The PSC has approved “generic” CCA implementation plans by Joule Assets, Good Energy, and the Municipal Energy and Gas Alliance, Inc. (MEGA)—three CCA administration consultants seeking to sign up municipalities in NYS to aggregate the electricity and gas accounts of communities as these companies sign customers up over time. Joule's program offers a clean energy option and services to support local clean energy investments. The MEGA program will consist of “1.0” contracts with ESCOs for supply, at least in the near term, although the implementation plan leaves open the possibility of offering other types of services down the road. Good Energy offers a “1.0” CCA program that focuses on financial savings, which are not likely to be significant in New York’s retail supply market, with the option to include opt-in green products as an alternative to the standard supply. Though, when Good Energy presented their program at the 2018 Association of Towns meeting, the company did not discuss those options.
CLP has compiled a list of recommendations and questions for elected officials and residents to ask if their municipality has been approached by these types of companies to join a CCA.
Commitment to Clean Energy
The current regulatory structure offers no pathway to integrate local renewable energy into CCA electricity supply. Furthermore, there is no revenue stream to support energy efficiency programs, community energy education, and energy planning.
- How will the CCA program being offered support the transition to a clean energy system?
- Does the program support community renewable development?
- Is there a guarantee that the ESCO contracted with to supply power will not offer a “dirtier” supply than the utility? Will it be greener than the utility supply?
Benefits of Joining
New York utilities are able to hedge in energy markets as ESCOs do, and because they are the aggregator of aggregators (some 75% of electricity customers in NY still get their supply through the utility), utilities are able to secure a price for electricity supply in wholesale markets that is challenging to beat. Currently, CCAs in New York can negotiate contracts with ESCOs for supply on behalf of their residents and small businesses. Communities can seek contracts that support renewable energy through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), but this will come at a premium cost (though at less of a premium than if purchased by an individual customer), and does not directly support local renewable development.
- Given the challenge of guaranteeing significant cost savings over the utility supply price, particularly outside of Con Ed territory, what other benefits are being offered through aggregation?
- Will the CCA program do anything to support local investments in clean energy? If so, explain how.
CLP recommends that municipalities interested in CCA issue an RFP to select an administrator.
- In order for a municipality to join a CCA, a local law must first be passed. When this law is written, the goals of the CCA should be explicitly expressed. What does your municipality want to achieve through CCA? For example, it’s important for the local economy and resilience to encourage local clean energy investments through CCA. There should also be a longer-term goal of the CCA being administered locally rather than by a for-profit administrator. CLP recommends considering including the goal of encouraging local clean energy investments as well as the longer-term goal of local CCA administration (as opposed to relying on an out-of-region private consultant).
- What’s the administrator’s percentage and what is that paying for?
- How are the responsibilities for program administration and managing the supply contract divided between the Administrator and the ESCO? (In other words, how much work is the Administrator actually doing for their percentage, vs. how much they are requiring the ESCO to do for you as part of the supply contract).
- What are the responsibilities of the municipality?
- How will the private consultants help build capacity for local governments to eventually take on the responsibilities of administering the CCA themselves?