Boston officials announce choice of electricity rates

The City of Boston announced new electricity rates through Boston’s Community Choice Electricity (BCCE) program, and encouraged all customers to choose BCCE as their electricity supplier. The new rates will be in effect beginning December 2023 until December 2025 using a new contracted supplier, Direct Energy. BCCE’s default and Green100 rates offer more renewable energy and cost less than Eversource’s Basic Service Rate. Eversource’s winter rates will begin on January 1, 2024. For a period of at least seven months, all three BCCE rates will remain lower than the utility.

Since the beginning of the program, the BCCE Standard rates have always been lower than Eversource Basic Rates. The average resident that uses 600 kilowatt hours of electricity a month on the BCCE Standard option is expected to save nearly $15 per month compared to the Eversource Basic Service Residential rate ($0.17251/kWh). In the first six months of 2023, Boston residents on BCCE saved nearly $60 million, with an average household savings of $340 compared to Eversource Basic Service. Since the program’s inception in 2021, BCCE has helped Boston residents and business owners have access to affordable, clean energy while supporting Boston’s carbon neutrality goals. 

“I’m excited to announce the new electricity rates through Boston’s Community Choice Electricity program—allowing Boston residents to further reduce utility bills as they support clean energy options,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This program is an important part of the City’s efforts to serve constituents through affordable, environmentally-friendly initiatives and also accelerate progress toward our carbon neutrality goals.”

Mayor Wu is committed to Boston’s Green New Deal, making Boston affordable, healthy, and sustainable for all residents and business owners. The City of Boston has elected to increase the renewable energy content in BCCE’s Standard (default) product by an additional 15% beyond the State’s required renewable portfolio standard, increasing the total renewable energy content in the default product to 39%. Boston Community Choice Electricity uses the City’s collective buying power to provide more renewable electricity to Boston’s residents and businesses at a competitive rate. BCCE is the largest municipal aggregation program in Massachusetts and includes three options for electricity supply: Optional Basic, Standard (default), and Optional Green 100. These plans include between 24% and 100% local, renewable energy, and customers are able to choose which electricity rate and renewable energy portfolio is the best option for them. Eversource continues to serve as the utility delivering electricity to BCCE customers. Eversource also handles customer billing and service, grid maintenance, and power outages.

Recently, Eversource filed its proposed new Residential Basic Service rate ($0.17251/kWh) and its Small Business rate ($0.17.587/kWh) with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. These rates will be effective January 1, 2024 until July 31, 2024. As the City moves into the winter months, electricity usage is expected to rise. The City of Boston cannot guarantee that the BCCE rates will remain lower than Eversource’s Basic Service rates after July 31, 2024, because the local utilities change their rates twice a year. 

Some Boston residents and businesses are enrolled in contracts with third-party suppliers, whose rates can be significantly higher than BCCE. Competitive electric suppliers often mislead and take advantage of residents, particularly seniors, people of color, and residents who speak a language other than English, promising them unreliable savings. According to a report from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, third-party suppliers charged Massachusetts residents $525 million more than the general utility would have between 2015 and 2021. The Attorney General’s Office also reported that these suppliers continue to target low-income residents and communities of color, charging them higher rates for their electricity. The report found that residents in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, East Boston, Hyde Park, and Roslindale were heavily targeted, with more than 40% of low-income residents in these neighborhoods signing competitive electric supply contracts. In Roxbury, 57% of low-income residents are enrolled in third-party supply. As a part of Mayor Wu’s 2023-2024 State legislative agenda, she supported proposals to ban residential predatory competitive electric supply companies (bills H.3196 and S.2106). Boston residents and business owners can compare electricity rates here. Technical support is available from City of Boston experts by scheduling an appointment, emailing [email protected], or calling 3-1-1.  

“At a time when many Bostonians are making difficult choices about paying for food or fuel, utilities or rent, the City of Boston has a program to help residents reduce electricity costs while supporting the health of our planet,” said Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. “I am grateful to Mayor Wu for her commitment to supporting Boston residents and small businesses through this program and to our team in the Environment Department who have been steadfast in their efforts to ensure affordable energy prices, especially to those who are being targeted by predatory energy companies.” 

The Standard BCCE rate is the default option for Boston residents and business owners. Customers may choose to “opt up” to enroll in the Optional Green 100 rate, with 100% of electricity coming from local, renewable energy sources, like solar or wind. By opting up, customers can support the City of Boston in reducing carbon emissions, improving local air quality, and taking climate action within our communities. Boston Community Choice Electricity’s Optional Green 100 plan costs less than Eversource’s basic residential rate while utilizing 100% renewable electricity compared to Eversource’s 22%, the state requirement for renewable electricity. Residents and business owners can opt-up, down, or out of BCCE at any time with no penalties.

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