Energy aggregation and Trenton Water Works addressed at Hopewell Twp Committee Meeting

Hopewell Township Meeting 1/27 (Photo by Elizabeth Casalnova)

Hopewell Township discussed issues regarding a potential energy aggregation program and the possibility of increased Trenton Water Works rates at the Committee meeting on Monday, January 27.

The Committee began Monday’s meeting by introducing a planning board proposal to create a new driveway into the Tree Farm Road Shopping Center, making it easier to access Route 31.

“It’s going to be located directly across from the northernmost exit to Tree Farm,” said Hopewell Township mayor Kristin McLaughlin. 

The Committee reminded the public that there will be another energy aggregation information session at Stony Brook Elementary School on Thursday, January 30 at 7pm. For more on MercerMe’s energy aggregation coverage, please see Hopewell Township Holds Energy Aggregation Info Sessions and Dispelling Energy Aggregation Myths. There will also be a work session to discuss the topic at the February 3 Township Committee meeting.

As for Trenton Water Works, Committee member Julie Blake said she believes all questions regarding the funding of Trenton Water Works and the safety of the water will be answered within the next 10 days after the Trenton City Council votes on whether to approve the rate increase. This is following a Trenton Water Works information session held on January 21 to address updates and the possibility of increasing rates for residents in the wake of Trenton City Council’s decision to not to fund $18 million of needed repairs.

At the TWW information session, former TWW director Steve Picco explained that the proposed increase of rates for each Trenton Water Works customer would be approximately $11 more per month from the average of $494 per year. On Monday, Blake reiterated Picco’s message and explained that the increase still must be approved by the Trenton City Council. This plan includes capital expenditures for major water towers as well as employment restructuring.

During the public comment session, members of the public raised several issues to the Committee including questioning meeting schedules and the policies for Committee members to  comment on Facebook posts.

In response to a question about why the meeting was held this Monday, rather than last Monday, which was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Mayor McLaughlin explained that national holidays around this time of the year impact the meeting schedule.

Another member of the public asked whether three Committee members commenting as individuals on a public Facebook post constitutes a meeting [for purposes of the NJ Open Public Meetings Act]. Township attorney Steve Goodell responded that he would look into it.

Finally, all resolutions were passed unanimously.

The next Hopewell Township Regular Meeting will take place on Monday February 3, 2020.

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  1. The “energy aggregation” has its pros and it also has its cons. The “pro” is that the energy companies in this agreement are using partial solar and windmills for their electric power source. The “con” is that PSEG and JCP&L do not have to use solar and windmills for their electric power source; these two companies have signed an exemption certificate. I am aware that PSEG does however use alternative energy sources such as solar, although they are not required to do so. Princeton Township after being part of this “energy aggregation” agreement has decided to end their participation. After doing my research about their decision and the fact that PSEG does use alternative energy sources when possible, I am convinced that this program will increase my energy costs. I have decided to opt out when the opportunity arrives.

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