Coming this fall: Rochester Community Power renewable energy program
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester will be the largest city in New York state to establish a community choice aggregation (CCA) program to power your homes or businesses with a new program called Rochester Community Power.
If you got a letter in the mail from the City of Rochester about it, it means you are already a part of the program. It’s important to note, however, that it is your choice to opt out.
The people behind the plan said Rochester Community Power is an opportunity for people to access renewable energy at a competitive rate.
The city picked Joule Community Power to administer the program and partnered with Constellation NewEnergy, which is an energy solutions provider, and Roctricity, which is the local firm leading the program.
It’s all focused on tapping into renewable energy in Rochester.
“So, it’s really, really important to think about your utility bill," Roctricity partner Susan Hughes-Smith said. "Most of us have electricity costs which are delivery costs, and that goes to RG&E, and those are not affected by this program, so like two-thirds of your electricity bill is not affected by this program.”
Hughes-Smith said the program will focus on the electricity supply, which is the actual electrons.
Residential and small commercials customers will pay under 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.
“So, if you want to support renewable energy and you’re okay with the 0.058 cents per kilowatt-hour, that’s what this program is offering,” Hughes-Smith said. “Other people have gas charges in their utility bill. This has nothing to do with your gas charges, okay? So, it’s just a very small piece of your overall utility bill."
Hughes-Smith said it’s all a choice like New Yorkers have had for years through energy service companies or ESCOs.
“People have had the choice in New York state to find their own ESCO for years, and only about 15% of people bothered to even look,” Hughes-Smith said. “So, when they created this program, in order to get the scale of aggregation and influence the market, they decided to design it as an opt-out program.
She said even if many do decide to opt-out, Constellation Energy has committed to the renewable rate price regardless of how many people stay in.
“By influencing the market through our purchasing or renewable electricity, it should, over the long term, encourage more development and bring the cost down for more renewable electricity,” Hughes-Smith said.
If you didn’t get a letter in the mail, it means you’re probably not eligible.
“So, some folks like if they are on HEAP or some other utility assistance program, the rules of the Public Service Commission don’t allow them to be included,” Hughes-Smith said.
Click here to read the letter the City of Rochester sent to residents.
Roctricity will hold two more public information sessions about the program via Zoom — one on July 13 at 7 p.m. and the other on July 14 at noon.
To opt out of the program, you can return the enclosed opt-out reply card by July 30, call the Rochester Community Power hotline at (585) 244-0244, or visit rochestercommunitypower.com to submit your information. If you have questions about the program, email email@example.com.