The programs are funded from a small energy conservation charge as well as part of the distribution charge on the first page of your electric bill. These funds are collected by NSTAR and then returned to the Compact to administer the energy efficiency program for Barnstable and Dukes Counties.
2. Do I need to be a member of the Compact’s power supply program to receive
services or rebates?
No. As long as you have an active NSTAR electric account for a home or business on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, you are eligible to participate in the Compact’s energy efficiency programs.
3. What is the Green Communities Act?
On July 2, 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed a comprehensive landmark legislation to reduce energy consumption and spur clean energy technology. Among the major provisions is a requirement for program administrators to invest in energy efficiency when it is less expensive than building new facilities. In addition, utilities will need to buy more electricity from renewable power sources. By 2030, 25% of this would be from renewables. The law also encourages the creation of green communities.
4. What is the relationship with Mass Save?
Mass Save® is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, including Bay State Gas Company, The Berkshire Gas Company, Cape Light Compact, National Grid, New England Gas Company, NSTAR, Unitil, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company. The Sponsors of Mass Save work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to provide a wide a range of services, incentives, training, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs.
5. How do I sign up for a free energy assessment?
Please call 1-800-797-6699 to sign up for your free energy assessment on your home or business.
6. Where do I get a list of available rebates?
Rebates can be found on the Compact’s website at www.capelightcompact.org.
All residential and low-income NSTAR electric account holders on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard are eligible to receive a free energy assessment.
2. How are the lead vendors chosen for energy assessments? – for single family
Single-family lead vendors are selected through a Request for Proposals process issued by Cape Light Compact.
3. What is looked at during a home energy assessment?
During the assessment, a blower door test is conducted (where available) to determine how well air flows in your home. Also during the assessment insulation, lighting, and other large appliances are looked at to determine how efficient your home is and any upgrades you could use.
4. Can I use my own contractor to do insulation work?
If you would like to use your own contractor in the standard home energy assessment, that contractor would need to be a participating contractor of Cape Light Compact; however, you would need to complete an energy audit first through Cape Light Compact. For more information please visit http://www.capelightcompact.org/hescontractors.
5. How do I proceed with work that is recommended?
If you have had an energy assessment, you may have received a contract from the energy specialist. To proceed with work you may either sign the contract and return it to the energy specialist or select one of the Compact’s participating contractors. The list may be found at http://www.capelightcompact.org/hescontractors.
6. What rebates are available?
For a list of all available rebates please visit http://www.capelightcompact.org/resrebates.
All business Eversource electric account holders on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard are eligible to receive a free energy assessment.
2. Do I need to own the building that my business is in?
Everyone who has an active Eversource electric account is eligible to have a free energy assessment. In order to proceed with the recommended work, permission must be granted from the landlord or owner of the building.
3. What is the incentive for work recommended?
If work was recommended through an energy assessment, the Compact will cover up to 80% of the cost. The work is installed by the Compact’s vendor. Increased incentives may be available for tenants who meet minimum requirements. If a business prefers to use their own vendor to do the installations, the incentive level will vary based on prescriptive versus custom measures.
4. What is looked at during an assessment?
The energy specialist will look at lighting and controls, refrigeration controls, programmable thermostats, variable frequency drives, motors, aerators, spray-valves, shower heads, vending controls, and duct sealing/insulation. Additional measures may be eligible for incentives, if applicable.
5. How do I proceed with recommended work?
After a thorough assessment by an energy services firm under contract with Cape Light Compact, you will receive a custom report that recommends specific cost-effective energy efficient measures designed to maximize energy savings and promote greater comfort in your workplace. If you decide to proceed, Cape Light Compact will make all the necessary arrangements for installing the energy efficient measures at your facility. All installations will be performed by licensed tradespersons using top quality materials backed by a full guarantee. We closely monitor this program to assure quality performance on these efficiency improvements. Any electrical permit that is needed will be secured by Cape Light Compact’s vendor and the cost of the permit will be passed on to the customer.
6. What storage space is needed for materials that will be installed?
The customer needs to provide a space for the material to be delivered and stored prior to installation. Space will also be needed to store the materials to be recycled until collected.
7. How are the old lighting materials disposed of?
Cape Light Compact’s vendor is responsible for the recycling of all lamps and ballasts.The material is usually collected within 2 weeks after the installation is complete. If fixtures are replaced, the customer is responsible for disposing of the fixtures.
8. Is there a warranty on work that is installed through an energy assessment?
Yes, there is a one-year warranty on measures installed through an assessment.
