Yonkers considers joining
the Westchester Power
community energy program

Yonkers is bringing an amazing amount of energy to the resurgence of Lower Westchester. Now the City wants to bring clean energy to power that resurgence by participating in Sustainable Westchester’s community energy program – Westchester Power. Sustainable Westchester administers the program for participating municipalities. They have been working with the City to create opportunities for residents to learn about the program and provide feedback before the City’s final decision to participate in Westchester Power.hola

This page aims to help Yonkers residents learn about the program goals, how it works, and the benefits residents and the City. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Westchester Municipalities
joining together to fight
climate change by obtaining
clean energy supply
at competitive rates

Westchester Power is the first community energy of its kind in New York State, launched in 2016. There are now 27 municipalities who have proactively taken charge of their energy future by participating, and collectively they have mitigated over 660 thousand tons of greenhouse gases. That’s the equivalent of planting about 11 million tree seedlings and growing them for 10 years, or taking 140,000 cars off the road for a year. Learn more about the program by watching this short video introduction.

Westchester Power Basics

  • It’s a program that allows local governments to procure electricity, gas, and other services on behalf of their residents and small businesses.
  • The program supplier is selected from qualified Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) through a competitive bidding process.
  • Distribution, maintenance, billing remains with utility
  • Enrollment is on “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) at any time with no fee.
  • By joining together, communities gain leverage to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose greener power sources.

Questions?

Find answers in this Frequently Asked Questions document, or if you prefer, here’s a video version.

Community Outreach
Event Schedule

We’ll be scheduling more events soon! Please contact
us with any questions, at
[email protected]

Past outreach/education events in Yonkers

  • March 4, 2020, Univision’s “Tu Lado En Yonkers” – Tabling event for Spanish-speaking residents to learn about the community energy program, Westchester Power.
  • February 13, 2020, District 1 Town Hall – Presentation to District 1 residents on Westchester Power.
  • November 5, 2019, Main Library – Casual “drop by” to learn about the program. Bring your bill.
  • October 22, 2019, Nepperhan Community Center – Presentation to senior citizens on Westchester Power & how to read your energy bill.
  • October 8, 2019, North Yonkers Preservation – Presentation to senior citizens on Westchester Power & how to read your energy bill.
  • September 30, 2019, Peter Chema Community Center – Presentation to senior citizens on Westchester Power & how to read your energy bill.
  • September 20, 2019, Bronx River Road Senior Center – Presentation to senior citizens on Westchester Power & how to read your energy bill.
  • September 14, 2019, RIverfest – Tabling down by the Groundworks Hudson Valley Science Barge.
  • August 18, 2019, Grinton I. Will Library – Westchester Power information session.
  • August 13, 2019, Riverfront Library – Westchester Power information session.
  • August 8, 2019, Grinton I. Will Library – Westchester Power information session.
  • September 15, 2018, Riverfest – Tabling down by the Groundworks Hudson Valley Science Barge.

Email Westchester Power program staff with any of your questions or comments about the program:
[email protected]

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:

Community Solar – You can help put more clean energy on the grid and save money at the same time by subscribing to a large solar farm through Sustainable Westchester’s Community Solar program. Currently, participation requires a separate signup process and a two bill system (your electric bill and a separate solar credits bill). NY State has required Con Ed and other utilities to include Community Solar on the electric bill, which means that the program will be able to deliver solar discount credits directly without a separate bill.

This has very exciting implications for our ability to engage and provide benefits to low income households.

Solar developers have taken particular interest and this should stimulate more projects in Westchester. Meanwhile, you can subscribe today and save up to 10% on your electric bill.

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, Con Ed can avoid switching on the dirtiest “Peaker Plants”, and will pay you money for that. Learn more about the GridRewards program here.

City Participation Process

New York State Public Service Commission regulations specify the process for formation of a municipal Community Choice Aggregation program. The main steps include:

Enacting an enabling law – This is essentially the legal announcement that the City takes unto itself the authority to establish a CCA program. It oblige the City to actually do so however.

Community outreach/education activity – while there have already been a number of events, it doesn’t “count” for the purposes of complying with the regulations unless it happens after the Enabling Law is enacted. These additional outreach activities will require 2-3 months to complete.

Submission to the Department of Public Service for approval – The DPS is the State agency which oversees and enforces the regulations of the Public Service Commission. The records of the outreach, a copy of the local Enabling Law, and a copy of the form of the participant notification letter format are submitted to DPS, and usually within a couple of weeks the issue an approval for the municipality to participate in the CCA. This still does not obligate the City to actually participate.

Request For Proposals / Bidding – the program suppliers are selected through a competitive bidding process. In a new innovation, we are now incorporating a reverse auction platform where bidders can see each others bids as the price gets ratcheted down. Participating municipalities sign a Memorandum of Understanding which commits them to signing the Electric Service Agreement with the winning bidder as long as it meets the MOU criteria.

Signing the Electric Service Agreement – This contract awards to the winning supplier the rights to supply the eligible residents and small businesses on an opt-out basis (see “Westchester Power Basics”). The notification letters and other associated processes are initiated with this step.

Let’s Talk 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.

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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, 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