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New Proposal By Paulin Allows Westchester Cities To Purchase Electricity

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The New York State Public Service Commission accepted a proposal, initiated by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88), that will usher in the state's first community choice aggregation program that will allow cities to buy electricity locally and more cost-effectively by opting to purchase natural gas or electricity through a single-energy services company  under one contract.

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) could allow a municipality to choose to use a single-energy services company that would provide most, if not all clean energy as power, or one based on the best price. Paulin’s bill would allow municipalities to do that in Westchester County.

Sustainable Westchester approached Paulin in 2013 with the initial concept for a New York-based CCA program. The foundation for Paulin's bill was laid at this meeting while a goal of enabling municipalities to have a choice of whether to purchase their electricity and gas from traditional providers, the utility or to bypass their utility and source power from local providers was established.

“Quite simply this would not have happened without Amy Paulin,” said Mike Gordon, co-chair of Sustainable Westchester and chief executive officer of Joule Assets. "The Public Service Commission put this on their agenda immediately after Amy's bill hit the Governor's desk. The PSC's prime objection to the bill was that they wanted to open the opportunity statewide. They did that, and Amy achieved her objective: empowering communities in Westchester and beyond.”

Paulin’s bill contributed to galvanizing interest in CCA and it also allowed Sustainable Westchester to use the content created in the bill for their New York State Public Service Commission proposal. The Westchester demonstration project was granted swift approval from the PSC as a result of two years of sustained efforts.

If the demonstration pilot works well in Westchester, it will be a model for statewide action, led by the PSC or legislation.

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