PISCATAWAY, NJ – As Piscataway officials move forward with plans to comply with terms of the energy bulk purchase referendum that passed at the November 2019 general election, a letter was recently sent to PSEG residential account holders stating that having higher percentages of renewable sources of electricity might not reduce the rates paid for service as some expect.
According to Mayor Brian C. Wahler in the February 20 letter:
“On the November 2019 ballot, Piscataway voters passed a referendum requiring the Township to create the Piscataway Community Energy Aggregation (PCEA) program to purchase electricity in bulk for residents. Specifically, the referendum requires at least 30 percent of the electricity supply in 2020 to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The percentage increases over time such as 50 percent in 2024 and 100 percent in 2035.
Please know that neither the mayor nor the township council placed this referendum on the ballot. Food & Water Watch, an international progressive organization, and its local supporters circulated petitions to do so. Under state law, once enough signatures were gathered, the only options were to enact the measure or let voters decide, so the latter was chosen. As a result of the referendum’s passage, the township is required to run a competitive bid process in order to contract with a state-certified, eligible third-party energy supply company. The township is now undergoing this process with the assistance of a consultant that helps facilitate energy aggregation programs.
It is laudable to move away from fossil fuel use. However, claims by the measure’s advocates that prices for electricity with a higher percentage of renewable energy content would be lower than PSE&G’s Basic Generation Service rates are not guaranteed. More information on rates will be made available in the near future. At that time, eligible PSE&G account holders will receive a letter sent by a third-party energy supply company on behalf of the township thoroughly detailing the program. Recipients will have 30 days from the postmark on the letter to opt out of the program, should they not wish to participate, simply by signing and sending back the enclosed postage-paid opt-out reply card. There are no penalties to opt out of the program. Those who stay in the program may leave at any time without any early termination fees or penalties.
Meanwhile, the township will maintain our own strong efforts in going greener. For example, currently, 25 percent of the electricity purchased by the Township for government use comes from renewable sources – and this does not include our use of solar panels. We will also have electric vehicle charging stations at our community center when it opens as well as new commercial facilities. For more information about the Piscataway Community Energy Aggregation program, please visit www.PiscatawayCEA.com.”
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