'Good Energy' Proposed For Newton

Carolyn Cantrell, and Phil Carr, of Good Energy, address the council. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Karen Hardin Kitchel addresses the council about the disruptive properties in town. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller

NEWTON, NJ - Some "Good Energy" may come to Newton, in terms of potential savings on residents' electric bills. 

Good Energy touts itself as an "objective energy management consultant" on its website, one which indicates it has a focus on saving customers money, and through municipal aggregation, as one of its money-savings options. Two representatives of the company, Phil Carr, and Carolyn Cantrell, presented about their programs to the town council and public on Monday night, April 8.
"There is no easier way for Newton Township (sic) to save their residents $400,000 or more, than in energy aggregation," Carr told the council.
He said savings come through the power of group purchasing, and also as a way to create a trust for residents, who he said may be inundated by 67 different electricity suppliers, which propose residents will reap savings by switching to their companies. New Jersey residents can switch their electric supplier, as an option under New Jersey's energy deregulation law. For many Sussex County residents, JCP&L is the delivery company, and would remain so, yet residents can choose the third-party supplier.

"Government energy aggregation is the best offer residents can have," Carr said. "You can go out to bid with 3,000 households at a time."
If the Town of Newton did decide to go ahead with the program, Carr said, "You are going to create an additional choice for your residents."
Carr claimed a savings of over $18 million a year, for 500,000 households.
"You are going to get the best price for the best contract, and you don't have to do it if you don't want to," said Carr.
Carr said Good Energy has spoken to many communities regarding their program, including Sparta and Vernon. Carr said an interested municipality would need to draft an ordinance to participate.
Deputy mayor Joe Ricciardo asked if several municipalities could enter into the program together, which Carr replied bundling could be a possibility.
In other business:
Newton's 2013 municipal budget was unanimously approved by council, and no resident or business owner commented on it during the public hearing. The Alternative Press reported on the town's two budget workshops here and here. As previously reported, this year's capital budget is $11.6 million. Newton Town Manager Thomas S. Russo, Jr., presented his annual report to the council and citizens. Both Newton Mayor Sandra Diglio, and Ricciardo complimented Russo and those involved with the town, especially in department head capacities, for their efforts on keeping the budget low. Ricciardo was outspoken about the increase in the school budget, which he said undercut Russo's efforts. The board of education, accounts for almost 51 percent of the budget, versus the town's nearly 35 percent. 
Resident Karen Hardin Kitchel spoke up during the first public session, about the situation with the rooming houses and boarding houses in town, and the disruptive property ordinances, after reading an article about the last meeting. (Click here to read The Alternative Press' report from the last meeting). Hardin Kitchel inquired if a boarding house could be turned into a "step down center," for those leaving Newton Medical Center. She explained how her daughter has battled mental illness, and drug issues. Hardin Kitchel said a "step down center," does not currently exist. She said she has raised "so much money for the town," in past fundraising efforts for various groups, and said, "I will pay for 50 police officers." She said she is thankful to the town for their efforts in addressing the topic. "I love this town with all my heart, I thank God for all the police officers." Russo said at the next council meeting on Apr. 22, the council would be discussing the ordinance further, which would hold landlords accountable for the actions of their tenants. He explained to Hardin Kitchel, "We're addressing broader issues in town." Hardin Kitchel said she would return for the upcoming meeting.

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