Regional energy middleman goes 100 percent green

And new rates are announced.


Cape Light Compact, the municipal aggregator based on Cape Cod, is now able to provide 100 percent, competitively priced renewable electricity to all its customers, and will increase its efforts to support future renewable-energy projects.

Until now, residential energy demand was met with power from a mixture of fossil fuels and renewables. According to a press release from the company, that demand can now be satisfied with 100 percent “green” supplies, providing a way for Cape and Vineyard electric customers to address climate change. This increased capacity is now feasible because Cape Light has teamed up with NextEra Energy Services Massachusetts, LLC (NextEra Energy Services), as announced at a Dec. 7 press conference in Barnstable.

The Massachusetts NextEra company is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, a leading clean-energy company with consolidated revenues of approximately $17.5 billion, and approximately 14,300 employees in 27 states and Canada as of year-end 2015.

Aggregators neither supply electricity nor do they distribute it. They negotiate with a supplier to get energy users electricity from a particular source, in this case a renewable one. By 1998, all 15 towns on Cape Cod and all six Island towns were members of Cape Light Compact. Everyone in these towns was given notice that their utility, which distributes electricity to customers, would now have a relationship with Cape Light Compact’s supplier. Customers were given 180 days to opt out.

Cape Light Compact had been offering 100 percent renewable-source-derived electricity through an opt-in program called Cape Light Green. Austin Brandt, a power supply planner with the company, told The Times by phone that the new agreement with NextEra means that all customers of Cape Light Compact will now be powering their homes with renewable-source energy unless they opt out of that option. Mr. Brandt estimated that the compact serves 130,000 of 200,000 customers on the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard.

Mr. Brandt described Cape Light Compact as a public entity with a governing board consisting of a representative from each town and county in the compact. The Island members include Richard Toole (Oak Bluffs), Sue Hruby (West Tisbury), Michael Hebert (Aquinnah), Tim Carroll (Chilmark), Paul Pimentel (Edgartown), and John Alley (Dukes County). The Tisbury seat is presently vacant.

Cape Light Compact has also announced it has adjusted its residential electricity supply prices, which will start with customers’ January meter reads. its current residential rate (January 2016 to January 2017) is 9.613 cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh), and their commercial rate for the same period is 8.324 cents/kWh.

For comparison, Eversource announced on Nov. 8 that it would be lowering its “basic service” rate for Eastern Massachusetts customers from 10.844 to 9.996 cents/kWh for the ensuing six months. The company said that prices from their suppliers were 8 percent lower than last winter.