9. How long does it take to get recommended lighting measures installed?
Typically installations take place approximately 6 weeks from when the Agreement is signed and returned to Cape Light Compact’s vendor. This timeframe may vary depending on availability of materials and location. The customer will receive notification when the materials are to the shipped to their site. Once materials are at the customer’s site, they will be contacted by electrical staff to schedule the installation.
10. How is the billing for work handled?
The customer will be billed only for their portion of the job. The bill will come from Cape Light Compact’s vendor.
11. What if I want my own contractor/vendor to do the work?
If a business is interested in having their own vendor or contractors do the work, you must go through the Compact’s application process before starting the work. Incentive application can be found at www.capelightcompact.org/.
12. What if I am already doing a major renovation at my site?
Contact Cape Light Compact at 1-800-797-6699 as soon as possible to see what options may be available.
1. What is the purpose of a municipal aggregation?
The 1997 Massachusetts Restructuring Act enabled towns and cities to establish municipal aggregators like Cape Light Compact that could:
a. Purchase power on behalf of all customers in the municipality
b. Implement the energy efficiency programs instead of the local electric utility
c. Administer rate-payer funded surcharge. This charge appears on your monthly electric bill as the “Energy Conservation” charge and is one of the funding sources for Cape Light Compact’s Energy Efficiency Programs, which are available to every resident and business on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard regardless of which electric supplier the ratepayer chooses.
2. What steps were taken to create Cape Light Compact?
The process of municipal aggregation for the Compact involved a multi-step public process that the Compact originally undertook from 1998 to 2001:
1.1 Vote of town meeting
1.2 Vote of selectmen, town council, or county commissioners
1.3 Town/county representative participates on Compact Governing Board
1.4 Planning process/development of policy including Aggregation Plan, RFPs, contracts
1.5 Development and release of Request for Proposals
1.6 Review of Aggregation Plan by citizens
1.7 Power supply contract to selectmen/town council for acceptance vote, conditioned on DPU approval and final signing
1.8 Power supply contract and Aggregation Plan submitted to DPU for approval
1.9 Final signing by each participating town
1.10 Notification of consumers of automatic enrollment
1.11 Administrative transfer of customers to Compact supplier(s)
1.12 180-day opt-out period begins on first day of service
1.13 File contract and report with state (DPU, DOER, Inspector General) within 15 days of signing contract
1. How is the Compact structured?
The Compact is a municipal aggregation, enabled by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 164, Section 134. The Compact is structured as an intergovernmental agreement, authorized by votes of town meeting, boards of selectmen, town council and county commissioners, similar to other entities such as regional school districts. The Compact consists of 21 towns and Barnstable and Dukes Counties. The Compact’s
Governing Board is made up of one representative appointed by each of the member municipalities and the two counties. The Compact Governing Board is responsible for the establishment of the policies and development of the Compact, except with respect to those powers reserved to the member municipalities of the Compact by law or the InterGovernmental Agreement. The Compact Governing Board elects officers at its first meeting following the end of each calendar year. The Board and its officers are responsive and responsible to consumers and the Board of Selectmen and Town Manager/Town Council at whose pleasure they serve.
2. Who makes the decisions at the Compact?
Cape Light Compact has a Governing Board, comprised of representatives from each of the 21 member towns and the 2 member counties. The Compact also employs a staff to administer its programs. Most of the day-to-day operations of the Compact are carried out by the staff, with the Governing Board providing policy direction to staff. The Governing Board also votes on the Compact’s operating budget and Energy Efficiency Plan. These authorities are laid out in the Compact’s Aggregation Plan and its Intergovernmental Agreement.
3. Who has oversight of the Compact?
There are many levels of oversight of the Cape Light Compact. Most directly, each member of the Compact appoints a representative to the Compact’s Board. Through these representatives, each of the member towns and counties has a role in overseeing the Compact. Further, many of the Compact’s programs are subject to oversight by various regulatory bodies, such as the Department of Public Utilities and the Department of Energy Resources.
1. What is the aggregation plan?
Cape Light Compact developed its aggregation plan in compliance with Massachusetts law regarding public aggregation of electric consumers. It contains required information on the structure, operations, services, funding, and policies of the Compact. The Compact’s original aggregation plan was approved by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) then the Department of Telecommunications and Energy) in a proceeding that included the Massachusetts Attorney General and NSTAR.
2. How often does it get updated?
When the Compact prepared and submitted its original aggregation plan, its understanding was that the plan would not need to be updated, but, instead, served as a document needed only for approval at the inception of the aggregation. The Compact maintained and updated several times its Inter-Governmental Agreement. On August 27, 2013, the DPU, which approved the Compact’s original plan, sent a letter to the Compact, asking that the Compact review its plan and update it if there were elements that no longer accurately described the Compact’s operations. The Compact found that there were elements that could be updated, and proceeded to file a revised plan. The DPU, in its order approving the City of Lowell’s aggregation plan, clarified events that would trigger the need to file a revised aggregation plan in the future.
