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Community Choice Aggregation

Brookhaven town hall. File photo

The Town of Brookhaven outlined the first steps toward creating a program that could lower gas and electric rates for homeowners at a public hearing Oct. 3. 

Town officials are considering creating a Community Choice Aggregation or CCA, which is an energy program that allows local governments to buy electricity and gas on behalf of its residents.

In a presentation to the Town Board, Matt Miner, town chief of operations, outlined how the program could be beneficial to residents. 

Essentially, CCA is a municipal energy procurement model that replaces the utility companies as the default supplier. It can be used for either gas or electricity.  

“The suppliers, National Grid and PSEG, would still be responsible for energy delivery and billing,” Miner said. “The advantages of a CCA is pooling those demands and allow us to negotiate lower rates for residents.”

The town chief of operations added it would allow Brookhaven to pursue other clean energy programs. 

The next step in the program would be for the town to begin to work with its eight villages to see if they wanted to participate in the CCA. From there, the town would seek to appoint a program administrator. 

“[The] CCA administrator would then seek bids from energy services companies to obtain competitive rates for residents on behalf of the town,” Miner said. “They would be responsible with creating a data projection and implementation plan.”

CCA is an opt-out program, so residents are not bound by a contract and can go back to their original supplier if they chose to do so. 

The CCA program was created by the New York State Public Service Commission in April 2016. Westchester was the first New York county, through the Sustainable Westchester consortium, to launch the CCA program under Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). If successful, Brookhaven will join more than 50 municipalities in the state to enact legislation to begin a CCA including the towns of Hempstead and Southampton on Long Island. 

Miner said if the bids and rates aren’t competitive then the town doesn’t have to move forward with the program. 

“I want to be clear, this only goes forward if we can save all the residents and businesses in Brookhaven money” 

– Supervisor Ed Romaine

The town would first pursue competitive rates for gas and then would move on to electricity. According to town officials it could take about a year to implement the program. Bid contracts could last from two to four years.  

George Hoffman, a vice president of the Three Village Civic Association, said at the public hearing he supports the town’s initiative to adopt the CCA and believes it moves them closer to clean energy.

“It’s about time we started to take back some local control over our energy future,” he said. “We all thought then, when LIPA was created, we would be starting to get back some of our local control of our energy policy, but that was taken away by Albany. I think this a good start in taking back our energy future.”

 

Brookhaven town hall. File photo

The Town of Brookhaven is looking into creating a program that could lower gas and electric rates for homeowners.

Town officials are planning an Oct. 3 public hearing that would be the first steps in creating a Community Choice Aggregation or CCA, which is an energy program that allows local governments to buy electricity and gas on behalf of its residents.

It would allow the town to take advantage of more competitive rates from energy suppliers for those in the CCA. The program, similar to a bulk purchasing agreement, would let the town purchase large amounts of electricity for a large pool of residents and small commercial businesses.

“The high cost of energy on Long Island continues to rise, making it difficult for many families and businesses to keep up,” said Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) in a release. “By creating a Community Choice Aggregation, the town will be able to help cut their energy costs and keep more money in their pockets.”

The program was created by the New York Public Service Commission in April of 2016. Westchester, in 2014, was the first town in New York State to launch the CCA program under Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Following the public hearing, the town would have to adopt a local law authorizing the creation of a CCA, designate a CCA administrator and gain approval from the New York State Public Service Commission.

Once the town gets approval, residents will be able to join the program to take advantage of the lower energy rates. Residents are not required to be part of the CCA, do not have to sign a contract to join and can leave the program at any time without early termination or exit fees.

The public hearing will be held at 5 p.m. at Brookhaven Town Hall, located at 1 Independence Hill in Farmingville.

Compiled by David Luces