Energy, which will begin in July. Since the program’s inception in 2016, it has helped residents save more than $676,000 on electricity costs, according to Marzie Galazka, the town’s Community and Economic Development director. 

“I think it’s great that our residents are able to purchase cleaner energy,” she said. “With concerns about climate change, this shows the town’s commitment to utilize more sustainable energy practices.” 

The program is a group electricity purchasing program that gives residents the option to go with a town-vetted alternative to National Grid’s basic service, at no cost to the town, according to Galazka. For residents who choose to participate in the program, the basic price stays constant while the National Grid prices are allowed to fluctuate and change every six months.

Galazka said the clean energy program serves more than twice as many customers as National Grid’s Basic service and all competitive electricity suppliers combined. Nearly 69 percent of Swampscott residents and businesses participate in the program, 13 percent stayed with National Grid and 18 percent opted to purchase energy from other competitive suppliers.

“By providing a longer-term fixed price, Swampscott is protecting customers from National Grid’s seasonal price swings,” she said. 

Those already enrolled with the program with the former energy company will automatically be signed up under the new contract with Direct Energy, said Galazka. Residents who have their own supplier agreement or chose to opt out of the previous contract will not be automatically enrolled in the new contract, but they may be added to an enrollment waiting list by contacting the town’s program consultants at 1-844-483-5004 or swampscott@masspowerchoice.com. 

With a new contract, there will be program changes to reflect changes in the electricity market, Galazka said. 

The program changes include: 

  • Standard Green, the default program offering, will include 5 percent additional renewable electricity from renewable energy projects in New England, over and above the 14 percent minimum required by state law in 2019, as well as 81 percent wind energy from outside of New England. The price for Standard Green will change to 11.444 cents/kWh. 
  • New England Green, an option that is available upon request, will continue to provide 100 percent renewable electricity as before, but now 100 percent of that electricity will come from renewable energy projects in New England. The New England Green price will change to 13.499 cents/kWh. 
  • Basic, another option that is available upon request, does not include any additional renewable energy above the 14 percent minimum that is required by state law and will continue to meet that minimum standard with the new contract. The Basic price will change to 11.244 cents/kWh. 

“The Swampscott Community Power program is an increasingly strategic program for the town,” said Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald in a statement. “As a coastal community with a first-hand view of the impact of climate change, we are firmly committed to moving strategically toward more sustainable energy practices. The Swampscott Community Power program allows us to offer our residents a great value while supporting some of the most environmentally responsible investments through the program, we are not only providing long-term, stable electricity pricing for Swampscott residents and businesses, but we are now also increasing the demand for renewable electricity on the New England power grid.” 

 

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