1. How are Board members appointed?
Board members are appointed by their respective town’s or county’s appointing authority.
2. When does the Board meet?
The Board’s regularly scheduled meetings are on the 2nd Wednesday of every other month, starting in January. The Board may add or adjust additional meetings as needed.
3. Are their meetings, and any committee meetings, open to the public?
Yes, provided that the Board or Committee does not enter into Executive Session.
4. Where can I find meeting agendas and minutes from the Governing Board
Governing Board meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the Compact’s website at www.capelightcompact.org/meetingcenter.
5. What is the proper way to bring an issue before the Board?
Each town has a representative to the Board. If a citizen has a concern they would like addressed, they should present it to their respective town’s board of selectmen or town manager, who will then notify the Town’s representative to the Compact’s Governing
Board. If a member town has a concern that they would like addressed, the Town’s representative to the Compact would bring the matter to the full Compact Board for consideration.
Joint Powers Entity
1. How is the Cape Light Compact (Compact) Currently Organized?
The Compact’s member towns and counties are all parties to an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) under the authority of G.L. c. 40, §4A (the IGA Statute). The IGA is one of the documents that governs the operations of the Compact. The IGA sets forth matters such as Compact goals and purposes, election of officers, appointment of directors, procedures for meetings and voting.
2. What is a Joint Powers Entity?
The Legislature recently passed an Act Modernizing Municipal Finance and Government (Act). Part of the Act allows governmental entities to join together and exercise any of their common powers and duties within a designated region (a Joint Powers Entity or JPE). Governmental entities sign a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) that governs the operations of the JPE. Only two municipal entities are needed to form a JPE.
3. Who Can Form a JPE?
A city, town or a regional school district, a district defined in G.L. c. 40, §1A (e.g., fire, water, sewer, etc.), a regional planning commission, however, constituted the Hampshire council of governments, a regional transit authority under G.L. c. §161B, a water and sewer commission formed under G.L. c. 40N or by special law, a county, or a state agency defined in G.L. c. 6A, §1 is able to form a JPE.
4. Why Would the Cape Light Compact Want to Form a Joint Powers Entity?
As part of its discussions on transitioning from Barnstable County, the Compact Governing Board has been exploring forming a JPE to ensure that member towns can be better protected from liability. Initially, the JPE would be responsible for the Compact’s administrative affairs and, the intent is to have the Compact transition to operating fully through the JPE. Transferring operations to a JPE would benefit the Compact’s members because the Act clearly states the authority given to the JPE and expressly protects the liability of JPE members. This express authority and protection is not found in the IGA Statute.
5. Is the Compact or its Power Supply or Energy Efficiency Programs Going Away?
No. The Compact will continue to offer energy efficiency programs and a power supply option for all customers on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard through the IGA until 2022 or until the JPE is completed, at which time only those member towns/counties will be able to participate in the Compact’s programs. The Compact’s Governing Board would like to see all towns that wish to become members of the JPE do so by June 30, 2017.
6. Who Authorizes and Executes a JPA?
A JPA is authorized in a city, by the city council with the approval of the mayor; in a
town, by the board of selectmen; and in a district, by the prudential committee. The chief
executive officer of a city or town, or a board, committee or officer authorized by law to
execute a contract in the name of the governmental unit will execute a JPA. The Act does
not require a Town Meeting vote to join a JPE.
7. How is a JPE Managed?
Each member of the JPE appoints a director to serve on the JPE’s board of directors. The
JPE is also a public employer, and the board of directors may hire staff to carry out the
purposes of the JPE. Subject to certain limitations, the board of directors must also
appoint a treasurer and business officer for the JPE.
8. What Powers Does a JPE Have?
The Act provides that a JPE is a separate public entity with the authority to:
Sue and be sued;
Sign contracts and other instruments necessary to exercise its powers;
Make, amend and repeal policies and procedures;
Receive and expend funds;
Apply for and receive grants from the Commonwealth, the federal government
and other grantors;
Apply for state, federal or corporate grants or contracts to obtain funds to carry
out its purposes;
Submit an annual report to each member governmental unit with a detailed
audited financial statement;
Subject to the Uniform Procurement Act (and its exemptions), contract for goods
and services, purchase or lease land, buildings and equipment; and
Any such other powers as are necessary to properly carry out its powers as a body
politic and corporate.
9. What Financial Controls Apply to a JPE?
The Act imposes requirements for audits, reporting and accounting. The JPE must
establish and maintain a budget. Annual audits are to be distributed to its members and to
the Department of Revenue. Annual reports to members are also required.
