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Energy aggregation stalls in Hopewell Township and Pennington Borough

by Mary Galioto

Energy aggregation plans in Pennington Borough and Hopewell Township remain at a standstill for now, both towns announced this month.

As reported by MercerMe, both Pennington Borough and Hopewell Township passed ordinances in January to move forward with energy aggregation, a program of “bulk” energy purchase. Essentially, energy aggregation aims to offer lower energy costs and can offer some clean energy solutions for residents as well. The process of assessing costs is accomplished in an auction. For more MercerMe coverage, see Dispelling Energy Aggregation Myths.

“The auction was held, and we did not achieve favorable pricing,” said Hopewell Township Committee member Courtney Peters-Manning. “As we discussed earlier in the year, we are not legally allowed to accept a bid unless it beats the PSE&G/JCP&L basic rate, called the ‘BGS’ rate, which is set by statewide auction every February.”

When asked why the rates were higher than anticipated, Peters-Manning explained, “Our consultants think that the heat wave on the west coast and the height of the stock market are two big factors in why the prices are high right now. 

“While we are disappointed,” Peters-Manning continued, “the good news is that they are closely watching the market, and they will go out to re-bid if they see a good opportunity. Because we have already completed all of the required paperwork with the BPU, they can go out to re-bid at any time within 6 months.  They suggested that around mid-November may be a good time, but they are watching.” 

For those who are energy savvy, she shared, “The other bit of good news in the auction results was that the difference in the pricing between the conventional package and the renewable package was pretty small. We unfortunately are not allowed to only offer this renewable opt-in pricing, but we are hoping this means we will get good renewable pricing in the next round.”

The issue was also addressed at this month’s Pennington Borough Council meeting where Mayor Joe Lawver announced that “the bid for energy aggregation came back 10% higher than PSE&G so that customers should anticipate no change on their bill this year, and  that the Borough may rebid at a later point. For more MercerMe coverage, see Pennington Council discusses personnel matters.

Stay tuned to MercerMe for more developments on this story and others like it!

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