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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — South Kingstown is one of six Rhode Island cities and towns launching aggregation programs that use community-wide buying power to offer residents and businesses new options for electricity supply.

Set to launch in May of 2023, the programs are the culmination of a multi-year effort involving Barrington, Central Falls, Newport, Portsmouth, Providence and South Kingstown working with electricity aggregator Good Energy.

The Community Electricity Aggregation programs will promote competitive rates while also including additional clean energy from Rhode Island, Good Energy officials said.

“We’re excited to help communities combat climate change while also looking out for the energy spend of their residents and businesses,” Good Energy’s New England Regional Director Philip Carr said. “Community electricity aggregation programs are rapidly transforming the electricity sector in many states, and we are thrilled to bring this program to Rhode Island consumers.”

The communities would collectively represent more than 100,000 eligible electricity users.

Each municipality, including South Kingstown, developed its own aggregation plan, customized to reflect its community priorities. The municipality’s city or town council then approved the plan, as did the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

“Rising energy costs are one of the biggest concerns for the residents of South Kingstown,” Town Manager James Manni said. “This program will provide our residents with stability and guard against volatility in the energy market. This collaboration with other cities and towns simply makes sense.”

The municipalities have committed to sourcing their renewable energy from within New England. This will include specific Rhode Island-based projects such as solar power facilities built on brownfields in North Providence and Johnston, as well as wind turbines in Providence, Coventry and Narragansett.

The programs electricity offerings are poised to exceed state renewable energy standards while staying competitive, Good Energy said.

Providence-based nonprofit Green Energy Consumers Alliance will provide a significant portion of the voluntary renewable energy from Rhode Island-based projects.

“Our organization’s mission is to speed the transition to clean energy,” Green Energy Consumers Alliance Executive Director Larry Chretien said. “And that’s exactly what this program does. We’re going to bring more wind and solar onto the grid and the best part is that it will be from projects located right here in the Ocean State.”

After a competitive bidding process, the group selected NextEra Energy Services as its electricity supplier. Final pricing will be announced about two months in advance of the launch, in March 2023, via community-wide outreach and education initiatives, Good Energy said.

When each program launches, any electricity customer using Last Resort Service supply from the state’s power utility, RI Energy (formerly National Grid), will be eligible for automatic enrollment in the new CEA program. Customers will have an opportunity to opt-out before the program starts and, if enrolled, will be able to leave the program at any time without penalty, according to Good Energy.

RI Energy will continue to deliver electricity, respond to outages and manage all billing. Customers who participate in the programs will continue to receive a single electricity bill, but will see a change in the bill’s “Supply” section. Utility discount programs, budget billing and solar or net-metering benefits will not be affected by participating in the CEA programs, Good Energy said.

(1) comment

Mike Hachey

Additional options to consumers are generally a good thing. However, these programs are particularly insidious in that the consumer, not particularly expert in energy matters, has a choice made for them unless they act and opt out. Further, in general, committing long term to an option when prices are at all time highs is ill-considered. (Hint - the Biden war on fossil fuels will not stand).

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