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LIPA Energy Choice Bill Clears a Hurdle

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 12:16

Legislation to facilitate the development of a community choice aggregation program in the Long Island Power Authority's service territory has passed the New York State Assembly and Senate, and will be sent to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his signature. Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who sponsored the legislation, announced its passage in the Assembly last Thursday and in the Senate on Monday. 

Community choice aggregation, or C.C.A., allows a local government to procure electricity and/or natural gas on behalf of its residents, businesses, and municipal accounts from a provider other than the incumbent utility. In a C.C.A. program, a municipality enters into contracts with energy service companies (ESCOs), for power supply purchase options within its jurisdiction. Options include power produced through 100-percent-renewable sources, power produced through nonrenewable sources, or a blend.

The East Hampton Town Board passed legislation enabling a C.C.A. program last year, following the same action by the Towns of Southampton, Brookhaven, and Hempstead. 

The New York State Public Service Commission authorized C.C.A. programs in 2016. However, its initial order did not fully account for the complexities of LIPA's service territory and rate structure. The commission is now in the process of exploring how this program could work for Long Islanders, Mr. Thiele said, but there are still concerns around the current proposal, specifically LIPA's rules and regulations with respect to C.C.A., which are delaying the process.

"Long Islanders deserve to have the same access to greener and more affordable energy as other ratepayers across the state," Mr. Thiele said in a statement announcing the bill's passage in the Assembly. "Several localities on Long Island have expressed an interest in participating in C.C.A. programs, with three of our local East End towns already passing the necessary legislation to do so. These municipalities should be allowed to proceed."

 

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