Scant Turnout for Cold Spring Electricity Issue

Grant approved for state funding for Village Hall

The public might still be in holiday recovery mode, as few residents turned out for a public information session by Hudson Valley Community Power at the Wednesday (Jan. 4) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board. Fewer than five residents attended either by Zoom or in person. 

It was the second such presentation in as many months, outlining the possible return of a Community Choice Aggregation initiative in which municipalities join together to purchase electricity for participating homes and small business, often at reduced rates and utilizing renewable energy. 

Cold Spring was part of a group of 10 Hudson Valley municipalities, including Philipstown and Beacon, that participated in the program in 2021 and 2022. 

If the Village Board votes to return to the program, nearly every household will again be automatically enrolled, although residents will be able to opt out at any time.

In an email on Thursday (Jan. 5), Glenn Weinberg, a vice president with HVCP, said 817, or about 80 percent, of Cold Spring’s eligible customers participated in the program, which ended abruptly in July when Columbia Utilities backed out of a three-year contract to supply the electricity. The municipalities are now suing Columbia for damages. 

When the program collapsed, participants again began to receive their electricity from Central Hudson. While the CCA program operated, Central Hudson continued to handle billing. 

When Cold Spring joined the CCA in 2021, the Village Board chose to purchase electricity only from renewable sources such as wind and solar. According to HVCP, village residents had saved about $216,000 before Columbia reneged. Philipstown and Beacon saved $941,380 and $651,800, respectively; collectively, Hudson Valley participants saved more than $7 million, it said. 

Such savings were realized because municipalities that were part of the CCA paid a flat rate of 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Residents who opted out, and those not eligible for the program, saw their rates climb as high as 21 cents per kilowatt hour, increases brought about by such factors as the pandemic and the effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global energy prices.   

No decision was made on Wednesday regarding Cold Spring rejoining the CCA. “We need to hear from the public,” said Mayor Kathleen Foley.

HVCP has scheduled two more public presentations in Cold Spring: Jan. 21 via Zoom and Jan. 31 at Village Hall. A PowerPoint summary is posted at coldspringny.gov.

If the Village Board votes to rejoin the program, HVCP hopes to reinstate the CCA program this summer. 

In other business …

  • The village has been approved for a $250,000 grant from the New York State Dormitory Authority for improvements and upgrades at Village Hall. Some needs that could be addressed include security, basement mold abatement and improved ventilation.
  • The board accepted an independent audit of the village’s accounting practices conducted by the EFPR Group for the fiscal year ending May 31. The audit raised no significant concerns. 
  • Royal Carting will pick up discarded Christmas trees and wreaths at curbside on Wednesday (Jan. 11).
  • The board issued a proclamation commending Owen Carmicino for his work in designing and developing signage at the Sept. 11th memorial at McConville Park, completed as part of his Eagle Scout project.

One thought on “Scant Turnout for Cold Spring Electricity Issue

  1. Why suggest that the public is at fault here for not showing up? If 80 percent participated that should be enough of a sign that these programs are well-supported. The board should move ahead with the CCA if the plan is sound.

Leave a Reply

The Current welcomes comments on its coverage and local issues. All online comments are moderated, must include your full name and may appear in print. See our guidelines here.