Community Choice Aggregation
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Town

Exploring Community Choice Aggregation for Penfield residents: 2016 to present

What is Community Choice Aggregation?

Community choice aggregation (CCA) is a municipal energy procurement model that allows local governments to procure “clean” power on behalf of their qualified* residents, businesses, and municipal accounts from an alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider. CCAs are an attractive option for communities that want more local control over their electricity sources, more green power than is offered by the default utility, and/or lower electricity prices. By aggregating demand, communities gain leverage to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose greener power sources. By design, CCAs are opt-out community-wide programs that include all qualified households and businesses.

CCAs are currently authorized in California, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

CCA in New York State

On April 21, 2016, the New York State Public Service Commission passed an order authorizing the framework for Community Choice Aggregation opt-out programs as part of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative.

If the Town of Penfield implements CCA, the entire community’s demand for electricity will be pooled, giving the Town and its agents leverage to negotiate with power suppliers for clean energy at lower rates for all electricity customers. Because the CCA is a mandatory “opt-out” community-wide program, it would include and affect every qualified household and small business in Penfield.

*Eligible customers as set forth by the NYSPSC see appendix D http://localpower.com/NY-PSC-CCA-Order-4-21-16.pdf

CCA in Penfield

The Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee (EEAC) began investigating Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in 2016 after the energy procurement model was authorized by the New York State Public Service Commission. Also in 2016, the EEAC began exploring Clean Energy Communities (CEC) designation for the Town. CEC specifies 10 high impact actions local governments can take in pursuit of CEC designation. Community Choice Aggregation is a qualified high impact action.

Since 2016, the EEAC has researched the role and performance of CCA in other communities and tracked the progress of neighboring municipalities in their evaluation and pursuit of CCA. Implementing CCA is a significant project that is typically managed by a third party Program Administrator (PA). The EEAC has met with multiple PAs to review their organizations, experience, and performance.

On May 20, 2020 the Town Board took a required first step towards CCA by adopting Local Law No. 2 of 2020, known as “A Local Law to Authorize Establishment of a Community Choice Aggregation (Energy) Program in the Town of Penfield.” This law enables the Town to pursue establishing CCA in Penfield. 

On October 7, 2020 the Town Board passed a resolution to advertise a Request for Proposal for a PA. The chosen PA would be authorized to negotiate for an energy supplier to deliver a specified mix of energy at a specific price point to Penfield electricity customers. The Town Board will then review supplier proposals presented by the PA. Based on what is presented, the Town Board will determine if it will continue to pursue CCA for Penfield. 

The underlying strategy in the CCA model is that the municipality/PA would leverage the entire community’s demand for electricity to negotiate with power suppliers for clean energy at a rate lower than what was recently charged by the local utility company for fossil-based energy sources. The concept is positioned as a win-win where customers are credited with using clean energy at a lower rate than they could have purchased independently, and the environment benefits from a shift to more demand for renewable energy sources. Of importance, there is no guarantee cost savings to consumers will be achieved or sustained in the long-term. Contracts are typically negotiated in two-year terms.

Because CCA is an opt-out community-wide program, it would include and affect every eligible household and small business in Penfield. Participants may opt-out at any time and return to their traditional utility supplier with no penalty.

The Town of Penfield will instruct a chosen PA to seek a combination of the lowest costs and the highest percent of renewable energy resources. Under a CCA model, the chosen supplier would replace RG&E as the supplier of electricity. RG&E would remain the electricity distributor; it would still own and operate the transmission lines, respond to outages and emergencies, and bill as normal for delivery of those services.

No commitments have been made for CCA in Penfield. Throughout 2020/2021 the Town will continue its due diligence, conduct public education, and seek substantial public input before making a decision to proceed with the CCA energy procurement model for the Penfield community.

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