New Jersey Government Energy Aggregation FAQs
Updated August 4, 2016
Gloucester Township, along with Winslow Township and the Borough of Somerdale, is pleased to announce the launch of the largest government energy aggregation program in the State of New Jersey. The aggregation program combines and leverages the energy purchasing power of nearly 36,000 households to lower monthly costs by having Third Party Suppliers (TPS) competitively bid to supply electricity to the three communities.
What is Government Energy Aggregation?
Government Energy Aggregation (GEA) is a program permitted under New Jersey State law that permits municipalities to take advantage of purchasing power by pooling residents together to bid for power supply from third party suppliers, with the aim of obtaining power supply at a price that is cheaper than the supply price charged by the electric utility. The program is conducted under the oversight of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Division of Rate Counsel and the Department of Community Affairs.
Who has Gloucester Township, New Jersey selected as the program supplier?
ConEdison Solutions and TriEagle Energy were selected by the municipality as the qualified suppliers with the lowest bid prices in a public, competitive bid. ConEdison Solutions and TriEagle Energy are electric power suppliers licensed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
When does the contract with ConEdison Solutions or TriEagle Energy begin?
Service will begin with your August 2016 meter read date and will continue for 14-months until October 2017.
How does the GEA program contract price compare to the Atlantic City Electric (ACE) and Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) tariff prices for power supply?
The TriEagle ACE contract price is $0.09782 per kilowatt hour (kWh), or approximately 8% below the average ACE tariff price for power supply. The ConEdison Solutions PSE&G contract price of $0.11897 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is approximately 7% below the average PSE&G tariff price for power supply of $0.12800 per kWh. The average Township resident should save an estimated $94 over the full contract term (about $6.72 per month).
Does the price vary as market conditions change?
No. Residents who do not currently have a third party supply contract (i.e., take power supply service from ACE or PSE&G under the utilities’ Basic Generation Service tariffs) are included in the initial eligibility pool.
However, you can opt-out of the program by mail, phone or email using the information in the Program Summary. If you opt-out within the 30-day opt-out period (or before July 22, 2016), you will not be enrolled in the program. However, after enrollment you can opt-out any time you wish.
Is there a penalty or fee if I leave the program?
No. You can opt-out of the program any time effective the next meter read cycle, and there are no penalties or fees to do so.
Can I Opt-In to the GEA Program?
Yes. Residents who have their own third party supply (TPS) contract but would like to join the GEA program will be given the opportunity to join.
For customers with their own TPS contracts, it is important to read your existing contracts very carefully, as there may be penalties for terminating the contract prematurely. Some third party suppliers have automatic “roll over” provisions which renew your contract without consent or action from you. Please be sure to read your current agreement and take the necessary actions to alert your third party supplier that you wish to terminate service at the end of your contract term in order to join the Gloucester Twp. Government Energy Aggregation.
Please note that neither the Energy Consultant nor the Township are responsible for informing your existing supplier or terminating your agreement with them. However, if you have any difficulty with them, please let us know and we’ll try to help you resolve issues. Contact Information Provided Below.
Why is the program set up so that residents can only opt-out, rather than having it so that residents may opt-in if they wish to join?
The program is set up this way to ensure that a sufficient number of households will participate to obtain a meaningful bid and to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of having everyone affirmatively sign up for the program.
The aggregation rules incorporate consumer protections, and recognize the logistical challenges of a residential procurement program, while at the same time providing a structure that will attract bidders.
When the retail choice program was originally enacted in NJ in 1999, the rules required that government aggregators be required to obtain a so-called “wet signature” from each residential customer demonstrating the customer’s affirmative consent to join. After a number of years, it was recognized that this “opt in” approach put such a burden on the programs that none got off the ground, and the model was changed to “opt-out” for residential customers. Unlike business customers, residential customers represent large numbers and (relatively) small usage/margins for each account. In order for an aggregation of residential customers to work, it is necessary to get large volumes of accounts with as low transaction costs as possible. This results in the opt-out approach, which gives suppliers a firmer basis for the load (usage) they are bidding on, but still provides residential customers with the ability to opt-out.
