Rhode Island Approves First Aggregation Plans Covering over 80,000 Households
Excerpt below. For the full press release click here
Warwick, RI – (05/26/2021) - The cities of Providence and Central Falls and the towns of South Kingstown and Barrington received approval from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), for the state’s first Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) programs, also known as municipal aggregation. Together these communities represent nearly 20% of all households in Rhode Island. In a major step towards energy democracy, each municipality’s plan sets out a bold vision to provide competitively sourced and cleaner electricity as the new default in their communities. The plans also offer optional products to maximize affordability or environmental impact.
Community Electricity Aggregation or CEA allows a municipality to procure electricity in bulk for residents and businesses, with the goal of increasing the renewable content of the electricity used by the entire community while keeping the supply rate stable and affordable. For Providence, Central Falls, South Kingstown, and Barrington, the CEA process started in 2019 when the City and Town Councils approved the development of aggregation plans. The communities retained a leading national aggregation consultant, Good Energy, to help them develop their individual plans, obtain the required regulatory approval and launch the programs.
South Kingstown joined the Cities of Providence and Central Falls in the initial procurement of an aggregation consultant, which placed a strong focus on both financial and environmental goals. The Town’s Sustainability Committee spearheaded CEA and provided key input into the plan’s education, outreach and renewable energy features. “Our goal is to empower people to make choices that are good for the planet, with the added benefit of the potential to save South Kingstown residents money on electricity bills. For a community threatened by sea-level rise, this approval is an important step in the right direction,” said South Kingstown Town Manager Rob Zarnetske.
With the PUC approvals, the four communities are ready to procure bids for electricity supply after which they will launch extensive education and outreach campaigns in their communities. The programs may launch as early as the fall of 2021. Good Energy has worked with each of these communities to design, develop and secure regulatory approval for their plans. “These Rhode Island communities are placing themselves at the forefront of the vital campaign to pursue energy democracy and combat climate change,” said Philip Carr, New England Director for Good Energy.