Yaede Continues Energy Cost-Savings Crusade with Ordinance to Create Energy Aggregation Program
Mayor Kelly Yaede’s quest to reduce residents’ energy bills continues with the recent introduction of an ordinance to officially create Hamilton’s energy aggregation program.
The ordinance, which was recently introduced and awaits Township Council’s final approval, is the next necessary step for Yaede’s plan to provide residents with a savings in their energy bills through the bulk-purchase of electricity from a third-party supplier. Yaede first announced her plans to pursuing the initiative this February during her State of the Township Address.
“With consumer protections and several benefits, as well as real cost savings for our residents, through our community energy aggregation program we strive to achieve energy savings that will benefit our residents and the future of Hamilton Township,” explains Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede.
Residents in seven towns across New Jersey (including Plumsted, Monroe, Montgomery, West Orange, Lambertville, West Amwell and Toms River – the state’s 8th largest town in population) have already enjoyed savings of between 8 ½ and 18 ½ percent on their energy bill supply costs thanks to the program. Currently, Little Ferry, Colts Neck and numerous other towns are also pursuing energy aggregation. Hamilton (the state’s 9th largest town) already benefits from the use of third-party supplied energy which powers its municipal buildings and produces an $180,000 annual savings for taxpayers.
Mayor Yaede and Hamilton’s energy aggregation consultant, Gabel Associates, also announced an anticipated timeline for implementing the program. Following the Township Council’s anticipated approval, necessary documents will be developed and submitted to both the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and Rate Counsel this summer. A special public information session for residents, as well as the bid process to award the program’s contract to a third-party energy supplier is set to take place in the fall. Following opportunities for residents to opt-out of the program, the service and its energy savings would likely begin in either the late winter or early spring of 2015. The exact timing will be determined by monitoring energy market conditions and identifying the best opportunity for achieving cost savings.
Representatives of Gabel Associates highlighted many regulatory safeguards designed to protect residents and other program benefits, which include:
- State requirements that contracts be sought through a public, competitive bidding process
- State requirements that energy supply costs must be equal to or less than utility prices
- Hamilton will only enter into a contract if the prices achieved are below regular Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) retail rates
- Bids will only be accepted from third party power suppliers that are licensed with the State of New Jersey
- Residents are free to opt out of Hamilton’s energy aggregation at any time, with no exit fees or penalties assessed
- During the contract (likely to last between 12 to 24 months) residents’ energy supply rates will be fixed and guaranteed
- There is no automatic ‘rollover’ of the contract. Following the end of the initial contract, a new bid would be issued, allowing the Township to re-test the competitive marker and allowing residents yet another opportunity to opt-out should they choose
- Additionally, the program should have no effect upon existing budget billing customers or income-eligible assistance program recipients, who may benefit from LIHEAP, Lifeline or Universal Service programs
Because the program only applies to energy supply, the delivery or distribution of energy will remain, as it is today, through PSE&G. Residents will continue to receive monthly bills from PSE&G and will still contact PSE&G regarding service problems (power outages).
Additionally, Mayor Yaede stressed that her administration will continue to provide residents with information on this new program throughout the implementation process.
“Communication with our residents is of utmost importance to me; and my goal is to keep our community thoroughly informed throughout the entire process of implementing this new program, the goal of which is to provide a real savings for our taxpayers. We will be providing residents with helpful and easily accessible information. Answers to frequently asked questions will be available through our Township website and shared through our social media and free e-mail newsletters to residents. I want residents to be part of this process, as well to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the savings,” explains Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE