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LUDLOW — The public comment period for the town of Ludlow’s new Power Choice Program proposal has now been extended until Friday, March 29, at 4:30 p.m.

Town officials describe the program as a municipal electricity aggregation, a type of group electricity purchasing program for Ludlow residents and businesses. The municipality has hired a third-party service to get a group rate for the residents and businesses of Ludlow to improve the cost of the supply of electricity to their homes and businesses.

Board of Selectmen Chair James Gennette said the plan is in response to increasing energy prices and will grant the town the ability to make use of the collective buying power of the community to provide new electricity choices. The town chooses its own electricity supplier and establishes a Ludlow-specific price for supply charge on participants’ electric bills. Program participants also will automatically receive more of their electricity from renewable sources.

“We’re getting hit across the board with a bunch of different increases and supplies and labor, there’s just a lot.” Gennette said. “I was looking for anything I could to try to find some kind of a respite for the residents and businesses of Ludlow.”

Eversource will continue to deliver electricity to customers in Ludlow without interruption but the program is designed to give Ludlow electricity customers better control over the price and environmental impact of the electricity they use. Instead of receiving Eversource’s basic service price, participants will receive a Ludlow Power Choice price for their electricity supply.

“Eversource had come out with their increases not too long ago and that’s what spurred me on to try and find something to help our residents and businesses to try and curb the costs for their utilities,” Gennette said, noting the new program offers options. “You pick your supplier and they will negotiate your price but they do it periodically throughout the year so your prices can fluctuate.”

Gennette said he found the aggregation plan concept intriguing and that the six-phase implementation process is moving along.

“We already met our first condition at Town Meeting where this was presented and we were approved to move forward so we’re actually in phase 2 right now which is the public outreach and comment period.”

Before launching the program, the town must develop an Aggregation Plan and submit it to state regulators for review and approval. To ensure the public has an opportunity to be a part of developing this program, the town has made its draft Aggregation Plan and associated documents available for review and comment before beginning the regulatory review process.

Ludlow Power Choice must also receive regulatory approval from the state before the program can launch.

Gennette said the program will not be able to guarantee lower prices compared with Eversource’s basic service prices, but the town is committed to working toward providing prices that are competitive and stable for the long term.

“We can’t guarantee prices by state order, we cannot guarantee that you’ll save money on your electric bill but I have yet to see where being part of an aggregate program hasn’t benefited the end users,” he said.

He also called Ludlow Power Choice, “a pretty fluid program” with a flexible opt-in and opt-out feature.
“At the end of the day, it could cost a little more and that’s why that opt out and opt in is such an important piece of this because if you really don’t like what the price is and you think you can do better somewhere else, you can go check it out if you want. If it works out, it works out, if it doesn’t you can come back,” he shared.

Gennette said he hopes Ludlow Power Choice will lead to other utility options in the town.

“I’m hoping that this does lead to other benefits like aggregate power stations, charging stations for vehicles. I don’t know what a program like that would look like yet but I think that’s something we could probably try to figure out,” he shared.

An overview of the projected plan will be presented at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, March 19, at 6 p.m. Community members and business owners are encouraged to review the plan and submit written comments to selectmen@ludlow.ma.us.

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