KINDERHOOK–The Village of Kinderhook hosted an information meeting about the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) agreement the village board has signed. Katy Vescio, a representative from the not-for-profit local development corporation Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA), explained what a CCA is and what it would do for village residents’ electricity bills at the November 14 meeting.
The Village Board signed an agreement to join the CCA which, as of now, includes the cities of Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs and Watervliet, the towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland, Knox, New Scotland and Niskayuna, and the Village of Voorheesville. According to a press release from MEGA, “through bulk purchasing and competition, CCA can offer better electric rates, price stability and budget certainty. Additionally, it provides access to 100% renewable electricity and helps combat predatory practices of energy telemarketers and door-to-door sales.” MEGA is the administrator of the CCA agreement.
About a dozen people attended the meeting.
Ms. Vescio explained that through the CCA residents would know the price of their electric bill before they agreed to accept the price MEGA negotiates. Residents would also be able to request 100% green energy or a mix of energy sources. And the residents would keep the same price for two to three years, depending on the contract. “Acting as a group gets a much better deal,” Ms. Vescio said at the meeting of the over 60,000 households that would be part of this Capital Region CCA. Though she did stress that residents would not be saving “boatloads of money.”
Ms. Vescio mentioned throughout her presentation that residents, and small businesses in the village, could opt in or out of the program.
She also said that National Grid will still control the poles and equipment that delivers residents’ electricity. “If your power goes out you still call National Grid,” she said. What the CCA changes is the supplier of the electricity. The presentation stated that “Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) compete to win the business of the CCA by responding to a Request for Proposal.”
She also said that though the CCA includes several municipalities, “your municipal officials will make a unique decision for you.”
The village will need to pass a local law this winter, according to Ms. Vescio’s presentation, to move forward. MEGA will then get the contracts from the ESCOs and bring that information back to the Village Board in the spring. “MEGA creates a competitive bid process for electricity supply based on what the community desires,” the presentation reads. She also said that the board does not have to join the CCA after passing the local law. The village can decide not to move forward even after the local law is adopted.
Residents will also get letters about opting out of the program. “We don’t want anyone to feel trapped in the program,” Ms. Vescio said.
Only village residents and small business in the village (usually using less than 2,000KWh a month) can participate. Also, anyone with a blocked account cannot participate.
Ms. Vescio said that other cities have recently contacted MEGA about joining the Capital District CCA. The cutoff date was November 1 and Ms. Vescio said her organization has the amount of households needed to get started. There is currently a CCA program in the Southern Tier of the state. Ms. Vescio said that residents there are not seeing a huge savings due to record lows in electricity rates this summer. But she said that rates do fluctuate with weather and other natural issues, and there are spikes.
Ms. Vescio will be back for another presentation in on Wednesday, December 18, at 7 p.m. at Van Buren Hall, 6 Chatham Street. The sessions are open to all residents.
For more information visit: www.megacca.org. Questions can be directed to 518 533-5399 or .
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale