SALISBURY — A new green energy program could save residents an average of 19 percent on their electric bills this winter.
The Marlborough-based aggregation consulting firm Colonial Power Group Inc. announced in a press release that it helped the town enter into a three-year agreement with First Power Point LLC of Warwick, Rhode Island, which will bring electricity savings to residents through the newly created Salisbury Community Choice Power Supply Program.
"The town went through a local and state process," Colonial Power Group President Mark Cappadona said. "After that, it ends with the (state) Department of Public Utilities issuing an order which allows them to go out to bid. The market was not in their favor for the last couple of tries but they eventually found some favorable pricing."
Salisbury will use 100 percent green energy through National Wind renewable energy certificates. Cappadona said residents could collectively save an estimated $378,000 over the next three years through the new power supply program.
Cappadona said the agreement would lock ratepayers in at a kilowatt-hour rate of 11 cents — as opposed to the current 13 cents — beginning in January.
Residents will not notice any change in their electric service; the only discernible difference will be that "First Point Power" would be printed under the "Supply Services" line item on their National Grid electricity bill.
"Everything you have gotten along with National Grid, you will continue to get," Cappadona said. "But if the town did not offer this program, you would probably be seeing a higher payment. This certainly takes the pain out of this coming winter. There has been enough pain up in the Merrimack Valley with everything else that has been going on and they won't be seeing the spike they normally see in the winter."
Residents with basic electric service through National Grid can expect to see a mailing soon informing them of the change and will be allowed to opt out.
"Whether or not they join is entirely up to them," Cappadona said. "They have a 30-day opt out before the program ever begins in January and, if at any point in the future, they don't choose to stay within the program, they can always opt out or back in, there is never a penalty to do so."
Town Manager Neil Harrington said in a press release he was "happy to provide this green energy program to Salisbury residents."
"By using aggregation, which allows the town to buy energy in bulk, we are able to offer Salisbury ratepayers a more stable and lower-cost energy option while also utilizing a renewable energy source that is beneficial for our environment," he said.
Harrington is a shrewd negotiator, according to Cappadona.
"Salisbury really didn't jump at the first opportunity," Cappadona said. "They really waited for the market to come to them. A lot of communities, as soon as they get the ability to go out there in the marketplace, they grab the first thing that comes to them. Neil is a really seasoned guy and I tip my cap to him."
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.