How the Community Energy Aggregation Came to Be

In April 2018, the Village passed Ordinance # 2018-10, authorizing a Government Energy Aggregation (“GEA”) program in South Orange. Under New Jersey’s GEA law, municipalities can aggregate their residents’ electric accounts together in a single buying pool to test the market in an attempt to obtain electric power supply at a lower price than offered by the electric utility.  In addition, a GEA program allows a municipality the option of seeking power supply with a higher renewable energy content than offered through the utility’s ‘default supply’ service.   To create even greater purchasing power in the marketplace, the Village also formed the Sustainable Essex Alliance Energy Procurement Cooperative (“SEAEPC”) in conjunction with several other Essex County municipalities, with the aim of using joint purchasing to obtain the best possible price for renewable energy supply, in furtherance of our sustainability goals and our commitment to reduce the Village’s carbon footprint.  The participating Essex County municipalities, which include South Orange, Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, and Verona, jointly named the program the Sustainable Essex Alliance Renewable Government Energy Aggregation, or ‘SEA R-GEA.’ 

A competitive procurement process was launched in March 2019 for the SEA R-GEA program.  As a result of competing offers submitted on April 2, 2019, a contract was awarded to the low bidder, Direct Energy Services (“Direct Energy”).  The contract with Direct Energy will provide electric supply to Village residents, and residents of the other participating municipalities located in PSE&G territory, for a 17-month term beginning in July 2019, at a price of $.11005 per kilowatt-hour (”kWh”).  This price is more than 10% lower than the average tariff price being paid by those residents currently receiving supply through PSE&G and, although the PSE&G tariff price is expected to drop somewhat later this year, the contract is projected to save the typical resident about $150 as compared to the average PSE&G tariff price-to-compare over the 17-month contract term, with no change to the level of service.  In addition, the power supply is provided by Direct Energy under the SEA R-GEA program will include about 41% renewable energy, which is nearly double the renewable energy content of default supply service currently provided by PSE&G.  As a result, participating residents have the opportunity to contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions while saving money at the same time! 

Residential customers of PSE&G residing in the Township of South Orange Village who do not currently have a third-party supply contract are eligible to be included in the program and will receive a mailing at the beginning of May 2019 describing the program and providing the specifics of the SEA R-GEA program.   If you do not wish to participate in the program for any reason, you may simply opt out, with no strings or penalties, by simply following the instructions on the Program Summary provided, or by contacting Direct Energy using the contact information provided below.  If you do nothing, you will automatically be enrolled in the program and enjoy the electricity savings.

The energy aggregation program is only for the energy supply portion of your electric service.  The delivery portion will continue to be provided by PSE&G at regulated rates and PSE&G will continue to provide all emergency and safety services.  PSE&G will also continue to provide customer services such as meter readings, billing, and service restoration. If you are on a PSE&G budget billing plan, you will continue to receive that service.  

The Village is pleased to provide you with this opportunity to save money on your energy costs while purchasing cleaner energy.  Please keep an eye out for specific information and mailings regarding the SEA R-GEA program in early May 2019, leading up to the program’s implementation in July 2019.

Show All Answers

1. What is Community Energy Aggregation (CEA)?
2. How the Community Energy Aggregation Came to Be
3. Who is Gabel Associates?
4. Who is Direct Energy Services?
5. How does the SEA R-GEA Program work?
6. Will I receive two bills?
7. Do I have to be part of the program?
8. Would I be able to Opt-In to the SEA R-GEA Program?
9. Will I still be able to receive budget billing (Equal Payment Plan)?
10. Why is the program set as an opt-out program, rather than an opt-in program?
11. What about power outages?
12. What if I have a solar panel system?
13. Will the LIHEAP and Lifeline benefit programs for low income residents still apply if I participate in the SEA R-GEA?
14. Is There any Impact on My ‘Worry-Free’ Appliance Repair Contract with PSE&G?
15. From Where does the SEA R-GEA Supplier Source the Renewable Energy Being Supplied?
16. What are Renewable Energy Certificates and Why are they Used to Satisfy the Renewable Energy Requirements of the Program?