New Paltz plans to make green energy cheaper for homeowners

Town of New Paltz officials are ready to pull the trigger on a new law which may open the door to cheaper or greener power for community members. Like the push to build small power plants locally, this is a consequence of the imminent Indian Point nuclear power plant closure, as well as the governor’s desire to switch more of the state’s grid to renewable sources. This aspect is called “community choice aggregation (CCA).”

For some years it’s been possible to select an electricity supplier other than Central Hudson, but only a small number of people seek out a supplier to save money, or reduce carbon emissions, or both. Under the rules for CCAs, the default option — Central Hudson — would be replaced with a new default provider, selected based on criteria such as carbon footprint and price per kilowatt hour. Getting there is a bit complex, and Town Board members are starting the process a bit after their village colleagues. A public hearing has been set for May 16. Should council members pass a law enabling the creation of a CCA after closing that hearing, they will next have to hire an administrator. These are certified in managing these new constructs, and the selected administrator by law must start with a public information campaign to educate and solicit input. Negotiations will take place and a default provider selected. Accounts now under Central Hudson would be transferred at that time, but customers would continue only to have that one Central Hudson bill to pay. Anyone who has already chosen a different supplier will continue under the terms of that agreement.

There are 13 comments

  1. Michael Hoskinson

    CCAs are not competitive, nor can they provide “Green Power” to customers. They purchase the same old fossil fuel generated energy and are able to call it “green” or “renewable” through a process called “greenwashing”. Greenwashing happens when a renewable energy provider like a solar farm produces energy. When 1 megawatt of clean energy is produced the solar farm operator can issue a REC (renewable energy certificate), they can then sell the REC to a CCA which purchases fossil fuel energy and applies the REC to the purchase, thereby “greenwashing” that megawatt of power to “renewable”, or “green” energy. The concept and pricing are a scam and will only continue to be viable as long as renewable energy is subsidized, after that the game is over and taxpayers will be stuck with wildly escalating energy bills.
    Also, electrical power is delivered in bulk; the grid can’t determine what is “green” or not. Again, the scam of Greenwashing allows the CCAs and the politicians behind it to claim they’re delivering renewable power in definable amounts…the reality of physics says differently.

  2. Janelle N Peotter

    I fully support the adoption of a CCA in New Paltz. I very much disagree with some of Michael’s comments above. While “greenwashing” does exist, there is a process in place to assure that the CCA New Paltz selects with have an ESCO that is actually green. It is true that some CCA’s have as their only criteria cheaper power but our primary goal is green power. Through the economies of scale it is possible to BOTH save money and get off dirty power.

  3. Liz E.

    That’s an interesting perspective. Hearing many opinions allows us to have rich conversations and encourages us all to get to evidence based information. I see you are a real estate broker in California. What is your interest in the New Paltz CCA?

    One thing we know to be true, is that a single electron can not be traced once it enters the grid. The way a 100% renewable CCA works is that when you pull electricity in your home you create a demand. That demand is supplied on your behalf to the grid in renewable energy. This renewable energy has been created by a certified renewable energy source (REC), such as solar, wind or hydroelectric. There is not a scam built into this system. If you draw 1 megawatt, then 1 megawatt is supplied on your behalf to the grid. Your choice to use renewable energy means that less fossil fuel created electricity is being supplied to the grid. This is not a scam, it is how the electrical grid works.

    Regarding the fossil fuel industry, it is heavily subsidized and always has been. It would be a mistake to assume that similar subsidies would bring down the renewable energy sector.

  4. John firerman

    As time moves forward the powers to be in new paltz want to control more and more of our daily lives they did it with the trash company WM I now have no say so! Now they what to control the power we buy Its all about control and that what the left dose! I’m out of here in 2 years~

    1. Laura Deney

      John, I hear your frustration with the single hauler issue. This is very different because a) central Hudson will still deliver our power, so there will be no change or interruption in service or billing b) there is an easy opt out for anyone who does not want to join.

      It seems we will get the same price or more likely about 5 percent cheaper, so I think it’s an awesome deal! Did anyone out there really choose central Hudson as their energy provider anyway? We now will have MORE options, not fewer.

  5. Mr. Natural and Rachel Carson

    Reminds me of Dukakis and his push lawnmower?
    The village municipality sends out letters to parcel owners if their grass is more than one-quarter if an inch long, telling them to cut it. That brings gas powered lawn trimmers, lawn mowers, lawn edgers, etc, and all the gas motor noise that comes with it and the diesel trucks with long trailers behind full of equipment swinging behind.
    And then there are the little yellow flags on steel posts where lawns have been sprayed with pesticides warning saying “Warning! Watch Your Pets. Stay off the grass.”
    As for chain saws in the hands of the Village and Town workers, there isn’t a tree left for them to butcher, shape and trim.
    Green energy gone wrong.
    I saw a little red rooster on the north side of Henry W. this morning, between No. Oakwood and Millrock. He was in somebody’s driveway, pecking the asphalt. Question is “Why did the chicken cross the road?” And: To get away from the Village and move into the Town.

    1. K Baby

      I’m curious why Mr. Natural prefers to burn fossil fuels over renewables.
      Is it because you don’t want your government officials representing the constituents by making choices that are for the benefit of everyone’s health and ability to continue as a species of our planet?
      Or is it because you are invested in the fossil fuel industry and profit at the expense of everyone’s health and future?
      Do you care about future generations? Or do you only care about yourself?
      Your lawn mowing arguments are valid were we talking about ground water management, but they have nothing to do with transitioning our village and town residents to 100% renewables.

      Mr. Natural; What are your fears about switching to green energy from brown? It sounds like you have some concerns, but it’s unclear to me what you are afraid will happen.

  6. Martin McPhillips

    Next to last sentence in last paragraph:

    “Accounts now under Central Hudson would be transferred at that time, but customers would continue only to have that one Central Hudson bill to pay.”

    Does that mean that local customers of Central Hudson would be forced to use the new default provider? But would still receive their bill from Central Hudson?

    1. Matt

      Hi Martin,

      All Central Hudson customers (who do not have a special situation such as time of use, low income rates, or are with an ESCO, etc.) will be switched to the new default CCA provider. The price will likely be the same or less than the Central Hudson average price. Central Hudson will continue to deliver the energy and bill for it, so your bill will still come from Central Hudson and CH will still maintain and service all power lines.

      Of course, if you do not want to participate for some reason, you can ALWAYS opt out.

    2. Riff

      Yes, it does mean that.
      It is a similar set-up as Town users of New York City water get their bills from the Town clerk, who collects the money and then transfers the money to the Village Clerk. Thus, Town taxpayers not on New York City water have to pay taxes to the town clerk for services that as non-users they don’t receive.
      In other words, water, sewer and electric are the basis for your real property tax bill, whether you use them or not. Everything else is commentary.

  7. John

    The problem is that the public shouldn’t have to opt out. We should be given the opportunity to opt in and make an informed decision for ourselves.

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