By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Selectmen April 14 approved the hiring of a consulting firm that is expected to spend the next year helping the town craft an aggregation agreement for the buying of all electrical power within the community.
The April Town Meeting authorized exploration of a so-called municipal electric aggregation agreement, which combines all the town’s residential, business and municipal power users to gain lower overall rates.
At the April 14 meeting, the board awarded the contract to the team of Peregrine Energy Group and Bay State Consultants. The consultants will be paid if an agreement is reached, taking a fraction of a penny from each kilowatt hour of energy the town purchases through aggregation.
Peregrine has helped Natick and Greenfield create aggregation programs, and is currently working with several other communities. Some of its programs offer customers the option of buying their power exclusively from renewable energy sources.
Peregrine Energy was founded by former Massachusetts Commissioner of Energy Resources Paul Gromer.
The consultants will work with state officials, secure a contract and provide customer support once an aggregation program is launched. They will also likely lead multiple local meetings to inform residents and business owners of the process.
The firm would be paid by taking a fraction of a cent for each kilowatt hour of energy used in any aggregation agreement.
“People should know we’re working on it and doing it as quickly as we can,” said Town Manager Jim Malloy. Although towns have had the ability to enter into such agreements since the utility industry was deregulated in the 1990s, such agreements are now drawing more attention, he added.
“By the time we are ready to do this, I’m sure there will be several other towns that are looking into it as well,” he said.
In other business, selectmen approved a beer and wine license to Nouria Energy Retail, Inc., which does business as Turnpike Shell, at the intersection of Route 9 and Lyman Street. The station will undergo a renovation later this year. The beer and wine license had been sitting unused since it was turned in by Highpoint Liquors when that store obtained an all-alcoholic beverages license.