My organization is the local program manager for Philipstown’s and Cold Spring’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program through Hudson Valley Community Power, and we have recently observed there is confusion about CCA.
Your local program is empowered by community choice aggregation, a New York State policy that enables your municipality to determine our own default energy offering, rather than the New York State and local utility default. CCAs provide residents and small businesses contract-free access to a fixed electricity supply rate.
Community members who stay in the program pay for renewable-produced electricity from New York state sources through the supply portion of their Central Hudson bill. It does not mean they only receive renewably produced electrons through the wires to their homes, because all New York utility customers and electricity-generation sources are connected to the same grid. CCA is a simple and powerful way to influence the proportion of renewable power on the New York electricity grid. Since the program renewal in July, the program rate for residents has been lower than Central Hudson’s supply rate.
Many electric customers have had bad experiences with private energy supply company (ESCO) contracts, such as unexpected variation in the rate they pay, unexpected fees, and difficulty in ending a contract. In addition to the win-win low-cost renewable electricity benefit, CCA was enabled in New York to protect people from these bad ESCO activities. Through a request for proposals, competitive bid process, a qualified New York State-registered supplier was selected by the municipalities with guidance from the administrator, Joule Community Power, a division of Joule Assets.
The selected supplier complies with the program requirements: unrestricted (no contract) access to the fixed rate for electricity supply with no hidden fees. While all eligible residents and small businesses are automatically enrolled, they can choose to not participate by visiting the website or contacting the helpline. Central Hudson continues to be responsible for electricity delivery, billing, and repair services for all utility account holders, regardless of their program participation
CCA can also be used to empower to provide optimal, savings-guaranteed benefits of community solar using the same, simple, opt-out, no-commitment method. Philipstown has been exploring providing this Community Choice Solar benefit to its community members.
Anyone with further questions can contact the program team at 845-859-9099 or by email to [email protected]
Jeffrey Domanski, Beacon
Domanski is executive director of the Hudson Valley Community Power.