By Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Boston is a leader on climate action. We’re preparing our communities for climate impacts like coastal flooding and heat waves, and we’re cutting the emissions that cause climate change to begin with. We’ve committed to becoming carbon neutral by the year 2050, and we’ve developed a Climate Action Plan to get us there.
An important part of this work is bringing more clean, renewable energy into our city. And now, we’re taking another big step in this work with the rollout of our Community Choice Electricity program. This is our policy to combine the buying power of Boston’s homes and businesses, in order to get more stable and affordable electricity rates and bring more clean energy into our city. CCE allows the community to make informed electricity choices, increases utilization of renewable energy, and helps protect vulnerable populations who are most at-risk from the climate crisis.
The City has been sending notices to residents who are enrolled in Eversource Basic Service. The notice lets you know that you’re being enrolled in the clean energy program starting February 1. You don’t have to do anything to get that benefit and be part of this program. The Community Choice Program is an opt-out program, meaning that customers who are on Eversource Basic Service will be automatically enrolled unless they choose to opt-out. We’re also providing discounts for 20,000 low- income residents, through a solar energy program.
The opt-out period goes from December 4, 2020, through January 11, 2021. During this time, customers can opt-out by signing and returning a postage paid opt-out card received by mail. Customers can opt-in or out at any time without penalty, and have the option to “opt-up” to receive 100 percent renewable electricity. Participation in the program will only change where a customer’s electricity is coming from, not how it is delivered to their home.
The program will officially launch in February 2021 and will be the largest municipal aggregation program in New England. This is an opportunity for residents to be in better control of their energy consumption by placing power in the hands of the City rather than a company or utility. I assure everyone that the City of Boston is committed to moving forward with affordable and stable electric rates, and we are a trusted resource for residents seeking information on their electricity options.
We are committed to making sure that residents have all the information they need about this program and their options. Starting December 14th, the City of Boston’s Environment Department will host a series of 11 webinars for residents and businesses. Staff will answer questions on how the program works, customer benefits, electric rates and renewable energy offered, key features, and what to expect over the next few months as the program launches.
I encourage everyone to attend one of these webinars to learn more about how this program will benefit our goal to make Boston a more sustainable and resilient city. More information about these webinars, including instructions for registering, is available at Boston.gov/community-choice-energy.
Recently, I was named the Chair of the US Climate Mayors. This is an opportunity to highlight the progress we’re making here in Boston, and work with our fellow cities to promote climate action at the national level, as well. As cities across the country continue to look to Boston as a leader in this work, our Community Choice Electricity program will be a key component of our efforts. I encourage all Boston residents to support this work by participating in this program, and continuing to take climate action in your everyday lives. For more information about the City of Boston’s efforts, and about other steps the City is taking, visit Boston.gov/environment.
Martin J. Walsh is the Mayor of Boston.