1. Does the Compact have budgets and how are they funded?
Yes. Cape Light Compact has an Energy Efficiency Budget and an Operating Fund Budget. Both can be viewed by year at
http://www.capelightcompact.org/reports. The energy efficiency fund is primarily funded by the Energy Conservation charge and a part of the Distribution charge on consumers electric bill. The Operating Budget is funded by a charge on the supply portion of an electric bill. These budgets are kept separate because they are funded from different sources and in order to aid in the extensive reporting to the DPU required for the Compact’s energy efficiency programs.
2. Who approves the energy efficiency budget and when?
The Compact Board approves its Energy Efficiency Plan (Plan), which includes the budget and submits the Plan to the MA DPU. The DPU approves the Compact’s energy efficiency budget as part of its approval of the Compact’s 3 year Energy Efficiency Plan filing.
4. Who approves the power supply budget and when?
The budget is known as the Operating Budget and is reviewed and approved by the Cape Light Compact Governing Board. Funding is through a surcharge on the supplier portion of the Compact’s competitive electric supplier page. The budget runs on a calendar year.
5. Does the Board approve all disbursements from the Energy Efficiency Fund and Power Supply Reserve Fund?
No, once the budgets are approved by the Board, the day to day management of the budgets are assigned to staff.
1. Are all of the Compact’s funds included in Barnstable County’s annual audit?
Since the inception of the Compact all Compact funds have been included in the Barnstable County annual audit as Agency Funds. The County’s annual audits are public documents.
2. Has the Compact had separate financial audits from the County’s audit?
Starting with 2009 and going forward, the Compact has had Independent Audited Financial Statements prepared by a certified auditor licensed in the state of Massachusetts.
1. Why do you not have all documents from inception to date?
Similar to all public entities in Massachusetts, the Compact’s records are maintained consistent with the Massachusetts Records Retention Law, which outlines a schedule for which records must be kept permanently and which records are destroyed after a defined period of time.
1. Are the details of the Compact’s finances subject to public disclosure?
Details of the Compact’s finances and budgets are public knowledge except for redactions for customer privacy or competitively sensitive information. The Compact’s energy efficiency funds are subject to reporting via its Annual Report to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and the Compact operating budget is approved by the Compact Governing Board. Both budgets are available on the Compact website. Since 2002, the Compact has posted on its website and sent monthly town reports to each of the 21 Cape and Vineyard town managers detailing energy efficiency dollars spent, customers served, energy savings (kWh), and expenditures on a town by town basis. In addition, the Compact’s annual operating budget, any supplemental budgets, and the energy efficiency budget are also on the Compact website. Finally, the Compact has listed on its website a line-by-line accounting of all of the Compact’s revenues and expenditures from previous years.
2. Why is some financial information redacted in documents given to
members of the public?
The redactions keep individually identifiable customer’s information and Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) transactions private. This practice is consistent with Massachusetts General Laws, and as required by a nondisclosure agreement protecting electric customer information. Electric customer information is redacted to protect the identities of individuals and certain REC information is redacted because releasing the information would have an adverse impact on the ability of the Compact to compete in the electric market.
3. Do people have to pay for public records requested of the Compact?
The Compact complies with the Massachusetts Public Records Law regarding all records requests to the Compact.
4. What has the Compact done to improve the transparency of its operations?
The Compact publishes budgets, draft minutes, board packets, financial statements, and line-by-line accounting of revenues and expenses on its website www.capelightcompact.org. All Compact meetings are open to the public. Any and all executive sessions are held in accordance with the Open Meeting Law. The Compact also provides updates to all of its member Towns.
Consistent with the 1997 Massachusetts Restructuring Act, the Cape Light Compact (Compact) was established by the 21 towns and 2 counties of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard as a municipal aggregator to advance the interests of consumers in a restructured electricity market.
To this end, one of the Compact’s primary missions is to provide a safe and secure power supply choice for consumers.
The Compact leverages the aggregated purchasing power of all our customers to negotiate competitive pricing with strong terms and conditions that protect our customers, which gives our customers a worry-free, competitively-priced power supply option from a community founded public organization.
2. How does the Cape Light Compact procure a competitive supplier?
The Compact uses a competitive selection process to select suppliers that are responsible for providing retail electricity for all the participants in the Compact’s power supply program. Compact staff, board members, consultants, and counsel work together to ensure that the
Compact secures contracts that are in the best interest of the Compact’s consumers. The size of the Compact’s aggregation gives it weight in conducting these negotiations that are not available to individual consumers.
