In 2019, Watertown launched the Watertown Electricity Choice (WEC) program, in order to increase the amount of renewable energy flowing into our homes. Electricity traditionally comes from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, and investor-owned utilities control what mix of sources to include. WEC’s goal is to increase the community’s investment in clean electricity while providing Watertown electricity customers with a stable, and often cheaper, electricity price. Upon the program’s launch, our enrollment numbers were: 82% participation, with 3% of residents opting up to 100% renewable energy.
Watertown Electricity Choice will purchase an additional 35% renewable energy over and above the state required minimum, for a total of 51% renewable electricity in 2020 and 53% in 2022. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to allow community choice, and Watertown is one of 140+ municipalities in the Commonwealth to adopt community choice since 1997. This ambitious target helps Watertown uphold its Green Communities title and reputation as a leader on sustainability and resilience efforts in the region.
How does Community Choice work?
In a typical scenario, Eversource purchases sources of electricity from natural gas, coal, solar, wind, etc. to meet customers energy needs. Eversourcemaintains responsibility over distribution (poles, wires) to deliver the electricity to public, and they also handle billing and customer service issues.
But with Community Choice, your local government takes over the utility’s role in purchasing electricity for residents, uses their bulk purchasing power to select electricity sources, negotiate the percentage of renewable energy, and negotiate a stable price for local customers. Eversource maintains responsibility over distribution to deliver electricity. Eversource also still handles billing and customer service, although “Direct Energy" will appear on your bill from Eversource as your electricity supplier.
Use this online calculator to compare Watertown Electricity Choice prices with the most recent 12-month average of Eversource’s Basic Service prices and see the greenhouse gas emissions impact of opting up to the 100% Green option.
How does this program support climate resilience?
Annually WEC reduces Watertown’s carbon footprint by the equivalent of 40 million miles driven by the average passenger car! In addition, every time you pay your electric bill, you make an investment in:
- Reducing Watertown’s greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the amount of renewable energy used to generate electricity. Electricity generated from renewable sources, such as the sun and wind, does not create the greenhouse gases that cause climate change and does not pollute the air.
- Encouraging the development of additional local renewable energy projects by creating additional demand for the electricity generated by those projects.
- Supporting local businesses and local jobs by buying electricity from New England-based projects.
If you want to learn more and take action, you can visit the WEC website, review your utility bill, and talk to family and friends about joining the program or even opting up to 100% renewable energy.