Community Choice Aggregation
By Jeff Domanski
From Issue 49: Spring 2021
The town of Gardiner is exploring joining the Hudson Valley Community Power program to bring easy, clean electricity buying options to community members.
The program is one of a number of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs in New York, which were authorized by the State in 2016. CCA empowers participating municipalities to come together to negotiate for electricity supply on behalf of residences, businesses, religious groups and community organizations within their borders to obtain better prices and access to clean energy.
Gardiner chose Westchester-based Joule Community to guide this exploration. Should Gardiner decide to proceed with joining the CCA, Joule would serve as the Program Administrator, and Joule’s non-profit partner, Hudson Valley Energy, will be the in-community program manager.
The program offers the following benefits:
- Cost savings from a guaranteed fixed electricity supply rate
- 100% clean energy from New York-based hydropower, wind or solar
- Consumer protection with no contracts, hidden fees or penalties
- Ongoing support and education opportunities provided by the CCA Administration team
The selected supply option would become the new “default” choice for community members for whom Central Hudson is currently choosing electricity supply sources each month. Under this program, Central Hudson would continue to deliver electricity, send bills, and maintain electric service lines for its consumers.
Kim Mayer, Gardiner resident and member of the town’s Climate Smart task force supports the CCA effort. “Joining a CCA is a bold move that would significantly reduce our town’s carbon emissions and help to combat climate change. The rates are negotiated to be competitive with those offered by major utility companies like Central Hudson. For these reasons, it is smart to be considering this program that has potential environmental and economic benefits for our community.”
Although this program automatically enrolls everyone, if one does not want to participate, one can easily opt out. If Gardiner joins a CCA, everyone will receive a letter from their town supervisor describing the benefits mentioned above, naming the company chosen to supply the electricity, and explaining how to opt out if one does not want to participate. One month later, all who did not opt out of the program will receive a letter from Central Hudson confirming that their electricity supply would now be supplied by the company chosen by Hudson Valley Community Power.
The program offers numerous opportunities to learn more and ask questions, including: webinars, public events, and presentations at community and private group meetings. The COVID-19 pandemic is still preventing in-person meetings, but many live-virtual meetings by Zoom are scheduled. More information on the Program and a calendar of public education events can be found on the Events page of the program website: HudsonValleyCommunityPower.com. Everyone is encouraged to contact the Program support team by email at info@HudsonValleyCommunityPower.com or by phone at 845-859-9099. Several members of the support team speak Spanish.