The Compact selected NextEra® Energy Services Massachusetts (NextEra Energy Services) through this competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process in 2014 to provide electricity to commercial and industrial customers on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. The RFP allowed for
a contract extension through 2018. As part of its review of becoming a green aggregator, the Compact requested NextEra Energy Services and ConEdison Solutions to submit proposals for extending their contracts and to include a green aggregation element. After reviewing
proposals from both entities, the Compact elected to extend its contract with NextEra Energy Services through December 2018 to provide electricity to all Compact electric customers.
3. What is the meaning of “renewable electricity”?
Renewable electricity is electricity that is generated by resources that are naturally replenished on a relatively short timescale, including wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, etc. For reasons discussed further below, a person is considered to be using renewable energy when their
electric usage is matched with Renewable Energy Certificates.
4. What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?
A Renewable Energy Certificate is a tradable commodity that represents the clean energy attributes of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh), or 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity generated by a renewable energy resource (e.g., a solar farm). RECs were created for the purpose of tracing energy back to renewable generators. The electrons that power our homes and businesses can almost never be traced back to a specific
generator – instead, the power from thousands of generators, large and small, of all different fuel types, flows in to a regionalized power grid and ultimately to the consumer’s meter. Since it is impossible to know what kind of electricity ends up at the delivery point (i.e., the meter),
electricity characteristics are tracked at the production point instead. In New England, and many other areas, for every MWh of electricity that is generated, a corresponding certificate is produced in a centrally-managed clearinghouse. This certificate includes all of the details of the
source of the energy – when it was generated, by what kind of generator, associated emissions, etc. In effect, generators produce two commodities, which can be (and often are) tracked, traded, and consumed independently of each other; the electricity, which is delivered to the grid and ultimately the consumer, and the certificate. When the certificate is associated with a renewable energy generator, it is called a REC. Each REC has a unique identifier, allowing it to be tracked, traded, and ultimately, retired. The result of this is that electricity, even though its source may be unknown, that is matched with a REC is considered to be renewable energy. The inverse is also true – that electricity not matched with a REC is not considered to be renewable energy. So, a consumer that uses 3,000 kWh a year and purchases three RECs to meet that usage would be using 100% renewable energy, even though the electrons that she uses may not all be from a renewable generator.
This definition of what constitutes renewable energy has been confirmed time and time again, including by the Federal Trade Commission1 and the National Association of Attorneys Generals.
5. What is the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard?
The Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a statutory requirement that Retail Electric Suppliers obtain a certain percentage of their yearly sales of electricity from qualified renewable energy sources. Suppliers meet their RPS obligations by acquiring RPS-qualified RECs
and retiring them, so that they cannot be used for RPS compliance again in the future. The RPS creates demand for RECs, which encourages developers to build renewable energy resources that can provide the RECs, thereby enabling the expansion of renewable energy.
6. What kind of RECs are the Compact/NextEra Energy Services using to get to 100% renewable?
The Compact, through NextEra Energy Services as its supplier, will be acquiring both RPSqualified RECs from New England sources and EarthEraTM RECs (more below) from sources in the U.S. outside of New England. The Compact is requiring NextEra Energy Services to purchase an additional 1% MA Class 1 RECs over the RPS requirement, and also to purchase enough EarthEraTM RECs to make all Compact customers’ load 100% renewable or more. The RPS-qualified RECs will include MA Class 1 RECs from local sources: seven rooftop solar
photovoltaic (PV) systems located on Cape Cod, and the Greater New Bedford Landfill Gas Utilization Project in North Dartmouth, MA. The local solar PV systems were installed in 2010 through the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, a local electric cooperative that has helped municipalities across Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard install 28 megawatts of solar PV to date. The Greater New Bedford Landfill Gas Utilization Project collects and burns landfill gas released by landfill waste to create energy. This landfill gas, which contains methane and carbon dioxide, would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Instead, it is utilized daily to generate 3.4 megawatts of electricity, enough to light about 3,500 homes per day. In addition to procuring 1% more than the required amount of RPS-qualified RECs as described
above, NextEra Energy Services will be allocating voluntary EarthEraTM RECs from renewable projects outside of New England sufficient to make all Compact customers’ load 100% renewable. By way of example, if the RPS requires that 27% of retail electric sales be met with RPS-qualified RECs, NextEra Energy Services will meet 28% of Compact customers’ retail electric sales with RPS-qualified RECs, and will then also procure the amount of EarthEraTM RECs required to bring the total renewable energy content to 100% or more of retail sales.
