For Immediate Release: March 12, 2014
CAPE LIGHT COMPACT APPROVES UPDATED AGGREGATION PLAN
Barnstable, MA – Cape Light Compact announced the approval of an updated Aggregation Plan by its governing board today. The approval follows a seven-week process of public comment and input from its member towns and counties. The Compact will now send the document to state regulators.
The Compact and its Aggregation Plan have been viewed as a model program both within Massachusetts and across the nation. In 1997, as the electric industry was being restructured for competition, the Compact established programs to join towns and consumers together for energy efficiency, power supply and consumer advocacy. Known nationally as “Community Choice”, the program offers consumers an option to gain group protection and benefits. If consumers want to purchase their own power supply, the plan frees them to “opt-out” of the program. Even if they opt-out, they can still benefit from energy efficiency and consumer protection programs.
Consumers in hundreds of municipalities in states such as Ohio, Illinois and California have developed energy programs based on the Compact model. Among those municipalities are the cities of Chicago and San Francisco.
“We have pioneered something here on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard that we can be very proud of,” said Dr. Joyce Flynn, Cape Light Compact’s Governing Board Chair. The Compact’s presence ensures that over $125 million in energy efficiency money that has been collected from Cape and Vineyard consumers is kept and reinvested locally. The Compact has also saved consumers more than $161 million through its consumer advocacy efforts, since its inception.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has seen increasing interest in municipal aggregation among Massachusetts cities and towns as well, and has used the Compact as a model. Last year the DPU asked the Compact to consider revising its original Aggregation Plan. “The electric industry has changed much in the last fifteen years,” said Compact Administrator Margaret Downey. “Companies like Commonwealth Electric that served the region and are mentioned in our original plan no longer exist. Also specific board members who were involved in our original program are no longer with the organization, and we have adapted our operations as the industry has changed.” The revisions are largely administrative and help to update and clarify the Compact’s operations.
The revisions also address upcoming requirements from the DPU under a decision related to the City of Lowell. Each municipal aggregation program like the Compact will file an annual report with the agency, as well as future updates to their Aggregation Plan. The Compact has voluntarily filed all of its contracts with the DPU as a matter of course in the past. “We’ve been diligent about keeping state regulators informed on our program; this will help to formalize that process for us and other Massachusetts communities.”
“We have viewed this as a chance to help explain to people what we do, and to hear from them,” Downey said. The Compact held three informational sessions on the Aggregation Plan during a seven week period for public comments. “We listened to what people had to say and the updated plan is the result of that process.” Proposed revisions were also sent to each Town Administrator/Manager in December for their review. The comments received from the towns have been very positive.
“It has been a very thorough process,” Downey said. The Compact also received a total of 79 comment letters from individuals, with 65 in support and 14 objecting to the revisions. .
The DPU will now review the updated Aggregation Plan and provide additional opportunity for public comment. “We plan to remain a model program and look forward to the DPU’s review,” Compact Chair Flynn said.
About Cape Light Compact
Cape Light Compact is an intergovernmental organization consisting of the 21 towns and two counties on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. The Compact’s mission is to serve our 200,000 customers through the delivery of proven energy efficiency programs, effective consumer advocacy, competitive electricity supply and green power options. For more information, visit www.capelightcompact.org.
For More Information Contact:
Lindsay Henderson (508) 375-6889