Saving the planet one light switch at a time

Calling all Swampscott electricity users! You may be helping the planet in more ways than you think. 

That is if you are using Swampscott Community Power, a community-based program under National Grid, created to meet the town’s sustainability goals, and also hopefully help you save a few bucks.

Investor-owned utilities (IOUs) rates (such as National Grid) fluctuate in the summer and winter, because of the difference in electricity needs during each time of the year.  

With Swampscott Community Power’s long-term (28-month) pricing, compared to National Grid’s short-term (six-month or three-month) pricing and fluctuating rates, Swampscott Community Power offers stable, predictable rates for customers.

Although savings can’t necessarily be guaranteed because of National Grid’s unknown future costs, savings do come with the program.

“Looking at the published rates, I’m saving about 10 percent at the moment compared to current National Grid rates,” said Swampscott resident Eric Nothnagel, who would recommend the program to anyone not currently using it.

Vice President of Communications & Program Management Marlana Patton from Peregrine Energy Group who runs Swampscott Community Power encourages people to check out the program this winter, because the prices will be competitive with National Grid.

Swampscott Community Power is not only aimed at giving customers more stable rates, but is also being used to meet the town’s sustainability goals. And not to fear! Although residents are automatically enrolled into the program, they can leave or join whenever they please. 

Participants are automatically signed up to receive 100-percent renewable energy with the Standard Green Plan. Under this plan, the energy is provided by wind power outside of New England.

“The best-kept secret in Swampscott is that individual residents are reducing the carbon footprint,” said Ryan Hale, chair of the Renewable Energy Commission. 

Hale said customers can ignore all that “you-have-dirty-electricity” junk mail, because the electricity being provided by the program is far from it. Especially if you upgrade to the New England Green Plan, which also provides 100-percent renewable energy, but right from your own backyard — maybe not literally. 

The New England Green Plan provides energy from, you guessed it: New England!

Although a bit pricier, the perk of this plan is that it creates a market demand for energy suppliers in the area, which will in turn create more sustainable energy providers in New England.

More than half of Massachusetts towns use a community-power program, also known as a community-choice program. Swampscott Community Power currently serves 4,397 community members. 

“I think it’s great,” said Nothnagel. “It saves us a little bit of money and it’s a great way for the town to engage in public policies to help curb climate change.” 

So when you’re pumping that window air-conditioning unit this summer, you can feel a little bit better about yourself, knowing the power is coming from an environmentally-friendly source, and that it will keep an extra dollar or two in your pocket.