Switching your energy supply

Switching to competitive energy

City of Cambridge Community Electricity Aggregation

The City of Cambridge launched the Cambridge Community Electricity program in June 2017 to bring the benefits of renewable energy and electricity choice to its residents and businesses. The program offers residents and small businesses more solar electricity by creating a new local solar project. Following the completion of an 18-month contract with Agera Energy, the City selected Direct Energy as the program's electricity supplier, effective January 2019. The contract with Direct Energy will continue through January 2021, with fixed electricity prices throughout the contract's duration. 

The Cambridge Community Electricity Program offers residents and businesses two electricity options, Standard Green and 100% Green Plus. Both options are less expensive than Eversource Basic Service rates through June 2019 (Eversource rates change every six months). Residents and small businesses are automatically enrolled in the Standard Green option and can opt-out of the program or upgrade to 100% Green Plus at anytime.

Switch to 100% Green Plus Today!

Through 100% Green Plus, residents or businesses receive 100% renewable energy and contribute to a new local solar project. To switch options, call Direct Energy at
1-866-968-8065 or visit masspowerchoice.com/cambridge/100-green. Have your Eversource account number ready to enroll.

For more additional information about the Cambridge Community Electricity Program, visit: masspowerchoice.com/cambridge

Read a full description of the Cambridge Municipal Electricity Aggregation Plan.

Watch CCTV's "Not for Nothin'" segment on the Cambridge Community Electricity Program

Competitive Supply

It is possible to choose a competitive electricity supplier to deliver your electricity, but the terms and conditions of cancellation depend on the contract you sign with the competitive supplier. Eversource owns the power lines that deliver electricity to your house so they remain your distribution company and continue to bill you. You will simply notice a different supplier (and supply price) on your bill.

Learn more about how competitive supply works on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website here, and also see this informational document.

While choosing your own competitive electricity supplier is legal, many companies have recently been deceptive in whom they claim they represent.

If someone comes to your door saying they are from the City of Cambridge or Eversource be very wary and call Eversource and/or the non-emergency police (617/349-3300) to confirm the person's identity. 

If someone misrepresents themselves as from the City or Eversource please contact the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the Cambridge Consumer's Council, and Cambridge Energy Planner Meghan Shaw to report their deceptive business practices. Try to capture the name of the deceptive company and the name of the deceptive representative.

DPU Consumer Division
(617) 737-2836
DPUConsumer.Complaints@state.ma.us
 
Cambridge Consumers Council
617-349-6150
consumer@cambridgema.gov
Meghan Shaw
617/349-5323

You can get information about the City's official Community Electricity program by calling our supplier 1-866-968-8065 or visiting: http://masspowerchoice.com/cambridge

Risks of Competitive Supply

We advise residents to thoroughly educate themselves about a competitive supplier before signing a contract.

Many competitive suppliers claim to include renewable energy as part of their energy mix. However, these claims may not always be taken at face value. Often, competitive suppliers can offer a lower rate because they are producing electricity more cheaply, but using a dirtier fuel like coal, and then mixing it with inexpensive renewables like Midwest wind energy. Other suppliers promise renewable energy, but may deliver energy that you might not consider renewable, like biomass. Other suppliers provide renewable electricity through RECs (renewable energy certificates) and there is some controversy about whether REC's actually increase the amount of renewables on the grid because, in some areas of the country, wind farms are inexpensive to build and many argue they would be built regardless of RECs. If you are interested in supporting renewable energy generation, see the Green Energy Consumers FAQs to learn how you can have a significant biggest impact.

Eversource has discontinued its green power program and we encourage Cambridge residents to switch to Cambridge Community Electricity 100% renewable plan by calling 866-968-8065.

Confirm that the renewable energy you are buying is in addition to the State of MA RPS mandated amount. Currently, the 2018 RPS Class I requirement is 13 percent, and is set to increase by one percent each year  until 2020. From 2020 to 2030, the RPS will increase by 2% each year for ten years. You can verify the type of renewables being sold by your supplier at the Green-e website and compare the fuel mix to Eversource’s. 

Read more about the risks of competitive supply in this article (or just read part one of the article, on understanding energy costs, here). Although the article is written for Melrose residents, much of it pertains to Cambridge residents.

As with all consumer products, you should read contracts carefully. Some rates are month-to-month variable, while other rates are fixed for 6 to 12 months. Often a fixed rate reverts to variable rate after six (6) months unless you sign a new fixed rate contract and companies do not have to notify you that the fixed rate term is ending.

The cheapest and most effective way to save money on your utility bills is to invest in energy efficiency, either on your own or using the Mass Save program. Learn more about how to improve your home’s energy efficiency at the Cambridge Energy Alliance website.

Switching to Natural Gas

While not as sustainable as renewable energy resources, cleaner energy can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas produces 27% less carbon dioxide than heating fuel oil and natural gas is generally less expensive. So switching to natural gas is helpful in reducing green house gas emissions though it is not without serious environmental impacts.

For More Information

For more information on competitive supply and green power purchasing in general, contact Meghan Shaw, mshaw@cambridgema.gov, 617/349-5323. 

For more information on the City's Community Electricity program, please call our supplier at 866-968-8065 or visit: http://masspowerchoice.com/cambridge