The Paterson City Council on Tuesday tabled a resolution that would have tagged the city into a county energy aggregation program called the Passaic County Energy Cooperative which would have reduced the rates for residents.
However, there is yet a cooperative setup; the county is merely fishing around to lump municipalities together to get the program started, and the city with its large population seems to be an attractive prospect.
It is guessed that only Wayne and Haledon have joined the program, while the rest of the municipalities in the county have remained on the sidelines. “There is only one other community that has joined the co-op,” said Stefano Loretto, a consultant for GoodEnergy, pointing to the township of Wayne.
On the agenda was a resolution that sought to put the city into the cooperative, which would have left GoodEnergy without any business. For the past weeks representatives for the company attended meetings seeking to shed light on the details of the county program and informing officials of their alternative: the city going its own route without the county. “What we are asking for is an opportunity for RFQ [request for quotation],” said Loretto.
Loretto has often said that the city does not need to join any cooperatives because it already has a large enough population to demand reduced prices from suppliers. He also pointed out that with a county program the city would relinquish control over its energy provider, however if it runs its own it will have full control, he said.
With a county program the city merely joins and does not have to do anything else: it simply passes a resolution joining the program and that produces savings. Usually, elected officials, are put in power to deliberate and judge between different options to determine what is in the best interest of the community.
“I have heard nothing so far that this would be the preferred option for Paterson,” said William McKoy, the 3rd Ward councilman, about the county program. There is nothing other than the off-the-top percentage that has been presented to the council to base the decision upon.
GoodEnergy said its fees are about .00015-percent per a kilowatt; Concord Engineering or Concord Energy Services has stated its rate was .0020-percent. There is a big difference between the two rates, which is one of the issues McKoy defended, saying why should the council knowingly opt for a more expensive option when it is getting the same product – both firms are peddling electricity. No one knows the actual kilowatt price each company will be able to obtain from an energy auction which will not take place until one or the other is selected.
Julio Tavarez, the 5th Ward councilman, opposed McKoy’s argument, asserting that this discussion has been taking place since spring, and a decision has to be made. He complained over the city being unable to progress because most measures, like the energy aggregation program, take too long for the council to decide upon. “That’s the reason why Paterson isn’t moving forward,” said Tavarez. “All the other cities are moving forward while Paterson is stuck.”
Consultants from both parties have stated numerous times that residents can opt-out of the program whenever they like, and with the county program the city can opt-out likewise, anytime it wants.
“My concern is that this has been postponed, and when we come back in two weeks I’m sure the same arguments will be made,” said Andre Sayegh, the 6th Ward councilman, who sponsored the resolution. “It would be like groundhog day,” said Sayegh.
The resolution has been tabled for a future date.