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by Glenn Sungela
Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA, is a New York State program that enables towns and villages to secure lower electricity rates for residents, small businesses, houses of worship, and other organizations. CCA also enables people to get electricity from clean energy sources such as wind and solar safely and reliably.
CCA is the most impactful action communities can take to reduce their carbon footprints.
The Villages of Nyack, South Nyack, Upper Nyack, and Haverstraw, and the Towns of Clarkstown and Orangetown are the first communities in Rockland County making CCA happen with clean energy. They formed the Rockland Community Power group and have been hosting public information and Q&A sessions since December.
Following the remaining public meetings later this month, a formal proposal will be submitted to the New York State Department of Public Service. Upon approval, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued for electricity rates sourced from clean energy.
By early May, O&R residential and small business customers can expect to receive a letter from O&R letting them know they will be enrolled in the program at the lower electricity rate with a 30 day opt-out period. After the 30 day opt-out period customers can still choose to enroll or opt-out anytime with no penalty.
And after the 30 day opt-out period, O&R customers will receive another letter that acknowledges their choice.
All letters you receive that are associated with the CCA program have your town’s, village’s, or O&R’s logos or letterhead. At the same time, you may continue to receive communications from other Energy Service Companies (ESCO) marketing their services. If you have questions or concerns about which is which, you can call the Rockland Community Power hotline at 845-859-9099, or email them at email@example.com..
Some misconceptions about CCA
While Community Choice Aggregation is overseen by the New York State Public Service Commission to ensure transparency and consumer protection, some misconceptions have emerged in the public conversation on how the program works and the choices consumers have available to them:
- Misconception #1: CCA is for municipal electricity needs only. False: CCA is for consumers, small businesses, houses of worship, and other organizations classified as Service Class 2 by Orange & Rockland (O&R). Governments may find they are also eligible to participate and save money with clean energy.
- Misconception #2: CCA would affect a small number of residents because the majority of them already have chosen to get their electricity from an ESCO other than O&R. False: The vast majority of residents–i.e. 85-90%–get their electricity from O&R. Those who get their electricity from another ESCO may continue to do so, or they may opt to participate in a CCA. It’s entirely their choice.
- Misconception #3: Towns and villages that receive gross tax rebates from O&R could lose those monies if they adopt CCA. False: Gross tax rebates are not affected by CCA.
- Misconception #4: With CCA, towns and villages are billing residents for their electricity. False: Towns and villages are securing lower electricity rates using clean energy for O&R customers and others who choose to participate. O&R will continue to bill for electricity (and to maintain transmission lines and other delivery infrastructure).
- Misconception #5: CCA reduces consumer choice. False: CCA gives consumers another (and powerful) way to get their electricity. Consumers continue to decide who supplies their electricity. Consumers who currently get electricity from another ESCO may opt to cancel that arrangement and join a CCA, or continue with their ESCO of choice. Consumers can expect to pay less through CCA than as individual customers.
Because CCA operates in a free market, misconceptions about the program will continue to arise. The Rockland Sierra Club and Rockland Community Power continue to promote a clearer understanding of how CCA works and how CCA benefits residents, small businesses, and other organizations in Rockland County.
Rockland Community Power – schedule of public information meetings, Q&A sessions, and “office hours” at town halls, public libraries, farmers markets, and community centers.
- Rockland Sierra Club – Frequently Asked Questions about CCA.
- Earth Matters: Renewable Energy for the Nyacks
Read Earth Matters every Wednesday on Nyack News And Views, or sign up for the Earth Matters mailing list.
Earth Matters focuses on conservation, sustainability, recycling and healthy living. This weekly series is brought to you by Maria Luisa Boutique and Summer Arts & Play Program at Blue Rock School.