Joule Assets, Inc. a New York state-certified community choice aggregation administrator, has been selected by Southampton Town. The move is a crucial one, as the town continues to weigh taking part in such a program, which allows bid soliciting from energy suppliers with the goal of creating electric energy purchasing options to provide renewable energy resources to consumers at a lower cost than currently being offered by the Long Island Power Authority.
“We have built several safeguards into our contract with Joule to protect the consumer,” said Councilman John Bouvier, who spearheaded the effort. “The town will not enter into a power purchase agreement that does not reduce costs to the consumer.”
Critical to the town is the very careful analysis of the program’s potential savings. Although similar programs have had some success in reducing costs in other areas of the state, there are no guarantees that Southampton will have the same success, but this is a next step, required by the Public Service Commission, to see if that is possible.
Southampton is the first on Long Island to award a contract to an administrator, having unanimously adopted the enabling legislation in November 2018. More than 80 state municipalities have adopted legislation and/or implemented community choice programs. A fully-operational program in Westchester County, where Joule Assets is based, launched in May 2016 and has saved its 130,000 program participants a combined $15 million. Other Long Island municipalities including Brookhaven, East Hampton, and Hempstead are pursuing investigations into a program.
Joule Assets will undertake a detailed investigation and analysis at no cost to the town or consumers. The company will begin work with town staff in the next few weeks to develop an implementation plan, which will have to be submitted to the New York Public Service Commission for approval. This process could take several months. If the public service commission approves the implementation plan, Joule Assets will verify the energy demands of the Southampton consumers and solicit energy suppliers who can meet those demands at a cost savings and provide renewable electric energy resources.
No one at Joule Assets responded to requests for comment.
If a program is implemented, Southampton energy consumers can agree not to participate at no penalty, at no cost, and with no interruption in their energy supply or service.
Southampton has repeatedly put forward its aggressive goals to reduce its carbon footprint, to address the contributing causes of climate change, and to seek 100 percent renewable electric energy resources. A community choice aggregation program can be one of the more significant strategies to address each of these goals.
Over the coming months, the town, in partnership with Joule Assets and its local partners, will hold several informational forums as well as providing information to community members through the town’s website, www.southamptontownny.gov.