Community Electricity Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
On this page you will find two sets of FAQs - the second set (most recent) at the top of the page and the first set below it. To view all FAQs, simply click on the "View All" button to see the full list for that set. You can choose to open and close the answers one by one or when viewing the full list, click "Show all answers" and you will see all questions with their subsequent answers.
- What is the Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) program?
Community Electricity Aggregation is an electricity supply program organized by the City and Town Councils of the participating communities. The program provides residents and businesses with new, City/Town-vetted options for electricity supply. The program was authorized by the Town Council in 2020. After a public review period, the Town Council approved the Plan for the program in August 2020. Finally, the Rhode Island Public Utility Commission approved the program Plan in November of 2021 (PUC Docket #5169)
- When does the CEA program start?
The program starts with your May 2023 meter read. You can check the exact date of your meter read on your electricity bill.
- What are the prices for electricity in the CEA program?
The Town will announce pricing for all CEA options, in March 2023. This will provide you over a month to evaluate whether participation in the CEA program is right for you.
- What options will be offered in the CEA program?
- What part of my electricity bill will be affected? Will delivery charges increase?
The program affects only the supply portion of your electricity bill; thus the delivery portion of your electricity will remain as before. The utility, Rhode Island Energy (formerly National Grid) manages delivery, which includes maintaining wires and poles and responding to outages.
- Who is eligible for this program?
Anyone who receives Standard Offer Service electricity supply from National Grid is eligible for automatic enrollment in the program’s standard product. This typically includes the vast majority of residents and small businesses in a municipality.
If you have already selected your own electricity supplier other than National Grid, you may join the program but you will not be eligible for automatic enrollment.
- Why are we proposing a program that automatically enrolls me and then allows me to “Opt-Out.” Why not use an “Opt-In” program?
When soliciting bids for an energy supplier, having more expected participating residents and businesses in the program will allow bidders to offer a larger discount on their bid rates. Using an “Opt-In” program would result in a much smaller number of participating residents and businesses than an “Opt-Out” program and would likely result in a higher bid price.
Factoid: If you look at your energy bill, you'll find that National Grid has already "opted you in" to an energy supplier that they have negotiated with already. You can "opt-out" of this National Grid selected supplier if you wish and contract with a supplier of your own. (see the next FAQ)
- Can’t I negotiate with suppliers on my own?
You certainly can and many residents and businesses have negotiated their own supplier agreements. But, aggregating a customer base by the Town provides for a more powerful market that will likely result in a lower price for the program.
- What is a "Standard Product"?
The standard product is the program’s electricity supply, which has been negotiated through a competitive process, in which, under ans aggregation program, eligible residents and business would be automatically enrolled, unless you select an optional product in the program or elect to opt-out of the program.
The program’s proposed standard product has twin goals of 1) costing the same or less than National Grid’s Standard Offer Service supply and 2) including additional renewable energy, above the State of RI’s minimum requirements.
For background, the State of RI requires every electricity supply to have a minimum amount of renewable energy. In 2021, that amount will be about 18%. By 2035, that requirement will increase to about 38%. Based on the way the Town plan is currently written, we expect the standard product will have an extra 10% renewable energy. In 2021, this would mean that the standard product would have a total of 28% renewable energy.
- What are the Optional Products?
The plan includes three optional products, designed with varying levels of renewable energy.
“Basic” – This includes just the State of RI’s minimum renewable energy
“Local Green 50%” – adds 50% renewable energy
“Local Green 100%” – adds 100% renewable energy