Two firms enter Rhode Island’s municipal energy market

PROVIDENCE – An energy company and a nonprofit consortium have reached an agreement to supply many of Rhode Island’s public schools and other municipal buildings and facilities with electricity and related services, the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns announced Tuesday.

The league said the agreement with Constellation New Energy Inc. and the nonprofit PowerOptions Inc. should mean lower electricity prices and enhanced services for cities and towns participating in the Rhode Island Energy Aggregation Program.

Currently, 29 cities and towns in Rhode Island – including Providence, Cranston and Warwick – are in the program to purchase electricity for their municipal facilities. The program does not cover homes and businesses within those municipalities.

“The new partnership will ensure league members receive highly competitive pricing for electricity, while providing these municipalities with new services and enhanced customer support,” the announcement states.

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“The league’s new partnership with Constellation and PowerOptions will allow members to select a lower-cost energy supplier, manage their energy use, access expertise for energy procurement or choose green energy,” it reads.

The new contract means the league will phase out its current contractor, Direct Energy Inc., between now and 2020, as the two other firms are phased in. The new contract with Constellation and PowerOptions runs into 2022 with the option to extend, said Brian Daniels, the league’s executive director.

Under the agreement, Daniels said, Constellation will be the electricity supplier and PowerOptions will provide advisory services.

“For 20 years,” he said, “the league has used its collective buying power to maximize energy savings for its members. As municipalities look to make energy efficiency upgrades and add renewable energy to their portfolio, we want to offer them the expertise of industry professionals to help maximize their savings.”

Mark Huston, president of Constellation’s national retail energy business, said: “We look forward to working with PowerOptions and the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns in supporting their mission to help their members better manage their energy use and costs.”

PowerOptions President and CEO Cynthia Arcate added: “Our mission is to save our members money so they will have more resources to put toward their services and operations. Our group of more than 400 nonprofits and public entities gives us leverage in the market to negotiate extremely favorable supply arrangements for both electricity and solar.”

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at