Gardiner poised to shop for Community Choice Aggregation plan

In what may be the last Gardiner town meeting for a while that the public was able to attend live and in person, the Town Board voted unanimously on March 10 to adopt a local law to establish a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program. Without committing the town to any particular purchase arrangement, the action puts the town in position to negotiate with energy service companies offering shared purchasing plans that would lower the cost of electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar and water power to consumers.

During the public hearing for the new law, Mark Varian of Climate Smart Gardiner submitted a letter to the Town Board estimating that, while the average Gardiner household would pay only $40 to $50 less annually on electricity under a two-year negotiated agreement, 2,823 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be eliminated annually, presuming that all eligible Central Hudson accounts in the town remained in the program. Inclusion would be automatic once a CCA agreement is approved by the town, but any customer can opt out either by going online or making a phone call.

The next step in the process to expedite a CCA agreement in Gardiner is to designate a CCA administrator, who would act as the town’s liaison to negotiate supply agreements with energy service companies on behalf of local customers. The administrator would also implement the program, monitor it on a continuing basis and handle all reporting requirements to the Public Service Commission.

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Adopting the local law enabling a CCA program, as well as actually implementing such a program, check off boxes on the Climate Smart Communities list that boost a municipality’s eligibility for grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to assist with local clean energy projects.