The Examiner

P’ville Approves Participation in Pilot Energy Program

We are part of The Trust Project

By Sarah Bonanno

The Pleasantville Village Board approved Monday night the village’s participation in a Community Choice Aggregation Energy Program (CCA), a pilot program through Sustainable Westchester designed to save residents money on their energy bills.

Sustainable Westchester, a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 40 municipalities across the county, will attempt to procure an energy supply service company (ESCO) for interested residents. The organization is hopeful that multiple ESCOs will bid in hopes of being selected as Westchester’s supplier to reduce the cost for electricity and natural gas. The utility service would remain with Con Edison, Pleasantville’s distribution company.

Mayor Peter Scherer said customers who wish to remain with their current supplier will be able to as village residents may choose to opt out of the program. A letter will be sent to bundled costumers, who will have 20 days to opt out. However, a resident is able to opt out at any point after implementation of the program.

The board approved the CCA by a 3-1 margin, with Trustee Mindy Berard the dissenting vote. Trustee Colleen Griffin-Wagner was absent for the vote but had voiced support for the resolution.

“To me, Sustainable Westchester can help if they get an appropriate response, an appropriate proposal will contract with one of those ESCOs,” Trustee Joseph Stargiotti said. “We’re really just positioning people to get their gas supply from an ESCO at a better price, and we participate only if it really is a better price and we have the assurance of Sustainable Westchester.”

Berard said she objected to the program because customers should have to opt in rather than be automatically enrolled and forced to opt out. She also disliked the procedure with which the resolution was brought to a vote, contending there wasn’t enough time to properly review or discuss changes to the resolution after a public hearing. The resolution was originally scheduled for a vote earlier this summer, but was adjourned so a hearing could be held.

“I’m all for saving people money, but I don’t agree with it being an opt-out. If it’s such a great program, it should be opt in,” Berard said.

After the public hearing, the resolution clarified that an ESCO will agree to collect the utility gross receipt tax regardless of utility territory. That ensures the village will continue to collect revenue it currently receives.

“It not only makes a lot of sense, but it unleashes the forces of capitalism in the free market in the purchase of energy,” Scherer said of the program. “It takes advantage of the buying power we have collectively that none of us have individually, and it provides the missing piece that hasn’t been available to the individual residents, and that is the overlay of professionals who know what they’re doing, cutting a good deal, and managing the relationship with the ESCO and making sure that it’s a fair and good deal.”

Scherer also noted that the CCA is a pilot program for Westchester and could be implemented by the state at a later time.

“I am very happy to have Pleasantville in the leading group,” he said.




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