Westchester Power Electricity Supply Resumes in Con Ed Utility Area

We are pleased to announce that Westchester Power has secured a new contract and will resume electricity supply service in the 24 participating Con Edison municipalities. Read the press release here.

The Westchester Power electricity supply service in these municipalities had paused as of the June 30 end of the last contract, as extreme market volatility hindered earlier efforts to secure a follow-on supply contract. As the NY state model for “community choice aggregation” community-based renewable energy, program impact has been substantial locally and State-wide, and the resumption of service sets the participating municipalities back on track with this important part of their greenhouse gas reduction efforts.

The new contract starts with meter reads in November and ends on first meter reads after October 31, 2024. See below for more detail.

Sustainable Westchester remains committed to working with its partner municipalities on on building the most economically effective transition to the new clean energy economy. Much more to come!

*This change DOES NOT APPLY to Yonkers residents. For the list of participating Con Edison municipalities click here.

Find out more about the program, new contract, rates and other details at one of the convenient public information sessions we are holding. Scroll down or click here to pick one that works for your schedule… or watch the presentation any time you want:

Watch the full Community Information Presentation here:

 

New Rates, What To Expect Next

While our new rates are significantly higher than what has been offered through Westchester Power in the past, they are reflective of the current volatile energy market. The new rates compare very favorably against renewable energy market offerings and offer cost-effective access to clean energy in a consumer-friendly format.

Once you receive a notification letter from Sustainable Westchester in the mail in mid-September, the following applies:

  • You do not need to take action to be enrolled in the program because your status and choice of energy supply will be reinstated.
  • To opt-out you can take any one of the following steps:

Helpful links:

1. Notification Letter
2. Program FAQs  
3. Current rates and historical perspective of rates

Rates & Market Context

Energy prices are up everywhere, and the new Westchester Power program rates reflect these market realities. While we can’t know what future utility (Con Edison) rates will be, and therefore whether savings will be realized, we provide here some of that market context.

The most explicit of these recent inputs is Con Edison’s September 9 press release alerting the public that prices would be rising:
Con Edison Offering Assistance As Energy Market Prices Surge

“…A Westchester County customer using 600 kilowatt hours a month will have an average bill of $203, a 27-percent increase over last winter’s $160, based on the company’s latest estimates.”

The NY Independent System Operator (NYISO – the entity that manages the State’s electric grid) release a statement on 9/13/2022,  with a similar warning:

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is warning of a sharp rise in wholesale electric costs expected this winter due to several economic and geopolitical factors that continue to impact the market cost of natural gas used in the production of electricity.

Other Market News
Retail electricity prices continue rapid rise; US homes could pay more than 15 cents/kWh next year: EIA [US Energy Information Administration]

Note that the cited EIA projection is for the national average, and NY is actually at the high end of the range:

“… “highest forecast wholesale prices are at more than $100/MWh in ISO New England (up 96% from 2021) and New York ISO (up 124% from 2021).”

Natural gas is the dominant fuel for generators and therefore its pricing drives the electricity market.  EIA predicts continued export increases to higher priced foreign markets –  “We expect that relatively high LNG demand in Asia and Europe will support continued U.S. LNG exports.” Natural gas has tripled in price since Spring 2021, and increased exports are an important reason for this.

Comparable ESCO offerings
Another important indicator that we can benchmark against is the market rate for comparable (100% NYS Renewable, fixed term, no exit penalty) products. At the time of the bid submission in July, the nearest Energy Service Company pricing was over 16 cents/kWh and prices have gone up since then with some recent ESCO direct mail offers demonstrates pricing as high as 24 cents per kWh. You can survey these by visiting the sites of suppliers registered with Con Ed – https://www.coned.com/en/save-money/shop-for-energy-service-companies/find-your-esco.

***

The program does not guarantee savings, and we can’t predict how the program rates will compare to Con Edison’s rate in any future month or through the end of the term, but you may find this context helpful in evaluating the potential benefits of Westchester Power program rates in providing competitively priced renewable energy and insurance against future market uncertainty.

Public Information Sessions

We’re grouping so you can join with neighbors if you choose, but if you can’t make one that is designated for your municipality you can join any session that works for your schedule.

Sound Shore (Rye, Rye Brook, Mamaroneck V, Mamaroneck T, New Rochelle, Larchmont, Pelham)
Central County (White Plains, Mt. Kisco, Bedford, New Castle, Tuckahoe, Pleasantville)
Upper River Towns (Peekskill, Croton on Hudson, Ossining Town, Ossining Village, Sleepy Hollow)
Lower River Towns (Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Hastings on Hudson, Town of Greenburgh)

Thursday, 9/22 at 7pm
Central Westchester: (http://tinyurl.com/7PMCentralWestchester9-22)

Wednesday, 9/28 at 12 Noon
Sound Shore: (http://tinyurl.com/NoonSoundShore9-28)

Wednesday, 9/28 at 7 pm
Lower River Towns: http://tinyurl.com/7PMLowerRivertowns9-28

Friday, 9/30 at 12 noon
Upper River Towns: (http://tinyurl.com/NoonUpperRivertowns9-30)

Tuesday, 10/4 at 12 Noon
Central Westchester: (http://tinyurl.com/NoonCentralWestchester10-4)

Tuesday, 10/4 at 7 pm
Sound Shore: (http://tinyurl.com/7PMSoundShore10-4)

