Jen Metzger (845) 489-0830
Susan Gillespie (845) 658-9820
Power Programs Now an Option for Municipalities
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued an order enabling Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in all of New York State, empowering communities with the opportunity to negotiate contracts for more favorable rates and cleaner electricity supply. As the electricity markets are being reorganized under the progressive Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, CCA will become a powerful tool for communities at the local level, especially for customers including homeowners and small business owners, to engage in a meaningful way.
With CCA, the smaller customers classes can now aggregate to become a strong negotiator. Under the direction of a municipality, which must pass a local law to participate, CCA gives communities the opportunity to establish clean energy goals and administer programs that promote of what is known as ‘distributed energy resources’--any combination of energy efficiency measures, local renewable energy generation such as rooftop solar, energy storage technologies, or smart thermostats, and many others.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to grow the local economy while supporting a transition to a clean energy system,” said Jen Metzger, Co-Director of Citizens for Local Power (CLP). “By enabling CCA, the PSC has empowered our local communities over energy decision-making in a way that can support the local goals as well as the Governor’s ambitious statewide goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030.”
CLP has been an active participant in the CCA proceeding, working with Local Power Inc., the founders of CCA, to educate and inform communities in Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess, Erie and Putnam counties of the benefits of CCA in terms of clean energy, favorable rates, local jobs, and economic development. Through community outreach, education, and a series of public meetings held over the past two years, CLP pushed for the advanced version of CCA, sometimes known as CCA 2.0, which allows communities to develop energy plans to facilitate local investment and provide valuable energy services to their communities, in addition to negotiating supply contracts.
“The Commission’s order enabling CCA is a great win for New York’s communities, and I look forward to working with CLP, our towns, and community members in bringing CCA to Ulster County,” said Carl Chipman, President of the Ulster County Association of Town Supervisors and Village Mayors, and the Town Supervisor of Rochester.
In Westchester County, Sustainable Westchester initiated a PSC-approved CCA pilot in 2015 that includes 20 cities, towns, and villages in that county. They recently received bids from energy supply companies that beat out the 12-month average price from Con Edison and New York State Electric & Gas Company, including a 100% renewable option.
“We are excited for this opportunity to move forward with CCA in the Mid-Hudson region, and to build on their experience,” says Susan Gillespie, President of the Board, Citizens for Local Power. “Our local communities have been waiting for this moment and we will be rolling out our first meeting to form a CCA in Ulster County at our June 18 energy forum.”
In addition to New York, CCAs exist in six other states, including Illinois, Ohio, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. CCA originally formed in Massachusetts in the 1990s, primarily to negotiate better rates for small customers in electricity markets, but has since evolved to include renewable energy development and other energy services.
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Citizen for Local Power helps communities in the Mid-Hudson region transition to a locally-based clean energy economy. Combining research, education, advocacy, and project coordination, CLP supports community and municipal engagement in energy decision-making, transforming energy policy and practice to strengthen local economies, mitigate climate change, and increase local resilience. For more information go to www.citizensforlocalpower.com.