80% of CCE Programs in Massachusetts Offer Reduced Electrical Costs

CCE

(Credit: UMass)

by | Feb 8, 2023

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CCE

(Credit: UMass)

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have found that nearly 80% of Community Choice Energy Aggregation (CCE) programs instituted by municipalities in Massachusetts offer reduced electrical costs. Additionally, 60% of standard CCE packages are rated “green,” with a higher percentage of renewable energy certificates than required by the Commonwealth.

CCE programs are energy procurement programs that allow local governments to aggregate the electricity loads of residents, businesses, and municipal facilities to procure their energy supply at competitive market prices. Massachusetts is one of only eight states across the country to have enacted CCE legislation, with such programs adopted by 157 of Massachusetts’ 351 municipalities as of November 2021.

These findings are detailed in a new report released by the UMass Amherst Sustainable Policy Lab, which examined the various opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation of CCE aggregation programs across the Bay State using data collected between 2019-22. 

Results of the study show that 79% of municipalities achieved savings compared to utilities’ monthly basic service rates, with an average amount of savings corresponding to 0.88 cents per kWh, or about $93 per household, per year. “The savings for these municipalities amount to about $70 million per year, in total,” says Marta Vicarelli, assistant professor of economics and public policy at UMass Amherst and principal investigator of the study, which assessed municipal officials’ responses to interviews, focus groups, and an online survey. 

Vicarelli’s team also found that 30% of standard CCE packages not only exceed the Massachusetts renewable energy requirement but also contain 100% of renewable energy certificates, while 89% of municipalities with contracts exceeding state renewable energy level requirements achieved savings corresponding to about $33,500,000 per year in total.

In addition to outlining benefits, the report also details some of the challenges that municipalities faced when instituting CCE programs, the most frequently reported of which being delays associated with approval from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). Some municipalities had to wait more than one year for the DPU approval, the researchers found. Smaller municipalities were more likely to have experienced difficulties associated with information acquisition toward the creation of CCE programs and understanding or interpreting state regulations associated with CCEs.

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