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Boston to hire consultant to help build citywide electricity-buying plan

Mayor Walsh announced yesterday that the city will solicit bids next week for a consultant to develop a "municipal electricity aggregation program" that would essentially buy electricity in bulk for participating ratepayers - with a higher percentage of power coming from renewable sources than from your typical electric utilities.

The idea, first proposed last year by city councilors Michelle Wu and Matt O'Malley, would switch residents to the new plan from their existing electricity provider automatically, but residents could opt out.

Walsh said residents would get a chance to review and comment on the proposal before the city goes forward with it. The plan would also require state approval. The city had earlier requested comments on the idea.

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? "Electricity consumers in Massachusetts have a choice regarding who provides their electric supply."
http://energyswitchma.gov

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You get the generation services. But the price turns out to be higher than Eversource or the municipal aggregation, the "green" attributes turn out to be baloney, the price goes up without your noticing it, or the price doesn't go down when market costs (and the default generation prices) go down.

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Voting closed 4

If Boston cared about clean energy it would build its own nuclear or geothermal power plant out on highly secure Long Island. Any excess power generated could be sold to other communities and the funds used to pay for infrastructure improvements within the city. Like neighborhood schools which the city never gets around to building.

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Back in 2017 the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency estimated the capital cost of construction of a nuclear plant as $3,850/kW. Or Roughly $4Billion for a 1GW plant.

That doesn't include interest

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Ask GE to partner with one of the universities.

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What is the purpose of the partnership?

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$3,850/kW.

And conventional power generation capability is expensive, too, Natural gas around $1,200/kW

That means that any investment in demand reduction -- such as replacing air conditioners with more efficient models, or replacing lighting with LEDs -- that costs less than $1,200/kW is, at the moment, a better deal than building more generation.

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Wind and solar became cheaper than both some time back. It doesn't make sense to build dangerous or polluting power plants any more.

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The two 1,100 MW Vogtle nuclear units under construction in Georgia are now projected to cost $25B. These are the only ones still under construction in the US, since the South Carolina utilities abandoned the Summer units, after spending $9B+ on them.

It's too bad that nuclear hasn't worked out better, in the US, or most places. But it's just too expensive to do it right.

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Somerville and Arlington, among others.

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Yup. Lexington too.

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I understand that the renewable is more expensive, which is no doubt why they have the opt-out bit.

Other interesting wrinkle; the switch (at least in Brookline) results in a new account number for the consumer. My parents only noticed this when the power company threatened to turn off their power because they were several months behind. Of course they actually *weren't*, but because of that new account number their payments were not being applied to their account... :/

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the year I used the Muni in Belmont.

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Cambridge already does this too. It’s Enron-level nonsense.

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Great idea.
AGAIN!!

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A whole bunch of communities are doing this now. It is a thing.

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This actually came from Councilor O'Malley as the environmental committee chair. Walsh has been dragging his feet on environmental initiatives.

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I'm troubled by the requirement to opt out unless there's a strong expectation that the end-user cost of municipal aggregation will be lower than or equal to the default service plan offered by Eversource. I expect that most lower-income customers would be unaware of their ability to opt out, and they're the people least able to afford the costs of this plan, if they are higher.

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When Somerville did this a few years ago it was also opt-out by default. But it was sold to us as saving money being the first priority, and cleaner sources being the second. I'm not sure if it's actually ended up being cheaper or not, but the city definitely sold it to us as being so.

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< a higher percentage of power coming from renewable sources than from your typical electric utilities./blockquote>

Get ready to see your bill go up, unless it's all from Canadian hydro. The electricity from the late Cape Wind project was scheduled to be 100% higher than existing sources until Martha Coakely courageously beat them down - 5%. Solar requires backup to switch to every day, and the cost of ramping up a gas plant is higher than just running gas 24/7.

And the opt-out requirememt relies on your being too stupid to realize what has happened. They know that few people would opt in to higher prices, so they make it opt-out and force the public to pay attention and take the troble to change over.

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Voting closed 3

Lexington, for example, has a default service that has more real New England renewables than Eversource, and is less expensive. Residents can also opt for a Lexington option that is equivalent to Eversource's supply mix, and much cheaper.

Our friend Anon does not appear to understand the energy markets, or the dispatch of power plants.

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Voting closed 5

That doesnt seem legal. Suppliers need your consent before switching you....don't they?

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Marty was a state legislator before he became mayor. Why doesn't he just egg his friends at the statehouse to pass a California-style renewables mandate?

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There needs to be a monopoly in utility services, be they power, gas, water, or internet. Said monopoly though needs to be either socialized or so heavily regulated that the boot on their neck leaves permanent bruising.

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Public Meetings of Commissioners of Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities aren't held with Commissioners present ! https://www.mass.gov/about-the-dpu

Raises a question whether Commissioners are too removed from concerns of bill payers.

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If the electricity is not more expensive then unlikely anyone would care or complain.

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Voting closed 8

Olympics, Racing in the streets, Alternative Power Deal.
Which one of his friends will get this job as Power Czar?

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