Fellow Community Members,
We hope everyone is doing well managing the everyday complexities brought by COVID and continuing to wear masks and social distance. While the primary purpose of this email is on the renewal of the Westchester Power contract, we would also like to share some sad news and acknowledge the passing of Gerard “Rod” O’Shea earlier this month. Rod was a strong believer in giving back to his community and had volunteered his time in countless ways. He was the former chair of the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations and was the recipient of the ECC Silver Box Community Service Award. He will be missed.
GET YOUR VOICE HEARD AT THE ESCO PUBLIC HEARING
The Greenburgh Town Board is holding a Public Discussion tomorrow evening at 7:30pm, on September 23rd, via zoom regarding the Energy Supply Company (ESCO) contract to supply electricity to Town Residents with Westchester Power. We encourage you to attend and speak at the hearing, to share your point of view with the Town Board. Whereas sometimes it feels like the Town Board already has an established point of view, it appears the Town Board has not yet reached a decision and your comments can make a difference.
WSTCHESTER POWER ENERGY DELIVERY
The Westchester Power contract, first signed almost four years ago, is up for renewal and the Town Board is seeking public feedback on the company’s new Green proposal. If the town renews its contract with Westchester Power, you will automatically be enrolled unless you take steps to opt out and designate Con Ed or another ESCO as your supply company. With prior contracts residents who did not opt out paid higher electir bills.
There are two main components of your electricity utility bill: supply and delivery. Con Ed delivers electricity to your home or business and sends your bill, but for the supply you have the option to choose another energy supply company (known as an ESCO) and there are a variety of ESCOs as well as the option of staying with Con Ed (See: https://www.coned.com/en/save-money/shop-for-energy-service-companies). In 2016, the Town enrolled all residents into the Westchester Power ESCO program (https://sustainablewestchester.org/wp/). The goal of that contract was to save residents money on their electric bill. Westchester Power’s supply rates seemed reasonable at the beginning of their multi-year contract, but became substantially higher than Con Ed over the past few years, costing residents up to hundreds of more dollars per year than they would have paid had they remained with Con Ed for their electrical supply.
PROS AND CONS
The HNA Executive Committee is pleased to see that the Town Board is considering a Green energy program, but we have serious concerns about the potential of choosing a supplier and program that will raise utility prices for residents at a time of serious economic hardship. Furthermore, we do not think the automatic enrollment is an appropriate mechanism for signing up participants.
- Unlike the expiring contract, the Town is considering choosing Westchester Power’s green program, which means 100% of the electricity would be supplied by green/renewable sources.
- There is the potential, should electricity futures prices rise significantly over the contract period, that there could be savings by locking in a fixed price for supply.
- Future electric supply rates cannot be predicted, but the contract calls for a cap in prices that is currently 38% higher than current Con Ed rates. That means if you are enrolled in this program and future prices remain low (as has been the case in recent years) you would be paying substantially more for electricity supply through Westchester Power than you would pay if remaining with Con Ed or choosing another ESCO.
- Automatic enrollment results in many residents unaware that they are being enrolled in a program that directly impacts their finances. Is this the role of the Town Board?
- Con Ed and other ESCOs have green options that individual residents can choose if that is a priority.
- In previous contracts, the ESCO has not followed through on its requirements to notify enrollees in the program as required. This lack of transparency is an issue.
- The town has not sufficiently educated consumers about the reasoning and data, (if any,) that led to this choice of ESCO, nor has it educated residents on the rollout of the plan. We support a significant increase in community outreach before the town takes steps that will affect household utility bills.
HOW TO GET YOUR VOICE HEARD AND ATTEND THE PUBLIC MEETING
If you wish to speak at the public hearing, email PublicHearing@GreenburghNY.com. and include which hearing you plan to attend in the email.
Email PublicComment@GreenburghNY.com to share written comments.
If you only wish to watch the meeting, you can do so on channel 76 for CableVision,,channel 35 for Verizon, or online here.
If you have questions you would like to ask us about the above please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Zinger, President HNA
HNA Executive Committee