Energy Aggregation FAQs

Energy Aggregation Frequently-Asked Questions

Who is eligible for this program?

Anyone that receives Standard Offer Service electricity supply from National Grid is eligible for automatic enrollment in the program’s standard product. This typically includes the vast majority of residents and small businesses in a municipality.  

If you have already selected your own electricity supplier other than National Grid, you may join the program but you will not be eligible for automatic enrollment.  

Why are we proposing a program that automatically enrolls me and then allows me to “Opt-Out”. Why not use an “Opt-In” program? 

When soliciting bids for an energy supplier, having more expected participating residents and businesses in the program will allow bidders to offer a larger discount on their bid rates.  Using an “Opt-In” program would result in a much smaller number of participating residents and businesses than an “Opt-Out” program and would likely result in a higher bid price. 

Can’t I negotiate with suppliers on my own?

You certainly can and many residents and businesses have negotiated their own supplier agreements.  But, aggregating a customer base by the Town provides for a more powerful market that will likely result in a lower price for the program. 

What is a Standard Product?

The standard product is the program’s electricity supply in which eligible residents and business would be automatically enrolled, unless you select an optional product in the program or elect to opt-out of the program. 

The program’s proposed standard product has twin goals of 1) costing the same or less than National Grid’s Standard Offer Service supply and 2) including additional renewable energy, above the State of RI’s minimum requirements.   

For background, the State of RI requires every electricity supply to have a minimum amount of renewable energy.  In 2021, that amount will be about 18%. By 2035, that requirement will increase to about 38%.   Based on the way the Town plan is currently written, we expect the standard product will have an extra 10% renewable energy. In 2021, this would mean that the standard product would have a total of 28% renewable energy.  

What are the Optional Products?

The plan includes three optional products, designed with varying levels of renewable energy. 

  • “Basic” – This includes just the State of RI’s minimum renewable energy

  • “Local Green 50%” – adds 50% renewable energy

  • “Local Green 100%” – adds 100% renewable energy

     

How long would the Town be committed to the program?

Often, the longer the agreement term the better price could be offered. It is expected the Town would receive bids for terms of 1, 2 or 3 years.  Longer terms would result in more risk if energy prices fall.  The Town, working with its energy consultant, would conduct an analysis of long-term energy forecast to determine the best contract term and price.

What if I have a current agreement for an energy supplier?

You would not be eligible for automatic enrollment in the program, but you could elect to join the program voluntarily. We recommend that you check the specific contract you signed before joining the Town’s program. Different contracts have different termination clauses and you would have to examine your individual contract. One option would be that after the termination of your current contract, you could opt into the Town’s program.

Would this impact any payments or incentives I get for solar panels on my house?

No, incentives for solar panels, like net metering or the Renewable Energy Growth program, will continue unchanged.

When would this all happen?

On June 22, 2020, the Town Council directed the Town Administrator to come up with a plan. The plan is available for review at  https://www.portsmouthri.com/1619/Energy-Aggregation .  A public hearing is set for August 11, 2020 at 7 PM at the Portsmouth Town Council Zoom meeting. Watch www.portsmouthri.com for the meeting agenda and zoom details.  If approved, the plan will be sent to RI Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Upon PUC approval (anticipated late fall 2020), the Town would solicit suppler bids, conduct a public education campaign and ultimately sign an energy supply contract. The contract would take effect on the next energy bill (anticipated early 2021).