Quincy city government has substantially increased the energy efficiency of city buildings and operations and its use of renewable energy. Now, as the Sun reports (“City Eyes More Renewable Energy,” Oct. 25, 2018), the city is considering a move that would do even more to reduce the greenhouse gases that, by fueling increasingly violent weather and sea level rise, are threatening life and property here.
Specifically, the city has been exploring a program called green municipal aggregation (GMA), whereby electric power used by residents and small businesses would contain a bit more clean renewable energy than the basic service electric power that most Quincy residents now rely on. On behalf of Quincy Climate Action Network, I’d like to thank City Councilor Ian Cain for introducing a resolution that authorizes the city to explore GMA; the other city councilors for their unanimous vote for the resolution; and Mayor Koch and his administration for their diligent pursuit of GMA.
Under GMA, the increase in green power would be small, probably another five percent added to the thirteen percent that state law requires for 2018, but when multiplied by the number of ratepayers in Quincy, it would represent a big step in our city’s fight against climate change. Meanwhile, residents would barely notice the difference. Like residents of Somerville, Brookline, Dedham, Arlington, and the numerous other towns and cities with GMA, they’d continue to receive their bill from National Grid, and the price of their power would be roughly the same—a tiny bit higher or lower than now. Finally, those who’d rather stick with basic service—or switch back to basic service at any time—could do so by checking a box on a postcard, visiting a website, or calling an 800 number.
At present, Quincy residents have two choices when buying electricity: basic service or the deceptive deals being pushed by door-to-door electricity purveyors. Sadly, many residents have fallen prey to the latter and experienced spikes in their electric bills. By contrast, if we adopted GMA, we’d have at least two legitimate choices: basic service or fairly priced greener electricity. That sounds great to us at QCAN.
Board Chair, Quincy Climate Action Network