Bayonne is one of first in N.J. to implement ‘energy aggregation’
Mayor Mark A. Smith announced that Bayonne residents will soon enjoy lower energy costs, as a result of an online auction held last Wednesday for the city’s home electricity needs. State-licensed energy suppliers bid their lowest rates in the auction, conducted for Bayonne and two other towns by Commercial Utility Consultants (CUC), a leading energy consultant with 38 years of experience selected by the City to arrange the process.
The winning bid came from TriEagle Energy, which will provide a 10-percent savings over current rates from the local utility, PSE&G. The new rate is guaranteed for 24 months. A consumer with a current electric bill of $200 a month would save about $240 a year in the first year. Mayor Smith said, “We are excited about beginning this new, cost-saving program that will help our entire community. The program will deliver better utility rates for Bayonne consumers by harnessing the entire community’s purchasing power. Our goal is to save Bayonne families and businesses a substantial amount of money on their monthly energy bills. In these difficult economic times, the City of Bayonne welcomes this opportunity to help improve the finances of everyone in the community.” The lower electricity rate is expected to save Bayonne consumers a combined $1.6 million.
A series of steps in late October and early November led up to the auction. On October 25, all licensed New Jersey energy suppliers were sent bid documents by CUC, the firm that is administering the process for Bayonne and several other New Jersey communities. Bayonne joined with Glassboro, N.J. and Willingboro, N.J. to boost each municipality’s buying power. Bayonne was the lead municipality on the project, working directly with CUC and the state on behalf of the partnering towns. On November 8, qualified participating bidders received a notification accepting their qualifications. Finally, on November 13, an online auction took place for the aggregation of the Bayonne energy market.
A separate energy auction for natural gas will be held in the coming weeks, and is expected to bring additional savings for city residents. In the words of the ordinance that the Bayonne City Council adopted, the aggregation program “will increase competition for the provision of electric power and natural gas to residential and non-residential users, thereby increasing the likelihood of lower electric rates and natural gas rates for these users without causing any interruption in service.”
PSE&G will continue to deliver residents’ power, handle customer accounts, respond to outages and maintain service. The only changes are the energy supplier (the company that actually generates the energy), the lower energy costs, and the supplier information on your utility bill.
“We’re thrilled with the results of the auction, knowing we’ll be saving our residents significant, hard-earned cash every month,” said Mayor Mark Smith. “By pooling the energy needs of our entire city and our two partner towns, we were able to get much lower rates than an individual resident could obtain on their own.”
The reduction in electric rates is expected to begin after the first of the year. Mayor Smith noted. Any resident who does not wish to participate in the cost-saving program may opt out at any time, without any fee or penalty.
CUC is handling the entire energy project at no cost to the city, its partners or taxpayers. Located in Sewell, N.J., the firm has helped thousands of cities and major companies cut their energy costs.
“This is a natural outgrowth of our work helping towns lower their municipal power costs for many years,” said Nicholas Reynolds, CUC’s chief operating officer. “Now we can provide similar benefits to the residents of these communities.”
Bayonne and its two partner towns are among the first in the state to implement Government Energy Aggregation (GEA). Created by the N.J. Board of Public Utilities and the Rate Counsel (formerly known as the Ratepayer Advocate), GEA is designed to help people take advantage of energy deregulation and cut energy costs. “Aggregation” refers to customers who form a group to purchase energy.
“This is a major step in an exciting new direction,” said Mayor Smith. “I want to thank all of my colleagues at City Hall, as well as the folks at CUC, for doing such a great job for our community. I look forward to continuing our work, so that all residents can take advantage of this terrific program.”
Under the terms of the auction, the new energy rates are guaranteed for 24 months, with no early cancellation fees, penalties, or fine print. At the end of this period, another auction could be held, to lock in even lower rates for the next 12, 18 or 24 months. If PSE&G’s rates happen to drop below the new supplier’s rates, participating residents would be billed at the lower of the two rates.
All residents who have not already switched to a different (third-party) energy supplier will be automatically included. Area businesses are not automatically included in the program, but may opt in.
For more information, please visit bayonnenj.org or njaggregation.us. Or call CUC at (877) 292-3904.
Residents who wish to opt-out of the rate-lowering program can visit njaggregation.us or call (877) 292-3904.