Community Choice Aggregation or CCA is a relatively new way for communities to bring the financial and environmental advantages of bidding for alternate electrical suppliers to homeowners and local businesses.
Legislation in many states, including Massachusetts, allows municipalities that are served by investor-owned utilities to decide on a default electricity supplier for all electricity users in the municipality. The supplier is usually chosen by the municipality through a bidding process directed by a special entity called an aggregator, who works to match the municipalities requirements for electricity with a competitive supplier. The requirements provided by the municipality can include options for environmentally-preferable energy supplies. Energy customers continue to get a single bill from the utility. The bill will include transmission costs from the utility, and energy costs from the chosen supplier. Costumers get multiple chances to opt-out of the new supply, but the aggregated bidding done by the town usually results in a deal that is better for customers year-over-year than the default utility energy supply option.
In many more states, including Massachusetts, individual electricity customers can choose alternate energy suppliers, but the amount of research needed to find a trustworthy and financially advantageous supplier has kept most households form participating in alternate energy suppliers. Businesses, able to put more resources into research, have taken up alternate energy suppliers at a much higher rate.
In Acton, the 2016 Town Meeting approved having the selectmen investigate a CCA for Acton.