The Town of Tuxedo is entering the initial phase of Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA, a state program that allows several municipalities to choose a single energy supplier, aiming for cheaper, cleaner sources of electricity.
“I like to explain it to people as a bulk buying program for electricity supply,” said Michelle Lindsay, town deputy supervisor and member of the Tuxedo Climate Smart Community Task Force. Lindsay and other community members formed the task force in late 2019 to help Tuxedo become a Climate Smart Community, a state program that provides funding toward environmentally friendly laws and decision making.
“We’re doing it because each municipality is looking for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change,” Lindsay said.
To become certified, the town must complete 120 action items listed on the program’s website, with CCA as an option. A municipality could seek a CCA without other Climate Smart certification efforts, but both programs are often pursued together.
“I’m pretty sure that you can pursue it independently, but it’s pretty common for municipalities to do it as part of Climate Smart,” said Gmelch, a member of the town’s task force.
Once the town of Tuxedo is ready, they and other municipalities can form a consortium under Joule Community Power. This state energy company seeks out energy suppliers and provides each town with several choices. Once a supplier is chosen, the company reaches out to residents and small business owners of each and gives them the choice to sign up.
“They will send a letter to every eligible resident and small business to let them know about it and provide information on their choice and how to opt out if they want. Each resident and small business can decide ‘Nah, even though the town’s going for it, we decided we’re not going to participate,” Lindsay said.
Since Tuxedo is still in the process, the supplier has yet to be chosen, but the choices will be either green energy sources or a mix between green and renewable. Aside from minimizing emissions, the choice may reduce electricity costs for residents and small businesses.
“There’s no estimate yet...the town of Tuxedo’s goal is to provide a reliable, fixed-rate source of renewable energy that will save money for consumers,” Lindsay said.