After its first-ever auction on June 15, the Burlington County, New Jersey, Board of Freeholders has reached an agreement with Texas-based TriEagle Energy that will provide electric ratepayers in ten local towns participating in an Energy Aggregation Program with a 14-month fixed rate that is lower than the rates currently offered by all three of the area’s three utilities – Atlantic City Electricity, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), and Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G)
The voluntary Energy Aggregation Plan – with the potential to substantially decrease utility costs for the county’s residential, commercial, and industrial ratepayers – was first announced almost exactly two years ago, in June 2014.
“Combined, this means a total savings for residents of more than $2.8 million.” Freeholder Mary Ann O’Brien told the Burlington County Times. The estimate is the total amount that all customers combined would save in the 14-month period if all rates stayed the same.
Municipalities participating in the aggregation program include Burlington City, Cinnaminson, Florence, Lumberton, Moorestown, Palmyra, Riverside, Southampton, Woodland and Wrightstown. The program was made available to all towns within the county – which is the largest in the Garden State, with population of about 450,000.
The program will go into effect in September, with participating residents expected to see savings in their October bills.
“I am pleased to announce that this process has enabled us to obtain real savings for our residents,” O’Brien told the news outlet. “Customers of Jersey Central Power & Light will recognize a savings of at least 20 percent over their current rate, with customers of PSE&G recognizing a savings of at least 5 percent and Atlantic City Electric customers seeing a savings of at least 13 percent, for an average of more than 12 percent in savings over 14 months.”
The savings are based off current per-kilowatt hours (kWh) of all three distributors, compared with TriEagle’s supply rate for those distributors.
PSE&G’s rate is currently about 12.6 cents/kWh, compared with TriEagle’s rate of about 11.9 cents for PSE&G customers. JCP&L’s is about 11 cents/kWh, compared with TriEagle’s rate of about 8.8 cents for JCP&L customers. Atlantic City Electric’s is about 10.1 cents/kWh, compared with TriEagle’s 8.8 cents for Atlantic City Electric’s customers.
TriEagle’s rates will not change for the 14-month period. However, the three distributors’ supply rates can change. If they ever go lower than TriEagle’s rates, customers will automatically be switched back to JCP&L, PSE&G or Atlantic City Electric.
“One of the great things about this program is that, by law, it must offer our residents the lowest available rate,” O’Brien said. “This means that if at any time the default utility rate were to fall below the rate we received at auction, participating residents would receive that lower rate. That way, the savings are guaranteed.
“This will help to decrease the ever-growing cost of utilities, an issue particularly important to those on a fixed income.”
Residents in the participating towns are automatically opted into the Energy Aggregation Program, although they can contact their distributor and opt out of the program and go back to their current rate or the rate of a third-party supplier.
Residents’ electric bills will continue to come from their current distributors. The Energy Aggregation Program only changes the supply side.
In addition, Atlantic City Electric, JCP&L, and PSE&G will continue to be responsible for maintenance of power lines and wires, as well as the distribution of energy.
“As we begin to implement this cost-saving Energy Aggregation Program, we will continue to reach out to our residents to ensure that they fully understand this opportunity and to answer any questions that they may have. Residents in participating municipalities can expect to receive information from us through newsletters, town hall meetings and much more,” O’Brien said. “But the bottom line is that this is a real and exciting chance to put money back where it belongs, in the pockets of hardworking Burlington County residents.”
Municipalities that don’t currently participate will have a chance to do so in the next auction, which will most likely take place at the end of the 14-month period.