The regulations also require that an aggregation program show savings versus the utility provided rates at the time of the bid. Each residential customer will receive a written notification after the bid informing them of the price, the comparison to the utility price, and their right to opt-out. As such, each resident will be fully apprised of all pertinent information necessary to make an informed decision.
Will I receive other notifications?
Yes. If you do not opt-out of the program, several weeks after receipt of this Information Package, you will receive a notification letter from PSE&G or ACE indicating that ConEdison Solutions or TriEagle Energy, respectively, has enrolled your account for third party supply and informing you of the date that you will be switched to ConEdison Solutions or TriEagle Energy supply. This is just an added notification; there is nothing that you need to do should you wish to participate.
Will I ever be requested to provide information over the phone or to a door-to-door solicitor for enrollment in this program?
No. This program does not include any door-to-door solicitation. ConEdison Solutions and TriEagle Energy have the necessary information already, subject to strict confidentiality. If you are solicited by someone, please do not provide them with your information and alert the municipality, ConEdison Solutions, TriEagle Energy, or Good Energy immediately.
Who do I call if there is a power outage?
Even if you participate in the program, ACE or PSE&G will still provide delivery service, and will still be responsible for service reliability and restoration. If the lights go out, you should still call ACE at (800) 833-7476 or PSE&G at (800) 436-PSEG (7734). Nothing changes.
Who is Good Energy?
Good Energy L.P is the independent energy consultant that has been hired by the municipality to help conduct the bid and administer the program.
Will I still be able to receive budget billing (Equal Payment Plan)?
Yes. If you currently have a budget billing plan with ACE or PSE&G, the selected supplier is required to provide you with an equal payment plan for your power supply charges. ACE or PSE&G will continue to bill a levelized amount each month for delivery service, and ConEdison Solutions and TriEagle Energy will bill a levelized amount each month (through the ACE or PSE&G bill) for power supply. Because the selected suppliers’ contract prices for power supply are lower than the ACE or PSE&G prices for power supply, your total monthly budget amount (sum of monthly ACE or PSE&G delivery service budget amount and TriEagle Energy/ConEdison Solutions budget amount for power supply) should be reduced. You may experience a “true-up” on your bill from ACE or PSE&G prior to enrollment, and then again at the end of the contract.
What happens at the end of the municipality’s contract with the supplier?
There is no automatic rollover. If the municipality decides to continue the program, it will conduct a new competitive bid for a new contract, and you will be advised of the new contract. If the municipality discontinues the program, you will simply be returned to ACE or PSE&G power supply at the ACE or PSE&G tariff prices.
What if I have a solar system?
Customers with solar systems, especially those that are larger in size, typically result in solar production in some months exceeding your monthly electric consumption. In such cases, the monthly utility bill is usually very low.
For these customers, the savings attributable to the GEA program would be very minimal. It is for this reason that the Townships and Borough elected to remove solar customers from the GEA supply contract. However, if you believe, based upon a review of your past bills, that your solar system is NOT producing excess energy that is being ‘banked’ on your ACE or PSE&G bill, you may consider opting-in to the GEA program. You are encouraged to contact the selected supplier, or ACE or PSE&G for further information.
Will the LIHEAP and Lifeline benefit programs for low income residents still apply if I participate in the GEA?
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is federally funded program, administered by the Dept. of Community Affairs, to assist low income households with paying their heating bills (whether electric, gas, oil, etc.). There is no impact on LIHEAP customer eligibility if you participate in the GEA program. Lifeline or Universal Service programs are state funded through State taxes and societal benefits charges, again, with eligibility based upon a number of factors tied to income. Bill credits of up to $225 are provided to assist eligible customers with electric and gas utility bills. The GEA provides consolidated billing through the utility; as such, the bill credits will be unaffected.
How do I obtain more information?
Program details are provided in the Program Summary enclosed with this package. Information on the program, including more detailed FAQs, may be found on the municipality’s website at: www.glotwp.com. You may also contact ConEdison Solutions, TriEagle Energy, or Good Energy using the contact information provided in the Program Summary enclosed in this information package.