Haverhill Switches Residents to Alternative Energy Supplier; City Tried Similar Savings Plan in 2015

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Orlando Pacheco, energy adviser, rolled out Haverhill’s first program in 2015. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill residents began receiving notices late last week the city has enrolled them with an alternative electricity provider.

Notices said energy rates begin lower than current supply rates offered by the utility, National Grid, but residents have until Monday Oct. 26 to “opt out” of the program. After the mailing went out, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini issued a statement, saying households will see the change on December bills.

“Given the current economic conditions, and knowing there are many residents who have suffered temporary and permanent job losses, I am particularly pleased to be relaunching this program as it is designed to provide lower overall costs on a necessary service,” Fiorentini said. His statement added, the arrangement is expected to reduce local electric bills by 6 percent over the time period.

This is not the first time the city has taken advantage of the ability to act as an agent for residents. Back in 2015, the city contracted with supplier Hampshire Power, of Northampton to supply Haverhill residents and businesses already on National Grid’s default plan. When the utility’s basic rates became competitive, the city quietly dropped its “aggregation” program. Fiorentini told councilors during the fall of 2015 the city chose only a one-year agreement then because of the risk of price changes.

“What I wanted to avoid is what several other cities that have gone into aggregations have experienced. They locked in rates for a long period of time—five years—and then they discovered that energy rates don’t always go up. Sometimes they go down and that’s what happened with, you know, the miracle of shale and natural gas. Rates have gone down on many occasions so we now have cities in aggregations where the consumers are paying more than they pay had they never done anything. So we wanted to avoid that and that was the main reason we locked in for a year,” Fiorentini said.

This time, the mayor’s statement, said Haverhill is expected to save electricity customers $3.5 million over a three-year agreement with Colonial Power Group.

Colonial Power Group President Mark Cappadona added, “The Haverhill Community Choice Program provides local control, the strength of buying in bulk and competition, which combine to help lower the burden of energy costs for Haverhill ratepayers.” According to its website, Colonial Power Group has similar arrangements with Methuen, North Andover, Newburyport, Salisbury and Lowell.

Residents may learn more during the City Council meeting of Tuesday, Oct. 6, broadcast live by 97.9 WHAV, or at colonialpowergroup.com/haverhill.

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