Community Choice Energy: Implementation finally under way


With the naming of a new Chief of the Environment, Energy, and Open Space Department at City Hall in July 2018, there is finally movement to begin the implementation process for Community Choice Energy (CCE), which the City Council unanimously voted for almost exactly a year ago. CCE has been proven to be the single most effective way for municipalities to aggregate their electricity buying to stabilize rates and increase access to renewable energy for residents of all incomes. WRSE has been very active in the effort to bring CCE to Boston, and we are pleased that Chief Cook has issued an RFQ for a consultant to design and carry out the CCE program, the long-awaited first step in implementation; RFQ responses are due October 10. Stay tuned.


Jan. 2018 Update: Implementation Process

On Jan. 24, Councilors O’Malley and Wu filed a hearing order in regard to the implementation of CCE in Boston.

Watch the video of Councilor O’Malley’s comments at the time of the filing here.

Councilor Wu’s Council meeting summary of the hearing order:

Community Choice Energy: I filed an order in partnership with Councilor O’Malley to monitor the implementation of our Community Choice Energy authorization order passed last term. The goal is to dramatically and seamlessly increase the usage of renewable energy in Boston by authorizing the City to aggregate an alternative electricity contract with a higher percentage of reusable energy than the level offered by the utility company in compliance with state minimums. Our authorization order had also included a recommendation to create a community working group to help oversee the process. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability & Parks.


Boston Globe Editorial Supporting CCE

Boston Globe Editorial in support of CCE: “Boston Needs to Lead on Clean Energy,” Oct. 8, 2017


City Council Unanimously Authorizes CCE

On Oct. 3, 2017, the City Council held a public hearing attended by more than 200 people to consider authorizing the adoption of Community Choice Energy (CCE) in Boston. On Oct. 4, the Council voted unanimously to do so, and Oct. 10, Mayor Walsh signed the authorization. This effort was led by District Councilor Matt O’Malley and At-Large Councilor Michelle Wu. The steps for implementation will be overseen by an Advisory Committee, the DOER, and the DPU.

Read the City Council news report on CCE here
Watch the City Council Meeting vote here 
Watch the CCE Hearing here

Here is what City Council President Michelle Wu wrote in her summary of the Oct. 4 Council meeting on CCE:

Community Choice Energy: We voted unanimously to authorize the City of Boston to adopt the Community Choice Energy that I was proud to file in partnership with Councilor O’Malley. The order charges the Administration with beginning due diligence on a municipal electricity aggregation to increase clean energy for Boston residents and small businesses. At yesterday’s packed hearing, advocates, residents, and experts spoke about the environmental and economic benefits of increasing our renewable energy supply. We learned that dozens of municipalities in Massachusetts have instituted a CCE program with a 5% increase in renewable energy, and in all but one the rates have been cheaper than the Eversource basic plan rate. Boston’s 5% renewables increase would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 6,400 cars from the city’s roads.

At today’s meeting, Councilors rose to speak about the urgency of committing to a clean energy future as we face the impacts of destructive climate change in weather disasters and the environmental refugees that we will welcome after each incident. Adopting a green municipal aggregation is the single largest action that Boston can take to immediately and dramatically increase our clean energy consumption. Moreover, the process has numerous safeguards, including the ability for anyone to opt out back onto the utility’s default basic plan. The utility company will continue to deliver the electricity and administer billing, so the transition would be seamless for the ~125,000 accounts that would chip in a little towards a big result. As mentioned at the hearing, not everyone can afford to install solar panels on their homes. CCE allows all residents to pool together and share in the transition to a green economy.

With the Council now having voted to authorize CCE, the Administration will begin the process of researching and requesting proposals from energy procurement companies, and vetting them in consultation with state agencies and public process. There are still months of process ahead before any draft plan would be presented and approved.


Background: How We Got to CCE in Boston

Information/Volunteer Meetings: 2nd & 4th Thursdays each month
Time: 6 to 8 pm
Place: Jamaica Plain First Baptist Church, 633 Centre Street

Community Choice Energy (also called Community Choice Aggregation) is an increasingly vital way that city residents throughout the U.S. are coming together to increase access to renewable energy for people of all incomes. CCE has been proven effective in adding renewable energy to residents’ electricity mix while keeping rates competitive. For more info go to Community Choice Boston and

August 2, 2017: 10 Boston City Councilors Sponsor Authorization Order to Explore Community Choice Energy

Sponsors: Councilors Michelle Wu and Matt O’Malley
Co-sponsors: Councilors Campbell, Ciommo, Flaherty, George, Jackson, LaMattina, McCarthy, and Zakim.

Watch the video here:
Read the authorization order here

City Council President Boosts Community Choice Energy
Michelle Wu gave the Community Choice Energy/Aggregation campaign a huge boost on January 25, when she and Councilor O’Malley introduced a hearing order for a CCE ordinance. “Community choice energy is the fastest way that Boston can get on the path to being a 100% renewable energy city,” she told the Council. This is her full statement:

Community Choice Aggregation: Councilor O’Malley and I filed a hearing order to discuss implementing Community Choice Aggregation in Boston. This is a program established by state law that allows cities and towns in Massachusetts to use bulk purchasing power on behalf of residents and small businesses to set a higher percentage of clean, renewable energy. According to the state’s process, City Councils can vote to authorize the Administration to proceed with an alternate energy contract that sets higher renewable energy standards, including the ability to focus on regional clean energy sources and spark jobs in our local green economy. The utility companies would still deliver the energy to consumers and administer billing as usual. Individuals can opt out of the bulk contract and return to their own default sources at any time. Councilor O’Malley and I both noted the urgency of needing to take local action to combat climate change. 2016 was the 3RD YEAR IN A ROW that we broke the record for hottest year on record. With a new President in DC who denies climate change and plans to install climate change deniers to head several federal agencies that oversee environmental regulations, local action can’t wait. The matter was sent to the Environment & Sustainability Committee for a hearing.

Boston Climate Action Network (BCAN) is leading the campaign to bring CCE to Boston, and West Roxbury Saves Energy is a partner in this endeavor. As advocates for climate justice, BCAN supports increasing access to renewable energy for people of all incomes. They are seeking to persuade the City of Boston to follow the example of many other Massachusetts municipalities to affirm this goal through an ordinance authorizing a Community Choice Energy plan.

The CCE model, developed in part by nonprofit Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, has already been implemented by Melrose, Dedham, Arlington, Gloucester, and Brookline. In these communities, it has proven effective in adding renewable energy to residents’ electricity mix while keeping electricity rates competitive and even producing savings. The Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC) has endorsed Community Choice Energy and offers resources to assist municipalities in developing a CCE plan.

Community Choice Energy is an excellent alternative to predatory competitive electricity suppliers who target individual households with good deals, but then raise their rates after a few months of enrollment. Furthermore, unlike clean energy offsets from outside of New England, choosing local renewable energy production sources keeps the benefits of clean electricity in our communities: air quality improvements, job creation, energy resilience and price stability, and climate change preparedness.

For these reasons, Boston Climate Action Network and WRSE invite you to join us in asking the City of Boston to adopt a Community Choice Energy plan that offers stable, competitive electricity rates and includes at least 5% more Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) “Class 1” qualified (or “new”) renewable energy than is required by state law.

Please email if you are interested in attending trainings and/or meetings to help us expand access to Renewable for All in Boston.