Building Support for Community Choice Aggregation

Climate Issue 

What campaign messages and methods work best to build support for Community Choice Aggregation?

Community Choice Aggregation (aka Municipal Aggregation, Community Choice Energy, and other variants) is a way for cities, counties, and some special districts to “green up their electricity”, increasing the proportion of clean energy contained in their default electricity service. Going beyond the default mix specified by state Renewable Portfolio Standards, CCA works through “the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts on a community-wide basis, but allowing consumers not wishing to participate to opt out.” (Wikipedia)

CCA has been allowed under state law in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio. It is still left to each municipality to decide whether to pursue it within guidelines set by state law - and that decision relies on building support across a community. Citizens, community leaders, city staff and elected officials all need to get on board. Understanding how CCA works, and why it’s a good thing, requires us to learn a bit more about our electric service structure and operation.


Let's assemble best practices for community conversations!  Here are some starting points. Please join in to contribute your experiences.

Methods to build support:

  • Town meeting or forum
  • Meet with your elected officials
  • Letters to Editor of local papers

What messages of benefits and advantages work best?

  • Builds the local economy and local jobs, don’t import FF from out of state
  • Better for environment, make our town a green leader
  • Taking advantage of bulk buying power

What messages have proven problematic?

  • Lower bills? Often it works out that way, but not always. While news coverage may emphasize it, don’t lead with cost savings. Emphasize instead that you'll get greener, cleaner local energy at essentially the same or maybe slightly less costs; and if for some reason your town's best negotiated rate is coming in too high, you can roll back temporarily to the default utility mix until rates improve.  

Common Objections

  • "government overreach, the city is somehow taking over my private choice"
    • But it’s really no different than how choice works in your current service. You can always opt-out for different service.

Let's assemble a resource library - upload files or share links to:

  • Infographics for web, posters, handouts
  • Short video explainers
  • Shareable social media images
  • In-depth preparation for campaigns



To be added....


Rick Shankman's picture

Question posed to "the Team:"

Question posed to "the Team":

Explain this... 

"The major energy bill that Governor Charlie Baker signed last week was hailed by its proponents as a victory for consumers and for the environment.

But there were two big winners who didn’t get mentioned in the press releases: Eversource and National Grid... The bill’s primary goal was to compel utilities to buy more “clean energy,” likely hydropower from Canada and possibly from wind farms in northern New England, as well as up to 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind, from projects under development.  Eversource and National Grid will now be allowed to pass any extra costs for these contracts on to consumers.

But the utilities gain in another way.  Both are involved with power line projects through northern New England that could be used to deliver all that clean energy. The law is particularly important to Eversource because of its $1.6 billion Northern Pass, a transmission project hung up in the New Hampshire permitting process.  National Grid, meanwhile, is helping to finance two projects developed by Anbaric, one through Vermont and a much bigger line that would go underwater from Maine to Plymouth.

The Senate version would have banned something the utilities badly wanted — tariffs on electric rate payers to help pay for natural gas pipelines.  But the ban was dropped in the version of the bill that became law.  This was a victory for the utilities because they happen to be partners in a natural gas pipeline expansion project led by Spectra Energy....

In early 2015, Eversource and National Grid canceled previous long-term contracts with Cape Wind.  Eversource executives, in particular, were reluctant to enter into a contract with Cape Wind in the first place."

See... Here’s who really won in the state’s new energy bill from the Boston Globe.

Do you really have any idea at all what you are doing, or who you are advocating on behalf of?