ROXBURY, NJ – Township officials continue to squabble over a proposal that would cut electricity costs for Roxbury residents by having the town participate in an “energy aggregation” program.
A divided township Mayor and Council on Tuesday rejected an ordinance that would have been the first step toward Roxbury participating in the program. The only members of the panel voting in favor of the measure were Roxbury Councilman Richard Zoschak and Roxbury Councilman Dan Kline.
Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo was absent from the meeting.
Kline and Zoschak, along with Roxbury Councilwoman Jaki Albrecht, were members of a council sub-committee that studied the idea last year. The main proponent of energy aggregation has been Kline – the council’s sole Democrat.
He gave a presentation about it six months ago, telling his colleagues that “based on current market conditions, individual accounts can potentially save 12 percent off their entire bill (and) … 17 percent or more off the supply portion” of their bill.
Feet Get Colder
At the time, the council appeared to like what was being offered, but the intervening months have seen that apparent enthusiasm wane for various reasons.
A number of residents attending council meetings have accused the delay on politics, suggesting the Republicans on the panel (other than Zoschak) do not want to get behind something championed by a Democrat. Kline is up for re-election in November and is being challenged by Republican Thomas Carey.
DeFillippo, and most of the other GOP council members, insist politics is not behind their reticence. They say they are just being cautious about proceeding because they want to be sure doing so does not have any hidden drawbacks for residents.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee and Roxbury Councilman Mark Crowley argued the hardest against the ordinance, asserting they didn’t like the wording of the measure - written by Roxbury Township Attorney Anthony Bucco. They said the language seemed to lock-in Roxbury to proceeding down the energy aggregation road.
In exchanges with Rilee and Crowley that became heated, Kline said the men were wrong. He said the ordinance only would have allowed energy aggregation purveyors to gain access to data about Roxbury, information necessary for them to provide accurate price quotes. He said it in no way would have committed the township to taking any action.
The proposal will likely be again on the council’s agenda when the panel meets June 25. A slightly altered ordinance is expected to be presented for introduction at that time.
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