7. What is the EarthEraTM Trust?
The EarthEraTM Renewable Energy Trust (Trust) is a fund established by EarthEra, LLC, an affiliate NextEra Energy Services for the purpose of developing renewable energy projects in the United States, in order to accelerate the addition of clean energy sources. The Trust is overseen by an independent third-party trustee, which ensures that 100% of the funds deposited in the Trust are used solely for the development of new renewable energy projects. All revenue from the sale of the EarthEraTM RECs that NextEra Energy Services will use to match Compact customers’ usage will be deposited in the Trust.
8. Why did the Cape Light Compact choose to become a green aggregation by matching 100% of customers’ usage with renewable energy?
As stated in its approved 2015 Aggregation Plan, one of the purposes of the Cape Light Compact’s power supply program is to utilize and encourage renewable energy development. One of the ways in which to accomplish this purpose is to become a green aggregation. Green
aggregations are municipal aggregations that make an affirmative decision to meet more than the RPS-required amount of their aggregated electricity usage with renewable energy, usually through the purchase of additional RECs. This “greener” power supply option is the default
option for customers participating in the aggregated supply. There are several municipal aggregations in Massachusetts offering higher renewable content products, notably the Town of Dedham and City of Melrose, among others. After discussions over the course of several meetings on renewable electricity and the impacts, both environmental and economic, of becoming a green aggregation, the Compact Governing Board asked Compact staff to hold stakeholder input sessions to provide insight into the importance of renewable energy to our customers, and what concerns they may have that the Board should be aware of. The Compact held three public input forums (West Tisbury, Mashpee and Harwich) in the fall of 2016, and attended a forum sponsored by the Brewster Community Network. Those in attendance agreed that supporting renewable energy through the Compact’s power supply program was an important step in combating climate change, but that it must come at a reasonable price, and it is important for consumers to understand which projects they are supporting through the program.
Compact staff presented findings from the input sessions in open session at the November 9th Compact Governing Board meeting, and the Board voted to become a green aggregation by (1) requiring NextEra Energy Services to purchase 1% more MA Class 1 RECs than the RPS-required amount, (2) in addition to RPS-qualified RECs, requiring NextEra Energy Services to meet 100% of the Compact customers’ usage with EarthEraTM RECs, (3) requiring NextEra Energy Services to deposit the funds from the sale of the EarthEraTM RECs in to the EarthEraTM Renewable Energy Trust, and (4) requesting that NextEra Energy Services direct the proceeds deposited in to the
Trust from Compact customers to developing renewable energy projects in New England.
9. How does becoming a green aggregation and teaming up with NextEra Energy Services help the environment and fight climate change?
Becoming a green aggregation utilizes the vehicle of municipal aggregation to achieve renewable energy purchasing at scale, which makes a tangible impact on accelerating renewable energy development by creating more demand for renewable energy. The way this is
accomplished is threefold:
a. The Compact has directed NextEra Energy Services to procure an additional 1% of RPSqualified MA Class 1 RECs on an annual basis. When aggregated across the combined usage of all of the Compact’s customers, this represents a significant number of RECs. Since the RPS requirement for Class 1 RECs increases year-over-year, there is built-in growing demand, for which new projects must be built in order to produce the RECs required to meet the growing demand. By taking an extra 1% of those RECs off of the market every year above the already-growing requirement, Compact customers are creating an additional incentive for new renewable projects to be developed.
b. In addition to exceeding the procurement requirement for RPS-qualified RECs as described above, the Compact has also directed NextEra Energy Services to purchase enough EarthEraTM RECs to make all Compact customers’ load 100% renewable or more, and to deposit those funds into the EarthEraTM Renewable Energy Trust. Funds from the Trust, which is administered by an independent third party, can only be used for renewable energy project development. NextEra Energy Services has made a commitment to direct those funds to projects in New England to the extent possible.
c. NextEra Energy Services has also made a commitment to direct its own funds into the Trust in addition to those proceeds from the sale of the EarthEraTM RECs, which leverages the Trust contributions of Compact customers. The result is that customers who participate in the Compact’s green aggregation power supply program will be purchasing renewable energy, creating an increased demand for renewable
energy projects, and directly funding the construction of new renewable energy projects through the EarthEra Trust.
10. What will happen to the current Cape Light Compact GreenSM program?
The current opt-in Cape Light Compact GreenSM program will be discontinued effective on January 2017 meter read dates. At that time, the current Cape Light Compact GreenSM customers will transition to the regular Green Aggregation power supply product. The Cape Light Compact GreenSM customers have been notified of this upcoming transition.
Advocating for your energy rights is a core mission for Cape Light Compact. We work on your behalf to provide our Cape and Vineyard communities with maximum opportunities, benefits and savings available in today’s energy market.
