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    Saugerties village officials cautious about potential electricity deal

    March 21, 2023 - William J. Kemble


      SAUGERTIES, N.Y. — Village officials expect to participate in a community choice aggregate program for electricity purchases but are encouraging organizers to avoid reaching a deal with an unreliable provider after Columbia Utilities terminated a deal with 10 municipalities in 2022.

      Glenn Weinberg, vice president of program administrator Joule Assets, said during a Village Board meeting on Monday that initial bids without the final price figures were expected to be reviewed Wednesday.

      "We're expecting … bids from three very established suppliers," he said. "It's not just the balance sheet that's important but (they're) also very experienced. They have all served several community choice aggregation programs."

      When kidded that Columbia Utilities should not be one of the companies, Weinberg laughed with some uncertainty and responded by saying, "You're trying to give me post-traumatic stress."

      Columbia Utilities last year was forced by the New York Independent System Operator to cease operations due to a failure to meet creditworthiness, resulting in 23,000 customers being sent back to Central Hudson as the default electricity provider.

      Under community choice aggregate programs, the municipality becomes the default electricity provider for residential and business customers. Customers can then opt out of the program and return to Central Hudson or choose another provider.

      The town and village of Saugerties are expected to be joined in the Hudson Valley Community Power Group by the cities of Beacon and Poughkeepsie, the towns of Clinton, Marbletown, Philipstown, New Paltz, and Red Hook, and the villages of Cold Spring and New Paltz. However, the municipalities won't have to make a decision until the electricity price is submitted during the first week of April.

      "We asked for suppliers to give us pricing (for) between … one and five years," Weinberg said.

      He added that the said the bids are expected to include options for electricity from renewable and conventional as well as a price range that make them competitive with Central Hudson.

      "Pricing is the big one, of course, but there's different ways the bids might be distinguished from one another," he said. "It could be term, it could be product, it could be type."


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