WHITMAN — Town officials are exploring the feasibility of entering a municipal electric aggregation with several area communities via the Old Colony Planning Council that could, if approved, save residents money on their electric bills.
Mass. General Law permits municipalities to enter into such aggregations with town meeting approval, according to Assistant Town Administrator Gregory Enos. An aggregation would allow bulk purchase of electric power through a collective effort of businesses and residents.
Such a vote would be about a year away, but the Board of Selectmen by consensus has green-lighted a look at the possibility.
“Basically, it allows residents to have a fixed price for up to three-to-four years … so they can budget,” Enos said. “This winter I know a lot of people saw their bills coming in during February and [were] going berserk. I know I got a few phone calls.”
A conservative estimate puts the savings per year in an aggregation at $125 per year per residential customer, varying depending on weather, with municipal savings much higher, Enos said.
Customers would be automatically signed up if the aggregation is approved, but may opt out at any time and Whitman is under no obligation to sign up for the contract, if the bids are not favorable.
“We’ve had two or three meetings going over this type of procedure,” Enos said of the OCPC. “We would hire a consultant through the RFP process. They would go to every single meeting they could potentially go to [do] social media responses … get all the information out about the program.”
Five of the 16 OCPC member communities — Whitman, West Bridgewater, Halifax, Bridgewater and Avon — have committed to bring the proposal to their boards of selectmen, according to Enos.
The towns will reconvene soon to go through the consultant selection process and examine the program in-depth before seeking bids.
The Southeastern Regional Planning Development Authority (SRPDA) has already done that work prior to putting out for bids within the next two months, he said.