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.