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Posted on: April 12, 2019

Community Energy Aggregation–Cheaper, Greener, Electricity for You.

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Public Meeting on Thursday, May 16th at the Baird.

Maplewood, South Orange, Glen Ridge, Montclair, and Verona, representing more than 100,000 residents, combined their purchasing power as the Sustainable Essex Alliance (SEA) to purchase electricity from Direct Energy LLC, an alternative electric supplier to Public Service Electric & Gas. The 17-month contract with Direct Energy, approved on April 2nd, will save each of the 36,000 households in the five towns about $100 per year. Additionally, 40 percent of the electric purchased will be with renewable energy credits, which is twice the green content of PSE&G generated electric. Participating residents also will get help in navigating energy efficiency opportunities for their homes as part of the program, thereby saving more money and reducing their environmental impact.

Public Information Session – May 16th

South Orange will hold a public information session on Thursday, May 16th at 7 pm at the Baird Community Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ. For more information on this program go to the South Orange Village website at www.southorange.org


Community Energy Aggregation - FAQs

 

What is Community Energy Aggregation?

Community Energy Aggregation is a program permitted under New Jersey State law that allows municipalities to pool together residents and conduct a bid for power supply from third-party suppliers, with the aim of obtaining a power supply price that is cheaper, and/or has more renewable energy than the power supplied by the electric utility. The program is conducted under the oversight of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Division of Rate Counsel and the Department of Community Affairs. South Orange, along with neighboring Essex County municipalities Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, and Verona, have joined together into a single purchasing cooperative, which has been named the Sustainable Essex Alliance (SEA).


Who has been selected as the SEA program supplier for residents in the PSE&G service territory?

Direct Energy Services was selected by the SEA as the qualified supplier with the lowest proposed price for PSE&G customers in public, competitive procurement. Direct Energy Services is an electric power supplier licensed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.


When does the program with Direct Energy Services begin?

Service will begin with the July 2019 meter read date and will continue for 17 months – until December 2020.

 

How does the SEA program contract price compare to the PSE&G tariff price for electricity supply?

The price of $0.11005 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is more than 10% below the current average PSE&G tariff price for power supply. Even with expected drops in the PSE&G tariff price later this year, the average resident in South Orange and the other SEA-participating municipalities is still projected to save about $150 over the full contract as compared to the average PSE&G tariff price-to-compare over that period. Additionally, the energy supply procured through the SEA program contains nearly double the renewable content currently being provided by PSE&G default energy supply!

 

Does the price vary as energy market conditions change?

No. This is a non-variable price that does not change with market conditions. Unlike some third-party supply contracts, the price is locked in through a contract with the SEA and will not fluctuate after an initial ‘teaser’ period.  The contract price can only change if there is a Change in Law that equally affects the price of PSE&G power supply, such that even after such a price adjustment the savings as compared to the PSE&G tariff price is maintained.  Any such Change in Law price adjustment would be subject to review and approval by the SEA to assure that the savings are not adversely impacted.

 

If I participate in the program, how does this affect my utility bill and service?

Your PSE&G bill includes separate charges for delivery service and for power supply service (i.e., Basic Generation Service). PSE&G will still provide delivery service and read your meter, and you will still receive a single bill from PSE&G which will continue to include the PSE&G delivery charges, but the utility Basic Generation Service charges for power supply will be replaced by the charges offered by the SEA’s chosen supplier, Direct Energy Services. Even if you participate in the program, PSE&G will still be responsible for service reliability and restoration.


Is participation mandatory?

Participation is never mandatory. Residents who do not currently have a third-party supply contract (i.e., take power supply service from PSE&G under the utility’s Basic Generation Service tariff) are included in the initial eligibility pool. However, residents can opt out of the SEA program by mail, phone or electronically using the information in the Program Summary. If you opt out within the 30-day opt-out period (by June 1, 2019), you will not be enrolled in the program at all. Even after enrollment, you can opt out any time, effective with the next meter read cycle, and there are no penalties or fees to do so.


Will I receive any other notifications?

Yes. If you do not opt out of the program, several weeks after receipt of this Information Package you will receive a notification letter from PSE&G indicating that Direct Energy Services has enrolled your account for third-party supply and informing you of the date you will be switched to Direct Energy Services. This is just an added notification; no further action is required in order to participate.

 

Will I ever be requested to provide information to a door-to-door solicitor for enrollment in this program?

No. This program does not include any door-to-door solicitation. Direct Energy Services has the necessary information already, subject to strict confidentiality. If you are solicited by someone, please do not provide them with your information – alert the Village, the SEA’s energy consultant, Gabel Associates or Direct Energy Services immediately.


Who do I call if there is a power outage?

PSE&G will still provide delivery service. If the lights go out, you would still call PSE&G at 1-800-436-7734


Will I still be able to receive budget billing (Equal Payment Plan)?

Yes. If you currently have a budget billing plan with PSE&G, the selected supplier is required to provide you with an equal payment plan for your power supply charges. PSE&G will continue to bill a levelized amount each month for delivery service, and Direct Energy Services will also bill a levelized amount each month (through the PSE&G bill) for power supply. You may experience a “true-up” on your bill from PSE&G prior to enrollment and then again at the end of the program.


What happens at the end of the SEA’s contract with the supplier?

There is no automatic rollover. If the SEA decides to continue the program, it will conduct a new competitive bid for a new contract, and you will be advised of the new contract. If the SEA discontinues the program, you will simply be returned to PSE&G power supply at the PSE&G tariff price.


How do I obtain more information? 

You can contact Direct Energy Services at 1-866-968-8065 or Gabel Associates at 1-855-365-0770.

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