COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION (CCA) QUESTIONS
Q: What is Hudson Valley Community Power?
A: Hudson Valley Community Power is a partnership-program that enables participating Hudson Valley communities to join together and purchase electricity supply in bulk. Aggregating consumers on a large scale creates the buying power necessary to dictate the terms of our energy purchasing. Together, we have secured low fixed electric supply rates for Hudson Valley municipalities, representing over 40,000 households and small businesses. The rates are $0.06361/kWh for 100% NYS Renewable electricity, and $0.0608/kWh for Standard electricity mix.
Q: Why are New York cities, towns, and villages doing this?
A: The Hudson Valley Community Power partnership has been established to achieve three goals: (1) Cost-Savings by providing a fixed, lower electricity rate for a fixed period of time that is, (2) 100% clean electricity from within New York State, through a program which (3) Protects Consumers with a program which has no additional charges or fees. The contract which guarantees the fixed rate is held at the municipal level, so all participants have total flexibility to participate or not.
Q: Who administers Hudson Valley Community Power?
A: Hudson Valley Community Power is a partnership program of the participating Hudson Valley municipalities, Joule Community Power – the Program Administrator they chose, and Hudson Valley Energy – a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) serving as the in-community program support. Joule has been authorized by the New York State Public Service Commission to be the manager, coordinator, and administrator of the program.
Q: Does Hudson Valley Community Power replace my utility?
A: No. Your existing utility (Central Hudson) will continue to deliver reliable power, maintain power lines, and respond to service outages. They will still provide the same customer service to all residents regardless of whether they are in the program. They are required by law to do so. Customers will still receive only one bill each month and it will still come directly from your utility. The new bill will reflect the change in supplier and new supply rate.
Q: How does Hudson Valley Community Power procure power?
A: The Hudson Valley Community Power partners administered a competitive bidding process, soliciting responses from all registered New York suppliers. Direct Energy is the supplier for the current contract, beginning July 1, 2019. The Village of New Paltz passed its CCA local law on April 10, 2019 and the Town of New Paltz passed its CCA local law on May 16, 2019. Both the Town and Village passed a resolution to join the Hudson Valley Community Power CCA on June 6, 2019. The Program’s rate for 100% New York State renewable electricity will show up on residents’ Central Hudson utility bills by January 2020.
Q: How can I be sure Hudson Valley Community Power will provide energy consistently?
A: Electricity is a highly regulated industry and there are many safeguards against service interruption from supplier error. There is a “grid operator” (called the NYISO) that monitors the grid at the high-voltage level to ensure the proper power is flowing at all times. In addition, the utility remains the “provider of last resort,” which means they are obligated to serve any customers whose supplier has failed to buy the requisite power for those customers.
Q: Will I save money by participating in Hudson Valley Community Power?
A: Hudson Valley Community Power rates are fixed at a price lower than the average utility rate between April 2018 – March 2019. A nearly identical program has been operating in Westchester County since May 2016, and over the first 2 years, the Westchester Power program’s rates have outperformed the utility and saved residents more than $15 million. However, while our large customer base assures us of attracting competitive bids from suppliers, it is the nature of a fixed price contract that there is no guarantee that Hudson Valley Community Power rates will be lower in any given month or save money through the end of the contract period.
Q: How does the enrollment process work?
A: Residential and small commercial (those not charged for their peak demand) customers that currently receive electric supply from the utility are automatically enrolled. Residents or small businesses that are presently under contract with a third party electricity supply company (ESCO) are not enrolled. If you are already signed up with an ESCO, but want to switch to Hudson Valley Community Power, look at the terms of your existing contract to see when it expires and what (if any) penalties apply for early termination. If you choose to terminate your contract with the ESCO, you can then “Opt In” to join the program.
Q: What if I don’t want to participate?
A: It is absolutely your choice. Every household and small business that currently receives its energy supply from the utility can opt out at any time by filling out an online form at www.HudsonValleyCommunityPower.com under “CCA / Enrollment/Change Form,” (CONFIRM) or by calling us directly at 845-859-9099. They will ask you for the same information seen on that form: name of your utility, name on the account, account number, email, phone, service address, and your city, state, and zip code.
Q: Is there a fee for opting out of Hudson Valley Community Power?
A: No, there is never a fee or penalty for opting out.
Q: If I opt out after the contract has taken effect, how will that affect my service?
A: Service will not be interrupted whatsoever. The account will be transferred back to the utility at the end of the following billing period.
Q: Does Hudson Valley Community Power supply “green” power?
A: Yes. In fact, all of the partner municipalities have set 100% renewable power supply product as the default option for their residents and small businesses. However, residents and small businesses can freely choose to switch supply options at any time.
Q: What is the 100% Renewable Energy Option?
A: The Hudson Valley Community Power renewable energy option is currently 100% renewable power supply product consisting of delivered power matched with Renewable Energy Certificates (“RECs”) generated by hydropower, solar energy or wind energy from New York State - not coal, natural gas, oil, or nuclear. Using electricity generated by hydropower, solar, or wind energy dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions. We can celebrate our contribution to cleaner air and cleaner water. It is the right choice for our planet, for future generations, for all who care about climate change.
OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS:
- Having your own solar panels does NOT preclude you from participating in the CCA
- The CCA that New Paltz Town and Village residents will be joining is Hudson Valley Community Power, and it does not go by any other name
- The letters announcing that New Paltz Town and Village have officially entered into the Hudson Valley Community Power CCA have NOT gone out yet but are expected to in October.
- When the letters do go out, any resident who receives the letter is automatically enrolled in 100% renewable fixed-rate electricity without doing anything else. You will still receive one bill from Central Hudson.
- Receiving the CCA letter does NOT enroll you in a community solar program. You will need to sign up for that separately and can do so at any time, regardless of whether you are in the CCA, but NOT if you have your own solar panels. If you enroll in a community solar program you will receive 2 bills - one from Central Hudson and one from the community solar program
CCA + COMMUNITY SOLAR QUESTIONS
Q: What’s the difference between community choice aggregation and community solar?
A: Community Choice Aggregation: CCA is a statewide opt-out initiative that allows any town, village, or city (individually or as a group) to negotiate better electricity rates and terms on behalf of their residents and small businesses. By representing the total energy use by all households, a community gains more leverage than could any single utility account holder. CCA also enables municipalities to choose renewable energy sources.
Community Solar: A direct-to-consumer opt-in program that may be layered on top of CCA, community solar offers additional electricity bill savings and supports the creation of local renewable infrastructure. By signing up for community solar, you’ll receive approximately 10% off your electricity bills for up to twenty-five years. This program is open to Central Hudson residential and small business customers, regardless of where they live and whether they participate in the Hudson Valley Community Power CCA.