2. Have you saved consumers money?
Yes. Starting with work that saved Cape and Vineyard consumers $25 million dollars from the sale of the Canal plant, the Compact has continued to work tirelessly to save consumers money. You may find more examples of our efforts at www.capelightcompact.org/advocacy.
3. What kinds of things does the Compact advocate for?
The Compact’s advocacy work covers a wide variety of areas, such as ensuring that utilities are not including expenses in their delivery charges that shouldn’t be there, working to make interconnecting distributed generation resources easier, providing the utilities with incentives to minimize service interruptions, and participating in planning for the modernization of our electrical grid. Most importantly, in almost all of this work, the Compact is the sole voice representing the interests of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.
Other examples of the Compact’s work include:
• Assisted towns in reducing costs through the purchase of more efficient streetlights and negotiated a cost-effective maintenance contract
• Ensured that eligible low-income residents receive a discounted electric distribution rate and expanded consumer protection and assistance
• Facilitated savings in natural gas contracts for Cape schools and electric savings for municipal buildings
For more information, visit www.capelightcompact.org/advocacy.
4. What if I am concerned about an issue that I believe Cape Light Compact should advocate for?
If you are concerned about an issue, bring it to the attention of your town’s Board representative.
Cape Light Compact files annual performance reports (“Plan-Year Report”) with the Department of Public Utilities, as well as a Three-Year Term Report.
2. What are the reporting requirements for the power supply fund?
Starting 12/1/14, the Compact will file an annual report with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), and has filed an annual report with the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) starting with FY2012. In addition, the power supply fund is included in the Compact’s annual independent financial audits.
Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative
CVEC’s goals and objectives include developing and/or owning renewable electric generation facilities and procuring and/or selling long term electric supply or other energy-related goods or services including renewable energy certificate contracts at competitive prices to member communities and consumers within member communities.
2. How was CVEC created?
CVEC was organized on September 12, 2007. CVEC was formed under Massachusetts General Laws, c. 164, §136. Section 136 provides for the
establishment of energy cooperatives.
3. What is the difference between the Compact and CVEC?
The Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) and the Cape Light Compact (Compact) are separate public entities. The Compact is a member of CVEC. CVEC was formed out of a strategic planning process commissioned and undertaken by the Compact because the Compact wanted to stabilize electric rates for all its members and ratepayers with renewable energy generation. At the time, the Compact could not develop electric generation projects and enter into long-term power purchase agreements. In accordance with its goals, as of September 30, 2014, CVEC has developed over 27 megawatts of renewable energy to benefit the Cape & Vineyard municipalities, districts, and counties.
4. What is the Compact’s relationship with CVEC?
The Compact is an original founder of CVEC and has provided member contributions to CVEC. CVEC was created to provide the municipalities of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard a way to work together to integrate renewable energy projects as part of a more sustainable Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Currently, there are 21 members of CVEC – 18 Cape and Vineyard towns, Barnstable County, Dukes County and the Cape Light Compact (Compact). CVEC was formed in 2007 because the Compact and its members wanted to stabilize future electric rates for all its members and ratepayers through municipally-owned renewable energy generation, and wholesale power supply contracts. At the time CVEC was formed, the Compact was not allowed under state law to develop and own electric generation projects and enter into long-term power purchase agreements. Electric cooperatives such as CVEC, on the other hand, were empowered by statute to do so. The Compact and CVEC are separate public entities, though the Compact is a member of CVEC and holds a seat on CVEC’s Board of Directors.
5. How is CVEC funded?
Cape Light Compact has provided the majority of the funding for CVEC since inception in 2007. The Compact committed to funding CVEC through the end of FY2015, but has made no such commitments after that. No energy efficiency funds collected by the Compact are used to support CVEC. CVEC’s additional funding comes from projects that it has developed.
6. Why does the Compact help finance CVEC?
As part of the initial planning process, the Compact determined that financing CVEC’s operational costs associated with pursuing renewable energy projects would result in stabilizing electric rates for both its member Towns/Counties and Compact ratepayers. The Compact saw an opportunity to produce additional savings for all Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard electric ratepayers beyond the Compact’s energy efficiency programs. The ability to rely on locally produced electricity for part of the region’s load would mean financial savings through avoided energy supply costs that are inevitable when the sources producing the region’s electricity are remote from the Cape and Vineyard. The Compact’s initial $520,000 funding of CVEC was done through the transfer of a grant received from ConEdison Solutions to the Compact, which the Compact subsequently assigned to CVEC. This was documented in a contribution letter executed by the Compact Chairman. Subsequent grants to CVEC were approved by the Compact Governing Board from Compact’s operational adder (a surcharge of up to $.001 per kilowatt [kWh] on the sale of electricity) account in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 ($500,000), FY 2011 ($500,000), FY 2011 supplemental
($335,792), FY 2012 ($408,000), FY 2013 ($402,885), FY 2014 ($402,745), and FY 2015 ($403,455). All member contributions, except the $335,792 contribution in 2011, were debated and approved in open session meetings of the Compact in accordance with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, and these contributions funded CVEC’s operating expenses. Because the $335,792 contribution in 2011 was for use in litigation it was discussed and approved in an executive session portion of a Compact board meeting.