Wednesday, 10/5 at 12 noon
Lower River Towns: (http://tinyurl.com/NoonLowerRivertowns10-5)

Wednesday, 10/5 at 7 pm
Upper River Towns: (http://tinyurl.com/7PMUpperRivertowns10-5)

                                                                Sesións de Información Comunitaria

Past Public Information Sessions

Wednesday (8/31) at 12 Noon
Central Westchester: (Link to video)
Lower River Towns: (Link to video)
Sound Shore: (Link to video)
Upper River Towns: (Link to video)

Wednesday (8/31) at 7:00pm
Central Westchester: (Link to video)
Lower River Towns: (Link to video)
Sound Shore: (Link to video)
Upper River Towns: (Link to video)

Thursday (9/1) at 12 Noon
Central Westchester: (Link to video)
Upper River Towns: (Link to video)

Thursday (9/1) at 7:00pm
Central Westchester: (Link to video)
Lower River Towns: (Link to video)
Sound Shore: (Link to video)
Upper River Towns: (Link to video)

Friday (9/2) at 12 Noon
Lower River Towns: (Link to video)
Sound Shore: (Link to video)

Commitment To Clean Energy

Since 2016, the Westchester Power Community Energy program has helped municipalities in Westchester County leverage the collective power of its residents to control costs and provide insurance against fluctuations in electricity supply through competitively priced and fixed-rate bulk purchasing, while also leading the transition to renewable energy in the state through Westchester Power’s 100% Renewable energy as the primary product subscription of most participants.

In 6 years of operation, Westchester residents and businesses have mitigated the emission of about 1,100,000 metric tons of CO2 through their decision to support renewable energy via Westchester Power. This is equivalent to taking roughly 293,000 cars off the road for one year.

Westchester Power Electricity Supply Service Basics

  • Westchester Power is a program that allows local governments to procure electricity, gas, and other services on behalf of their residents and small businesses
  • This is only an electricity SUPPLY offering. Participants are still customers of their utility company who continue to be responsible for energy distribution, infrastructure maintenance, and billing of customers
  • Westchester Power hosts auctions among qualified Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and awards supply contracts through this competitive bidding process
  • Enrollment is on an “opt-out” basis- you receive a notification letter with all the program details, and are enrolled unless you say you do not want to be. Participants can exit (or change supply option https://sustainablewestchester.org/wp/energy-choices/) at any time with no fee
  • By joining together through this shared service, communities maximize their leverage to secure competitive rates with energy suppliers and choose greener power sources
  • Westchester Power is a trailblazing program for NY State in bringing 100% renewable energy supply at scale to communities and leading the clean energy transition

A Community
Energy Platform

The large scale of the program enables us to attract new opportunities for increased environmental impact and potential savings. These include:

Westchester Power Solar Credit offering – Sustainable Westchester is preparing to launch an exciting, new Solar Credit offering within the Westchester Power program in late 2022. The Solar Credit offering provides guaranteed savings to participating households and small businesses. The offering will prioritize the delivery of the Solar Credit savings to those enrolled in the existing utility’s low-income assistance program.

Demand Response – Previously available only to large commercial businesses, Sustainable Westchester has collaborated with a technology firm, Logical Buildings, to pilot demand response for residential customers. By cutting usage during a few peak hours of the year, ConEd can avoid switching on the dirtiest “Peaker Plants,” and will pay you money for that. Learn more about the GridRewards program here.

Let’s Talk About Clean Energy

Why clean energy? By now, everyone has heard of climate change, but it’s not always easy to make the connection to our daily lives. Our energy choices are, however, linked to many of the most serious challenges that we face these days, as well as the question of what kind of future we leave our children.

Most of our electricity is still generated by burning fossil fuels which release greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. This has contributed to our environment’s degradation, increasing temperatures, and local effects such as more frequent higher intensity storms and changes in seasonal patterns. Here’s a short video about the greenhouse effect which is responsible for this problem.

Solar, wind, and hydropower are emissions-free sources of energy. New York State has an aggressive plan to switch over to these clean energy sources and away from fossil fuels. Westchester communities have taken the lead in these efforts, and now dozens of NY communities have followed with similar programs.

Clean Energy Implications
for Westchester County

Our communities need to move away from fossil fuel-powered electricity quickly to help mitigate the challenges associated with climate change. A transformation towards clean-powered electricity is entirely possible.

Westchester Power communities can help accelerate this transition by promoting the generation of clean energy, as well as sending signals to electricity generators, investors, and governments that we place a high priority on ensuring a sustainable and healthy future.

Our energy choices and COVID 19

Studies are showing that areas with higher levels of pollution see worse outcomes from COVID 19. Many observers have pointed out the similarities in the challenges since both require collective, long-term action to solve.

Sea Level Rise

Over the past century, the Hudson has risen about a foot due to global warming (see this Scenic Hudson article), threatening households and habitats. This map shows how the Yonkers waterfront may fare over this century. We can reduce the impact and costs by taking strong action to reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.

Temperature Rise & Disparate Impacts

By the year 2100, on our current trajectory, New York starts to look more like Florida (Climate Central):

But like so many of the effects of global warming, the impact can vary greatly. Groundwork Hudson Valley has done amazing work to go one step further and show how the practice of Redlining has amplified the environmental justice aspect of the problem through the creation of “heat islands” [read more here]:

More resources about local climate change impacts