While the cost of electricity is expected to skyrocket this winter, some Haverhill residents will be spared from an increase in their monthly bill because of a plan enacted by the city two years ago.
The Energy Aggregation Plan bundles electrical users into a group who then look for a better rate by buying in bulk. Mayor James J. Fiorentini gave an overview to the City Council Tuesday night.
“An Energy Aggregation Plan is: we put all of the residential electric consumers into a bucket, then go out to bid and says if we bundle all of them together, could we get a lower electric rate?” he explained.
The mayor said, while the plan has backfired at times, this year, with rates expected to increase by as much as 61%, Haverhill residents in the plan have locked in a rate of 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour—a figure that will likely translate to a savings of more than $200 per month.
Stunned by that figure, Haverhill City Council President Timothy J. Jordan asked the city’s Energy Consultant Orlando Pacheco if the difference in cost would really be that high for the average consumer.
“It is, but you are also dealing with an unusual rate climate. On a monthly use of 1,200 kilowatts per month, the variance developed between the two programs is $276,” he replied
Pacheco said the 10.8 cents per kilowatt rate is locked in through November of 2023, while National Grid’s rate will be closer to 32 cents per kilowatt hour.
Since announcing the Aggregation Plan last week, the mayor said his office has been flooded with calls from residents asking if they are part of the plan. Pacheco said that information is on monthly electric bills.
“On page two of your electric bill, there will be a section that says Other Supplier Services. If it says Residents Energy Haverhill Aggregation, you are in the program,” he said.
Pacheco said those with National Grid’s Basic Service listed, may still go on to the website Colonialpowergroup.com/Haverhill, click on the “Opt In” button and, within two billing cycles, be enrolled in the program. However, those who have contracted previously with a separate supplier contract may face penalties for opting out. Those affected must check the specifics of their plans. He also advised those residents to call 311 or the mayor’s office to figure out the best way to proceed.
Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan pointed out, when the program was introduced initially, residents were told if they did not actively opt out of the program they would automatically be enrolled, meaning most residents should still be part of the plan.
Pacheco went on to say although these rates are fixed through November of next year, the city will begin negotiations for new rates in April or May because that is the time of year usage is at its lowest point and suppliers are more willing to come in at a lower rate. He also warned that electric rates could still increase somewhat between now and the end of the contract because, although the supply rate is fixed, National Grid could increase its distribution and transmission charges during that time.