News10NBC Investigates: Henrietta residents being rolled into community energy program
HENRIETTA, N.Y. — Henrietta is the next big town in Monroe County to automatically roll-over its residents into a Community Choice Aggregation program. A Customer’s electric will still be delivered by RG&E, but it will be supplied by Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.
Paula Zack has lived in Henrietta for 20 years, “I moved there because I worked at RIT, so I wanted to live closer to where I worked,” she tells News10NBC. Recently, she got an automated call referencing her energy. “They said that there’s a new plan coming and if you want it, well, you’re automatically in it basically,” she recalls.
Community choice aggregation programs are growing in popularity. Basically, RG&E still delivers the electric but an outside supplier buys and sells it to customers at a fixed rate within towns that sign up. “Part of the deal, though, is that all eligible customers in those towns are rolled over into the program unless they specifically opt out.“ People ask … ‘why didn’t you make the default be the opt-out,’ well, because that’s not how the program works by state law,” explains Henrietta Supervisor Steve Schultz.
The program in Henrietta doesn’t just roll you into the best fixed rate that the supplier can offer. It rolls you into a program where at least half of your supply comes from a renewable source, like solar or wind— which costs more.
Currently, RG&E’s Standard Electric Supply rate is $.071/kWh.
Under the new 50% renewable supply option, which will be the default, customers in Henrietta will pay $.092/kWh.
Customers who want a 100% renewable option can lock-in a rate of $.101/kWh.
The town says it didn’t have the option to roll everyone into a conventional option, only a renewable one. “Do we not do the program or do we do it going into the blended and we just do a really big educational campaign, and that’s what we’ve decided to do,” Shultz explains of the reasoning.
Residential and small-commercial electric customers will be automatically enrolled in the 50% renewable supply product beginning Sept. 1, 2023. The $.092/kWh fixed-rate will last through Nov. 30, 2025. You may opt out at any time with no fee or penalty.
Zack has decided to opt out. For now, she’ll stick with RG&E as her supplier, “I’ve lost a lot of confidence in them in terms of their billing situation, but I think I’d rather dance with the devil I know than the one that I don’t at this moment,” she says.
Those who don’t opt out before August 9, 2023, will be enrolled with Constellation NewEnergy under the CCA program.