Government officials are set to decide next week whether they want Paterson to join the Passaic County Electric and Gas Cooperative. The cooperative so far consists of Haledon, and according to Vicki Molloy, vice president of Concord Energy Services, Wayne is set to join within the next few days.
The cooperative is estimated to save each resident more than $135 annually in electric bills. “That’s not a lot,” said Ruby Cotton, the 4th Ward councilwoman on Tuesday. With 43,640 households in the city, according to the United States Census Bureau, the savings could be as much as $5,891,400 city-wide annually.
Good Energy, a New York based firm that does consulting for energy aggregation, says the city could have savings of $150-$200 per household if it chooses them. The consultant makes money by taking a tiny percentage from the per kilowatt rate: Good Energy says its fee is about .00015-percent, while the fees of the cooperative is .0020-percent.
“Fee is coming out of the saving,” said Stefano Loretto, a consultant with Good Energy.
The saving come after a consulting group goes to a virtual auction to change the city’s energy supplier from Public Service Enterprise Group or PSEG to another provider. Concord Engineering or Concord Energy Services, a consultancy, is pushing the county cooperative and has been lobbying the council to opt-in with the county rather than go on its own.
The city with its large population can demand better pricing by the sheer size of its purchasing power, something that other towns in the county cannot do. John Fish, a representative of Concord Energy Services, informed the council in Woodland Park earlier in the month, that his company would not be interested in doing a program in that town without 30,000 to 150,000 residents.
“Paterson participating in this is very important for the other communities,” said Molloy. If the city participates in the cooperative it results in lower rate for the entire county not just for Patersonians. That comment received a sarcastic response from a council member. “We really want to help Woodland Park,” said Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman. “They’ve been a great neighbor to us.” That town is known for setting up motor vehicle check-points targeting city residents.
“Paterson does not need to buy with anybody else,” said Loretto. “When you join a co-op you lose the decision making power.” The county makes the determinations for the city, if the city joins the cooperative.
“At the end of the day it benefits the smaller communities much more than us,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large. “I think we’re large enough to stand on our own.” Morris, who said the surrounding communities have done nothing but mistreat residents of the city, suggested the city go on its own rather than join the cooperative.
Both consulting firms, none of which are energy suppliers, have said that if the auction is unable to beat the prevailing electricity rate, the current provider will be left. Residents, after being automatically opted into the program, will be provided with information on opting-out regardless of which way the city decides to venture.