Aggregation Information for NY/NJ Residents
For NY Residents
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a program in New York that empowers eligible municipalities’ entities such as villages, cities, and towns to create large buying groups of residential and small commercial electricity and natural gas accounts in order to seek bids for cheaper supply rates, essentially bulk-purchasing. CCA programs got their start with the Community Choice Aggregation order passed by the New York State Public Service Commission on April 20, 2016. The purpose of the CCA Order was to ensure that the benefits of energy deregulation were passed onto residential customers and small businesses by providing the ability to “aggregate” their accounts within their municipal boundaries in order to obtain competitive bids from Energy Suppliers (“ESCO”). Grouping residential accounts together create economies of scale, enabling participating municipalities to achieve greater savings for account holders as a whole, in contrast to what could normally have been achieved by the individual customer. More importantly, the CCA construct provides a substantial positive opportunity for meaningful and effective local and community engagement on critical energy issues and the development of initiative programs, products, and services that promote and advance the achievement of the state’s energy goals. CCA programs can educate, encourage, and empower communities and individuals to take control of their energy future through engagement with existing Reforming the Energy Vision for NY (REV) and Clean Energy Fund (CEF) opportunities and development of new distributed energy resources (DER) and clean energy programs.
All towns, cities, and villages are eligible to participate. If a community chooses to pursue Community Choice Aggregation, local government officials must hold a public hearing to discuss the opportunity, pass a local law authorizing the municipality’s participation, and communicate the details to their residents and small businesses.
Community Choice Aggregation will often start with a local group, local nonprofit, or elected official(s) building interest within their communities. The next step is to select a Community Choice Aggregation Administrator to oversee and administer the aggregation program. The Administrator may be a municipality, local development corporation, nonprofit organization, private firm, or other third party.
All customers of electricity and natural gas utilities are able to participate. However, depending on the utility provider, some commercial and industrial customers will have to opt-in rather than being included on an opt-out basis. The service classes that are eligible to be included on an opt-out basis are listed by utility in Appendix C of the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) Order on Community Choice Aggregation.
No, it is a non-variable price that does not change with market conditions. The price is locked in through a contract with the town, city, or village.
The existing utilities continue to deliver reliable power, maintain power lines, and respond to service outages. They are required by law to provide the same customer service to all residents regardless of whether or not they are in the Community Choice Aggregation program. Customers will still receive only one bill each month, directly from the utility, that will reflect the change in supplier.
Participation is up to you! Every customer that currently receives energy from their utility will be given full advanced notice of the program’s initiation and clear instructions on how they can opt-out. There will be online, phone, and mail (pre-paid postcard) options. Customers will have 30 days from the time they receive the opt-out notification. After that point, those customers that did not opt-out will be automatically migrated to the Community Choice Aggregation program. Customers may still opt-out at any time, even after the 30 day period.
No. Taxpayer or public funding is not needed to run a Community Choice Aggregation program.
For NJ Residents
Government Energy Aggregation (GEA) is a program that came from the passing of the Government Energy Aggregation Act of 2003 by the New Jersey Legislature. This law gave municipalities and counties the ability to aggregate the energy usage of the residential and non-residential ratepayers in order to conduct a bulk bid or auction in order to attempt to get the lowest possible price at that given time in order to maximize the benefits of deregulation to the participants. These benefits include a lower utility cost and an increased number of suppliers to choose from within New Jersey. If a government entity, such as your municipality, chooses to establish this program on your behalf, a request for proposal (RFP) will be sent to every Third Party Supplier in New Jersey that is licensed with the Board of Public Utilities. Your municipality is utilizing an independent Consultant to implement a procurement process for a Third Party Supplier to provide energy supply to its residents.
It is important to emphasize that this program covers only the power supply portion of your electric bill. Under New Jersey’s retail choice regulations, you may purchase power supply from the electric utility under its Basic Generation Service (“BGS”) tariff rates, or you may purchase your power supply from a third party supplier. Most residential electric customers in the State have not switched to a third party supplier; therefore, the majority of your town’s residents, like most residents across New Jersey, simply obtain their power supply from the utility’s “supplier” as they always have. All of your town’s residents are automatically included in the Aggregation program unless they have already chosen a “third party supplier.” Your town has engaged an independent consultant to collect energy usage information, prepare bid specifications, and seek pricing from third party suppliers through a public bid process. The aim is to leverage the bulk purchasing power of all of the town’s residents to obtain power supply that is less expensive, while also considering including a requirement for a higher renewable energy content than the power supply offered by the electric utility. Although all residential customers in your town not currently purchasing from a third party supplier are automatically included in the program, a resident may opt-out of the program if they wish to. Importantly, the delivery and distribution of electricity under this program will continue to remain the same, through the regulated utility, be it PSE&G, JCP&L or ACE, that serves your home. The utility will continue to handle your account, addressing any outages and maintaining service. The only thing that will change is the billing and cost of the electricity provided.
No, it is a non-variable price that does not change with market conditions. The price is locked in through a contract with the Township or Borough.
Participation is never mandatory. Residents who do not currently have a third-party supply contract (i.e., take power supply service from your local utility under the utility’s Basic Generation Service tariff) are included in the initial eligibility pool. However, residents can opt out of the program by mail, phone, or email using the information provided. Even after enrollment, you can still opt out at any time, effective with the next meter read cycle, and there are no penalties or fees to do so.
Power outages are not under the control of the third party supplier. The delivery system is still under the utility’s control, and there is no difference in delivery services whether you purchase the power supply from a third party supplier or from ACE, PSE&G, or JCP&L under its tariff. In the event of an outage, you would still contact your utility company (ACE, PSE&G or JCP&L).
For more information about GAGE’s current GEA program in Gloucester/Somerdale please visit this website, Gloucester/Somerdale GEA (gloucestergea.com). For general information about NJ’s GEA programs visit NJ Power Switch or the State of New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities website.