If you’re like me, almost every time you pick up the phone, it’s a robo-call trying to sell you cheaper, “greener” energy.
Many of us want to sign up for renewable electricity, but it’s difficult to sift through the fine print and know that you are dealing with a reputable seller.
While the City can’t stop the robo-callers, it can take the uncertainty away.
By pulling the entire rate-paying population together as a single market—called aggregation—the City can purchase energy as a unit.
This effort, called Newton Power Choice, will ensure Newton ratepayers are getting a good deal, a stable energy price, and no tricky fine print.
It is also the largest single opportunity to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
For over a decade now, the City has chipped away at its energy budget with conservation measures—insulating buildings, adding solar panels, switching out light bulbs. Trouble is—the City represents a tiny fraction of the energy used in Newton-about 3%.
Another huge, and growing, source of emissions is transportation (30-40%). That’s why I’ve been championing safer walking and biking infrastructure, good connections to transit, and the good work of Safe Routes to School (https://www.facebook.com/NewtonSafeRoutes/).
But switching the source of electricity for ALL ratepayers in Newton is one of the biggest single actions the City can take.
A survey by Green Newton showed that over 86% of us agree—two thirds of these respondents would pay between $8 and $15/month to significantly increase the renewable energy in our electricity supply.
That’s why City Council—in October of last year—voted to adopt the Newton Power Choice program. Sometime next fall, Newton rate payers will have the option to accept the “default” mix of energy—which will have a higher mix than the state-mandated 13% of renewables.
You will also be able to opt for:
She has said that the “right” number will be the highest percentage of renewables acceptable to the highest number of residents—in other words, the percentage that will have the most impact on our planet’s future.
For an average household spending $150 a month on electricity an extra $8/month would mean that Newton’s percentage could be as high as 40% in addition to the state-mandated 13%. For a household spending $100 a month on electricity an extra $5/month would support 40% green electricity.
Moving to 53% renewable (the 40% + 13%), would put Newton ahead of EVERY other aggregated community in the state (there are more than 125 now). The next highest, Brookline, opted for 25%.
And anyone who currently gets a low-income discount would still get that price relief. (Anyone who gets net metering credits because of solar panels will also continue to see that savings).
To find that “right” percentage, Mayor Fuller is considering a poll of Newton ratepayers. I like and support that idea. While the Green Newton survey was good, having more people participate would be even better.
You can influence the final choice by participating in the poll, if and when it happens, or by contacting the City here: https://masspowerchoice.com/newton/support. You can also tell the mayor directly that you'd like the poll to happen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
More details on the program can be found here: https://masspowerchoice.com/newton. You may also check the website of Newton Coalition for Climate Action: http://newtonclimateaction.org/newton-power-choice/.
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