Portsmouth hearing on community choice aggregation set for Aug. 11

Plan would allow town to purchase electricity on behalf of residents, businesses

By Jim McGaw
Posted 8/4/20

PORTSMOUTH — Local residents will have their say next week on whether the town should enter a community choice aggregation (CCA) program to allow local government to purchase energy on behalf …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Portsmouth hearing on community choice aggregation set for Aug. 11

Plan would allow town to purchase electricity on behalf of residents, businesses

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Local residents will have their say next week on whether the town should enter a community choice aggregation (CCA) program to allow local government to purchase energy on behalf of residents and businesses.

The virtual public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Check the town’s website at www.portsmouthri.com on how to join the meeting. You may also call the town clerk’s office at 401/683-2101 for instructions.

“A community electricity aggregation program will create a new default electricity supply for Portsmouth residents and businesses,” stated an advertisement the town is running in The Portsmouth Times. “Instead of utilizing National Grid's electricity supply, Portsmouth will bundle together the electricity load of residents and businesses and use that buying power to procure the electricity supply. With community electricity aggregation, the Town is able to make strategic decisions about when to solicit bids, lock in fixed pricing for multiple years, and increase the amount of renewable energy above the existing statewide minimum.”

CCAs are becoming an increasingly common way to purchase electricity in certain parts of the country. Currently, Rhode Island is one of seven states that allow CCAs through enabling legislation, the others being Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Ohio, and California. A hearing and a Town Council vote is still needed to authorize the plan at the local level, however.

Also known as “municipal aggregation,” CCAs allow local governments to invest in and purchase electricity from sources they deem fit to provide electricity to customers in their community. 

“The purpose of this aggregation plan is to provide universal access to new electricity supply choices for the Municipality’s residents and businesses with the goals of delivering price stability, cost savings, and an increase in the percentage of renewable energy,” according to a draft of the plan.

“I think reducing our carbon footprint is a common goal,” council member Daniela Abbott said at the July 27 meeting, when the council voted 5-2 to schedule the Aug. 11 public hearing and advertise the proposed plan. Council President Kevin Aguiar and Keith Hamilton voting against the motion.

Opting out

Despite voting for the majority, council member Len Katzman said he was reticent of the program “because it is an opt-out project.” 

Residents and business may choose not to participate in the program, but they must do so by opting out after the fact. If the plan is approved, at some point a notification letter will be sent to everyone with a standard offer service with National Grid. 

“Consumers will have 33 days from the date of the mailing to return the reply card if they wish to opt out of the program” before it’s launched, according to the draft plan. Eligible accounts that do not opt out are automatically enrolled when the program is activated.

How to comment

Anyone who dials into the meeting or views it online will be allowed to offer comments on the plan. You may also provide written comments in advance to Director of Business Development Richard Talipsky, via mail at 2200 East Main Road Portsmouth, RI 02871, e-mailing rtalipsky@portsmouthri.com, or calling 401/643-0382. 

After the hearing, the council may vote to approve the plan and submit it to the R.I. Public Utilities Commission for its review.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.