To the Editor:
Community Energy Aggregation isn’t a new idea, but neither is trying to save money.
It’s an idea the Hopewell Township Committee is exploring on behalf of our community, and it has inspired plenty of questions from our neighbors. A representative from Concord Energy, an energy broker, was at the April 15 HTC meeting to answer every one of those questions about how this could possibly be a win-win for our community and the environment.
Here’s how it works: If the HTC decides to move forward, Concord would put energy generation to our community out to bid. If a bidder through Concord can beat the cost of energy we currently pay through JCP&L or PSE&G, the Township can enter into a deal. If no one can beat that cost, no deal. The Township could also demand during the bid process that a greater percentage of the energy comes from renewable sources than through the state’s bid process. That share of renewables under the state’s bidding process is just under 24 percent.
If the Township enters into a deal, the rate we as consumers would pay is good for the extent of the term, which is up to two years. If the rate the state gets during that time slips below the rate the Township has agreed to, the deal can be revisited; the supplier must match the lower price or the community is switched back so that we can take advantage of the lowest possible price.
Those of us who get our energy from PSE&G or JCP&L would still be served by those companies in the event of a deal. They remain responsible for the supply grid and electrical lines. This deal would decide who would generate our energy, which PSE&G or JCP&L would still deliver. If you are off the grid or have solar panels, you wouldn’t be part of this deal. If your cost of energy is subsidized, you could participate and would still get those subsidies.
How will people find out about the prospect of such an agreement? Concord will foot the bill to send mail bearing the Township seal to everyone who is a current PSE&G or JCP&L customer. Anyone can opt out by sending a prepaid postcard, by making a phone call or by going online. If you miss that letter, PSE&G or JCP&L will still follow up with another letter before the deal goes into effect. Even after the deal goes into effect, you can opt out or opt in with no penalty or fee for the change.
What’s in it for Concord? The new energy generator, if an agreement is reached, is the entity that pays Concord for finding us as customers, not the Township, and not us as consumers. What’s in it for our environment? Greener energy. What’s in it for you? Savings.
Mr. Borders is a member of the Hopewell Township Zoning Board but writes as an individual resident.