Ulster County Community Choice Aggregation Working Group Meets to Develop Detailed Plan

Since 2013, CLP has been the leading advocate in New York for CCA 2.0--local public power programs that secure alternative energy supply contracts for their customers and develop community-level energy programs tailored to local needs and goals. By facilitating clean energy investments, CCAs have the potential to create local jobs, stabilize energy costs, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Since the NYS PSC authorized CCA in New York in April 2016, CLP has continued to work at the State level to press for REV policies that support robust and innovative local CCA programs and to head off actions by utilities to weaken them. As a direct result of our continued advocacy, a State-level working group has been created that draws on CCA expertise from around the country to develop CCA program recommendations for the State’s Clean Energy Advisory Council. CLP Director Jen Metzger is participating in the working group.

At the local level, CLP facilitated the creation of an Ulster County CCA Working Group whose goal is to explore and make recommendations on the vision, structure and goals of a CCA that will increase local control and foster local development of non-fossil fuel energy generation in the Mid-Hudson Valley. As California and Massachusetts have shown, CCAs can do much more than just aggregate energy supplies!

The Ulster County CCA Working Group is made up of municipal leaders and nonprofit experts who meet monthly under the chairmanship of Carl Chipman, Rochester Town Supervisor and President of the Ulster County Association of Town Supervisors and Village Mayors. The Working Group’s goal is to submit a formal petition to the PSC to form a CCA in 2017. Since the PSC’s decision on CCA left many details unresolved, CLP and the Working Group are examining questions such as the size of the proposed CCA (how many municipalities should be involved), what kind of programs it will offer in addition to procurement of supply (e.g., community renewable programs and energy efficiency services), and what kind of administrative structure will be created.

CLP believes that by harnessing the energy and local knowledge of communities, CCA 2.0 can make a major contribution to reaching the statewide goal of generating 50% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Look for announcements of public events and for further information from CLP and the Working Group in the spring and summer.

TAKE ACTION! In August, the utilities filed proposed tariffs with the PSC that would set charges for data that municipalities need from their utility to create and administer CCA programs. Central Hudson proposed to charge $.45 per record for aggregated data, and $1.35 for other data. This might not sound like much, but means that if would cost a group of municipalities with a total of 20,000 residents $36,000 for information that it costs the utility virtually nothing to produce. Not one of the NY utilities provided any evidence that the prices they have proposed are justified. CLP has submitted comments opposing these charges, and has been joined by many elected leaders and organizations who signed on to our comments. 

Tell the PSC that municipal governments exist in the public interest and should not have to pay anything, or at most a nominal cost, for information utilities can easily provide. Comment here.