Providence unveils plans for bundling energy use under new supplier

THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE on Monday unveiled plans to conduct a competitive bidding process for an energy supplier under a bundled plan that would cut costs and increase renewable energy usage. The city currently utilizes National Grid’s electricity supply. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ MARK S. MURPHY
THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE on Monday unveiled plans to conduct a competitive bidding process for an energy supplier under a bundled plan that would cut costs and increase renewable energy usage. The city currently utilizes National Grid’s electricity supply. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ MARK S. MURPHY

PROVIDENCE – Providence residents and business owners could see their electricity bills drop under a new Community Choice Aggregation Plan unveiled on Monday.

The proposal, announced by Mayor Jorge O. Elorza in conjunction with various city leaders and green energy partners, aims to let the city contract with a single energy provider for all municipal electricity users. By bundling all users into an agreement with a single energy provider, the city can lock in fixed, competitive prices for multiple years – driving down users’ bills – and increase renewable energy usage, the release stated.

Participants would have the right to opt-out of the program at any time without charge, the mayor’s office said.

The Providence City Council gave the go-ahead to create an aggregation plan in 2019 amid projected cost increases with National Grid Rhode Island, the default energy supplier. If approved, the aggregate plan would allow the city to identify a new energy supplier through a competitive bidding process, while also offering electricity options that incorporate or rely entirely on renewable energy sources.

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The proposed plan will be the subject of a public hearing on Wednesday, with feedback included in a final plan presented to the City Council. The R.I. Public Utilities Commission must also review and sign off on the plan before the bidding process begins.

The city, which is among a number of municipalities working to aggregate electricity, will partner with Green Energy Consumers Alliance and Good Energy New England for the bidding process and administration of the program.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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