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The Town of Southampton has awarded a contract to Joule Assets, Inc. of Westchester, a New York State certified CCA administrator, to be its Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Administrator. An important next step in the Town’s effort to evaluate a community choice aggregation program, the CCA administrator is charged with developing an implementation plan required by the Public Service Commission and soliciting bids from energy suppliers with the goal of creating electric energy purchasing options to provide renewable energy resources to consumers at a lower cost than currently being offered by LIPA.
Over 80 municipalities in New York State have adopted legislation and/or implemented CCA programs. CCA programs are also approved in 9 other states including California, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Ohio while five other states, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland and Oregon are investigating the CCA option. A fully operational program in Westchester County in New York, launched in May 2016, has saved its approximately 130,000 program participants a combined $15 million. Other Long Island municipalities including Brookhaven, East Hampton and Hempstead have begun to pursue investigations into CCA programs. Southampton is the first on Long Island to award a contract to an administrator, having unanimously adopted the enabling legislation in November 2018.
Although the Town of Southampton is several steps away from a program implementation, the award of this contract is a significant step forward allowing the Town to take a deeper dive into the potential of CCA to help reduce energy costs for consumers. Joule will undertake this detailed investigation and analysis at no cost to the Town or the consumers.
Critical to the Town, is the very careful analysis of the program’s potential savings to the consumer. Although similar programs have had some success in reducing costs in other areas of the State, there are no guarantees that Southampton will have the same success. “We have built several safeguards into our contract with Joule to protect the consumer,” said Councilman John Bouvier, who spearheaded this effort. “The Town will not enter into a power purchase agreement that does not reduce costs to the consumer.”
The Town has very aggressive goals to reduce its carbon footprint, to address the contributing causes of climate change and to seek 100% renewable electric energy resources. CCA can be one of the more significant strategies to address each of these goals.
Joule will begin to work with Town staff in the next few weeks to develop an implementation plan which will have to be submitted to the NY Public Service Commission for approval. This process could take several months. If the public service commission approves the implementation plan, Joule will set about the task of verifying the energy demands of the Southampton consumers and begin to solicit energy suppliers who can meet those demands at a cost savings and provide renewable electric energy resources.
If a program is implemented, Southampton energy consumers can agree not to participate at no penalty, at no cost and with no interruption in their energy supply or service.
Over the coming months, the Town, in partnership with Joule Assets Inc., and their local partners, will hold several informational forums as well as providing information for the community through the Town’s website, www.southamptontownny.gov .