Sullivan County has taken an important step toward a more secure, sustainable and affordable energy future. On October 2nd, Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD) submitted a petition to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) seeking authorization to establish a countywide Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program (FAQ here).
A CCA program allows a municipality, in this case Sullivan County, to bundle the electricity purchases of all residents and businesses within its jurisdiction to secure a lower price. Because a CCA can purchase energy on behalf of tens of thousands of customers, it can negotiate lower rates that are not otherwise available to retail customers. Under the terms of a resolution unanimously adopted by the Sullivan County Legislature, the Sullivan County CCA (SCCCA) must offer an electric rate that is equal to, or lower than, the prevailing rate. SCCCA may also offer customers a premium, 100% renewable energy option.
But SCCCA is not only about achieving immediate cost savings for consumers. If its petition is approved by the PSC, SASD’s long term plan is to utilize the SCCCA to develop local renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric. SASD founder Dick Riseling explains, “Renewable energy production will create good local jobs, provide county residents with reliable energy supplies for years to come, and insulate us from the wildly fluctuating prices of fossil fuels.” Riseling also points out that “To the extent that Sullivan County can produce its own power, the money that customers spend on electricity will stay within the county.”
The SASD Proposal to Sullivan County Legislature and the SASD Petition to the Public Service Commission to the PSC were written by SASD board members and staff in consultation with the offices of the County Attorney and the County Manager. Upon approval by the PSC, SCCCA will be developed and administered at no cost to county taxpayers.