Nordic societies find harnessing collective purchasing power saves residents and businesses on electricity bills - NNY360

Nordic societies find harnessing collective purchasing power saves residents and businesses on electricity bills – NNY360

LOWVILLE – Although available at the state level, only one town and village in the northern country is enrolled in a program that offers on average 10% lower electricity rates by harnessing collective purchasing power with an additional option for a community solar program, but municipalities Others are taking steps to go in the same direction.

The mayor of Western Carthage, Scott Porto, learned about the state’s Community Gathering Program, or CCA, through presentations about four years ago at the New York Council of Mayors Conference.

The Community Choice Aggregation service allows villages and towns to get lower electricity prices by taking advantage of the combined purchasing power of residents and small businesses. Low prices are locked in for a set period of time from 1 year to 36 months even if market volatility drives up electricity prices and every resident is automatically registered and operated with the ability to opt out at any time.

The National Grid continues to deliver power across its physical network, maintaining power lines and handling any outages.

“We did our research,” said Mr. Porto. “We reached out to other communities – and they were very happy – before we moved on to this programme. Everyone I spoke to seemed happy with the programme.”

Mr. Porto and the City Council decided to use the services of Good Energy LP for management and wasted no time in the initial process.

“We moved a little faster because at that time there were some incentives from the state that were going to go away,” Mr. Porto said.

After passing the local law required to participate in the pooling program, Good Energy hosted a number of online information sessions to educate residents and businesses about the program.

With Good Energy’s guidance, West Carthage and Champion also created a community solar program that could be set up more quickly, thus ensuring that municipalities were eligible for the $5,000 grant that was about to be phased out by the state.

Unlike a collection program, community members must “subscribe” to receive an automatic 10% savings on electricity through a relationship with the NextAmp Community Solar Project in Ogdensburg.

The process of setting up a CCA or Community Solar Program is not fast.

The two municipalities passed local ordinances in December 2020, but they still didn’t get new lower rates through the programme, according to Mr Porto, although part of the delay was due to the state’s long approval period for local ordinances by the administration’s public service. .

Because of current market prices for electricity, Good Energy has recommended waiting until conditions are more conducive to shopping for new prices via the collection program.

The company considers the difference between the utility price – or the normal price shared by the national grid – for electricity and the competitive market price, called “address analysis”.

“In this particular case in that particular region, competitive rates were higher than the utility rate,” said Javier Barrios, managing partner at Good Energy, noting that utility rates in West Carthage and Champion, were significantly lower than those in the center of the state or in Other areas across the state.

Mr. Barrios said it was difficult to predict when the right time would be to lock in interest rates for the next year or two.

“It really depends on where the market is going in the next six months to the year. If utility prices continue to be flat and we see a pullback in competitive markets, I think there is a good possibility in six months to a year we will be able to move forward.

Mr. Porto said that while they waited, residents in the village and city who “opted in” the community solar program began seeing a 10% discount on electricity fees in January when the program went into effect.

Other municipalities in the north of the country have also started the CCA process.

The Canton Village Board of Trustees has passed the local law to start a CCA business with Joule Assets — another state-approved CCA management company — and they are, according to Alexia Lamb, sales and operations assistant at Joule, “in the deep 60-day outreach and pre-bidding education phase” .

Members of the Canton community are encouraged by the Board of Directors to participate in two virtual information sessions that will take place at 6pm – the first today and the second on June 16. Session links can be found at Or by calling 888-985-2211.

After the education phase is over, Ms. Lamb said, Juul will solicit proposals from energy service providers in a bidding process that typically takes four to six weeks. If the rates are favorable and the board of directors agrees, the price will be locked and within a month, an “information package that includes an opt-out letter will be sent to all residents,” she said. People can opt out by calling or going to the Joule website within 30 days of notification after which the program will start.

For Canton, if prices are right, Ms Lamb said the launch would ideally happen in late summer.

The village and town of Potsdam have begun to consider forming a CCA programme.

The city council passed local ordinance to begin the CCA process at its meeting in May, according to city superintendent Ann Carville, and will form a committee with two city council members and one community member “to further research and suggest ways to go deeper in educating the public about a potential CCA program for our city.”

She added, “We learned that the educational component is essential and takes time and effort.”

Ms. Carville said that if they decided to proceed with a program after primary education was completed, they would submit a request for proposals “to see which companies are interested in being a town manager. We are far from that point now”, although Jules expressed an interest.

In Lewis County, the Department of Planning has been looking at developing a pooling program since 2019 as part of the Climate Smart Community program, but when it became clear that only towns and villages could participate in the CCA effort, Juul engaged it to hold information sessions with municipalities. About the boycott, which began in October.

It started in October with an introductory meeting. “We invited all the municipalities and six attended,” said community development specialist Megan Krukowski. “And (Joel) has been in it ever since, going into every town and village. None of them seem willing to abide by enacting local law and allowing community choices to be pooled.”

Although there is interest from the villages of Lions Falls, Constableville and Castorland, mayors in general in the county have expressed concern about the decision to residents, even though it will save them about 10% on their electricity charges, which both Ms said. Krukovsky and Jules refute.

We give them another option, we don’t take a choice away,” Ms Lamb said. “People can opt out and that takes about two seconds.”

For more information about Community Choice Aggregation, go to the program page at

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