7. Who authorizes transfers from the Compact to CVEC?
The Compact’s Governing Board authorizes transfers from the Compact to CVEC.
8. Are the details of the Compact’s portion of CVEC’s funding subject to public disclosure?
All funds provided to CVEC by the Compact have been disclosed and are listed in several documents on the Compact’s web site, as well as in several documents on CVEC’s website. The monies provided to CVEC by the Compact have been given as operating grants with no further reporting requirements. This agreement was affirmed by a vote of the Compact’s Governing Board on January 9, 2013.
9. Does the Compact’s Governing Board vote on every grant awarded to CVEC?
Yes. All member contributions, except the $335,792 contribution in 2011, were debated and approved in open session meetings of the Compact in accordance with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, and these contributions funded CVEC’s operating expenses.
Cape Light Compact JPE Retirement and OPEB Liabilities
Answer: Yes, the Compact is a municipal entity similar to Massachusetts cities and towns and is required to provide a retirement benefit to qualifying employees. Municipal employees do not contribute to social security, and most municipal retirees will not qualify for social security. The pension system for all municipal entities is governed by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 32.
2. Is the Compact a member of a municipal retirement association?
Answer: Yes, the Compact joined the Barnstable County Retirement Association (“BCRA”) on January 1, 2018. As of this date, all pension liabilities associated with all former Barnstable County employees and current staff have been re-allocated from Barnstable County to the Compact.
3. How does BCRA allocate liabilities (retiree costs) amongst the employers?
Answer: The BCRA is a cost-sharing multiple-employer defined benefit pension plan. An independent actuary calculates the BCRA’s total pension liability, which is allocated to members (employer) based on each member’s percentage of active payroll, as specified in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 32.
4. Do Compact employees contribute to their defined pensions?
Answer: Yes. Consistent with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 32, employees contribute between 10 and 11% of their gross regular compensation towards their pension obligations. The most recent BCRA actuarial analysis indicates that most employees in the BCRA will have fully funded their pension liability by retirement age.
5. Does Barnstable County have any pension liability for present Compact employees or retirees?
Answer: No, Barnstable County has no pension liability for any Compact employees or future retirees. Those liabilities have been transferred fully to the Compact.
6. If a present Compact employee worked for Barnstable County and now works for the Compact, are pension liabilities that belong to Barnstable County (as a result of services rendered to and paid by the County directly) being shifted to the Compact?
Answer: No. For funding purposes, the Compact is allocated its proportionate share of BCRA’s total net pension liability based on the active employer’s covered payroll as calculated by the actuary.
For financial reporting purposes, the Compact is allocated its proportionate share of BCRA’s total net pension liability based on a blended rate of the following items:
• The proportionate share of active employer’s covered payroll calculated by the actuary;
• Early Retirement Incentive (“ERI”) is a direct charge calculated by the Public Employee
Retirement Administration Commission (“PERAC”) for only the employers that accepted the ERI;
• The direct amortization of the actuarial determined net pension liability for the Barnstable County Sheriff and Barnstable County Hospital since they no longer have active covered payroll.
7. How does the Compact fund its pension liabilities?
Answer: The Compact funds its pension liabilities through employer and employee contributions. The employer contribution is appropriated through the Compact’s budget process (energy efficiency staff are included in the energy efficiency budget and power supply staff are included in the operating budget). The contribution is based on the pension fund appropriation provided by the BCRA and approved by PERAC. Employee contributions are made through mandatory payroll deductions in accordance with the withholding amounts established by
8. What are Other Post-Employment Benefits (“OPEB”) liabilities and why does the Compact have these liabilities?
Answer: OPEB liabilities consist of medical, dental, vision, and other health-related benefits paid subsequent to the termination of employment via retirement. The Compact has this liability because it offers health insurance coverage to its retirees.
9. Does Barnstable County have any OPEB liability for Compact employees?
Answer: No, Barnstable County has no OPEB liability related to Compact employees because the liability only exists with the current or last employer.
10. How does the Compact fund its OPEB liabilities?
Answer: The Compact funds its OPEB liabilities through the Compact’s budget process (energy efficiency staff are included in the energy efficiency budget and power supply staff are included in the operating budget).