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Community Electric Aggregation Program still active in Shirley

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SHIRLEY — The Electric Aggregation Program the town signed up for several years ago remains in effect, Town Administrator Mike McGovern told the Select Board last week. And residents who didn’t opt out then are still in it now.

That is, if they were National Grid customers and hadn’t already switched to another service provider.

A letter sent to every business and household in town that was on National Grid’s customer list at the time explained that, going forward, Dynergy would be their new energy provider, per a contract with the town. The switch was automatic, but they could opt out. Those who wanted to stick with National Grid could do so by returning a form included with the letter. Otherwise, no response was required.

If there’s confusion about the program now, that seamless transition could help explain it.

Some residents may not know whether they are part of the program or not. The answer to that question is that if you didn’t opt out, you’re in. Unless you signed on with another provider. To confirm, those in the program will see ”Dynergy” listed as supplier, on page 2 of their electric bills, McGovern said.

But the arrangement isn’t set in stone, one way or the other.

“The best thing to do,” is to visit the town website and click on the link to “Dynergy,” McGovern said. There you will find a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions about the program, including how it works, what it means to be part of it and how to get in, or out.

The notification letter that spelled out the details in the first place, for example, why was it sent?

It was the result of a contract the town signed with Dynergy, a competitive supplier, on behalf of the Community Electric Aggregation Program, only those on National Grid’s customer list received the letter. Those listed with another competitive supplier did not.

When the town decided to go all in for the aggregation plan, a consultant was hired to find a supplier and broker a deal. As explained at a town meeting when the plan was proposed, the goal was to offer residents a money-saving alternative to National Grid.

The consultant said his job was to seek out the best deal, spreading a country-wide net and marketing Shirley’s pool of National Grid customers as a group to “competitive suppliers” that offered better electric rates in return, lower than National Grid’s rates, which tend to rise and fall seasonally.

The agreed-upon, “aggregate” rate would be locked in for a specified period, per the contract.

The Dynergy contract expires in March, McGovern said.

Then what? The town will either re-up with Dynergy or find another company for a similar deal. Either way, residents currently in the program who want to stay on board don’t have to do anything, he said.