Two years ago, five Essex County municipalities - Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange and Verona - formed the Sustainable Essex Alliance (SEA) to promote high quality green energy and reduce the cost of electricity for our residents. In March 2019, the SEA awarded a 17-month cooperative energy contract to Direct Energy Services to supply cheaper and greener electricity to thousands of residential customers in the five towns. Leveraging the purchasing power of these communities was a success. The SEA’s energy consultant, Gabel Associates, estimated that in the first 12 months of the program the aggregate savings for the participating residents in the five towns was nearly $1.9 million: Glen Ridge = $192,000; Maplewood = $380,000; Montclair = $684,000; South Orange = $348,000; and Verona = $253,000. In addition, Direct Energy supplied a power product with double the amount of renewable energy content required of PSE&G and it was composed of Class 1 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
The current contract with Direct Energy ends in December 2020, so SEA began the process of soliciting new bids for Round 2 of the cooperative energy program. SEA also added Glen Rock and Livingston to its membership, bringing the total Round 2 towns to seven and increasing the number of households by about 10,000.
On September 15th, SEA received price proposals for the next 12 to 24 months from four energy firms. Disappointingly, the proposals did not meet the SEA pricing criteria relative to the PSE&G rates. SEA’s goal of providing cheaper rates and greener energy than PSE&G could not be met with the proposed prices. Therefore, the SEA has rejected all four bids and will not be entering Round 2 at this time.
What to expect in January 2021
At the conclusion of the Direct Energy contract in December 2020, customers will once again receive their electric supply from PSE&G. There will be no charge for the switch to PSE&G and the switch will be automatic without any action required by customers. Prior to December you will receive a form letter from PSE&G informing you that Direct Energy will no longer be your electric source. Again you need to take no action.
Expect Solicitations from Energy Providers
As you may have previously, you are likely to again receive solicitation phone calls and letters directly from 3rd party suppliers offering green energy and different electric rates. Be aware that these solicitations are not associated with the Sustainable Essex Alliance, are not leveraging the purchasing power of your municipality and may not include high quality renewable energy sources.
Thank you for participating in Round 1 of the SEA energy cooperative. The SEA will solicit bids in the future when the market becomes more favorable. The SEA is committed to advancing green energy and using its marketing strength to obtain cheaper rates of electricity for the residents in the seven participating municipalities.
For Further Information
South Orange residents with questions should contact Walter Clarke, Village Trustee, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 973-723-1642.