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Mendon Selectmen Discuss Possible New Aggregation Program for Residents

The Mendon Board of Selectmen held a discussion with representatives from Colonial Power Group, a company that helps communities purchase cheaper electricity rates through a collective buying program. The discussion took place during a December 28 meeting.

More than 20 years ago, the state legislature deregulated electricity much like the way they deregulated telephones prior to that. As a result, when the telephone industry was deregulated, it created a large competition among businesses. The deregulation law concerning electrical rates allows towns to replace large companies like National Grid, with a default supplier that would offer cheaper rates.

During a 2013 Town Meeting, Mendon residents voted to support an electrical aggregation program; Hampshire Council of Governments was to manage the program for Mendon. However, the state's Department of Public Utilities (DPU) denied Hampshire Council's aggregation proposal alleging evidence of misleading statements in their marketing materials among other issues which failed to meet state regulations. Mendon was one of 35 other communities in the state that agreed to utilize Hampshire Council.

Now, Colonial Power is hoping to give Mendon residents another shot at the electrical aggregation program. According to Colonial representative





Brian Murphy,

the article approved at Town Meeting supported participating in the aggregation program but was not specific that Hampshire Council had to oversee it. "The article was written to be very open ended," he said, adding that Hampshire Council is now recommending towns work with Colonial Power "to keep the ball rolling."

Murphy explained that large electrical companies, such as National Grid, are state regulated and only permitted to "go to the market two times each year," concerning pricing. "They take the price that day; whatever it is and a lot of times that price stinks," he said. Murphy explained to the Selectmen the benefits of the aggregation program through a stock market analogy. "If you could only trade or buy two times a year and you had to do it on two particular days—your portfolio might not look as rosy next to the guy who has the ability to trade 200 days a year."

Selectman Rich Schofield clarified. "So you're shopping the market to get us the best possible price all the time."

Should the Mendon Selectmen decide to proceed with Colonial, the proposal must then be approved by the Department of Energy Resources and the DPU. From there, residents would be notified of the program through the mail and automatically enrolled unless they chose to opt out; which they can do at any time.

Resident Mike Merolli inquired how residents would be affected if they've already shopped around and are currently locked into a rate with a different supplier. According to Murphy, only those residents who are still on basic service with National Grid will be invited to take part in Colonial's aggregation program. "We're not allowed to market to them; they've already made a choice," he said.

The Board decided to review the information presented and will be make a decision on the aggregation program soon




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