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Township encourages Residents to explore HMGP Elevation Funding

Deadline to apply for grant funding for home elevation arrives September 15th

(Cape May Court House)—Middle Township Mayor Dan Lockwood is encouraging township residents to pursue a grant funding opportunity that allows residents to elevate their primary homes. The special grant program enacted by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration will expire on September 15th, 2013.

“We want to make sure that Middle Township residents know about this grant program and take this opportunity to elevate their homes to mitigate potential flooding during future storms”, Mayor Lockwood said. “The State would like to see more participation from Cape May County homeowners. This program is a perfect opportunity for residents who wish to take a proactive measure to reduce their risk of flood damage”.

Earlier this year, Governor Christie launched a $100 million grant program to assist homeowners with elevating their primary, single-family residences. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Elevation Program provides up to $30,000 of reimbursement for eligible property owners. This elevation will both lower the risk of flood damage and reduce flood insurance premiums. This grant program is financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The grant program is limited to homes located in the 100-year floodplain in nine counties that were heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. Primary, single-family homes must have been owned and occupied by the owner at the time of Hurricane Sandy. Applications to the program will be prioritized by flooding risk and by the level of Sandy-related damage. There are no income requirements, registration with FEMA is not required, and homes that did not suffer any damage during Hurricane Sandy are eligible.

Interested Middle Township property owners have until Sunday, September 15th, 2013 to apply for a grant. Applications are being taken online at www.renewjerseystronger.org; by calling 1-855-SANDYHM; or in person at a Housing Recovery Center. Members of the public may learn more information about this grant program during an information meeting to be held on Monday, September 9th, at 6:00pm at the Lower Township Municipal Hall, 2600 Bayshore Road, Villas, NJ.

Township encourages Residents to explore HMGP Elevation Funding 2018-05-27T19:37:36+00:00

Middle Township Reorganizes Facilities Management

TOWNSHIP TO ENJOY BIG SAVINGS WITH FACILITY MANAGEMENT CHANGES

Township to save over $169,000 annually by privatizing facilities management, janitorial services

(Cape May Court House)—The Middle Township Committee has moved forward with a plan to save taxpayers over $169,000 annually by consolidating and privatizing its facilities management and janitorial services. The reorganization in these services results in the elimination of a Project and Facilities Manager position while also privatizing janitorial services.

“We continue to review and reorganize our Township departments in order to provide a better level of services while saving significant taxpayers’ dollars”, said Middle Township Deputy Mayor Tim Donohue. “This reorganization is part of our review of all facets of government as we try to get a bigger bang for the buck while also soliciting new sources of grants and non-traditional revenue”.

Deputy Mayor Donohue announced that both Administrator Connie Mahon and Public Works Director Rob Flynn will both assume additional responsibilities and provide oversight of Township facilities and ongoing projects. Janitorial services have been awarded to a private contractor at an annual cost of $16,900.

“Public buildings will be cleaned twice per week and our Department of Public Works will assume some other responsibilities including setting up for meetings and other day to day tasks”, Donohue said. “It’s another example of how the Township can maintain or improve the level of services by considering alternate solutions”.

The reorganization of the Township’s janitorial services and facilities management will eliminate over $186,000 of salary, wages, and benefits from the Township budget on a recurring basis.

The Middle Township Committee continues to review and evaluate all departments and job duties in Township government in order to improve the level of services while saving taxpayers’ dollars. Recently, Middle Township has refinanced sewer debt, assigned sewer billing to the Tax Collector’s Office, consolidated the offices of the Municipal Clerk and Municipal Registrar, and has conducted an in-house property reassessment.

Township officials have also been successful in securing nearly $1 million in grants for various projects in 2013, including $582,000 in county open space funding for the Ockie Wisting Recreational Complex, a $300,000 state grant for the Township’s bike path project, and $48,000 in Clean Communities funding.

Middle Township Reorganizes Facilities Management 2014-01-07T14:12:46+00:00

Middle Township Streamlines New Business Development

New pre-application form creates initial dialogue between new businesses, township

(Cape May Court House)—Middle Township has created a new pre-application form for business owners who wish to operate in the township. The new form is one page, comes with no permit fee, and sets up an important dialogue between the operator of a new business and the township before the business takes important steps to operate in Middle Township.

“We are experiencing a great level of interest from new businesses that want to operate in Middle Township”, said Middle Township Mayor Dan Lockwood. “This new pre-application form encourages these businesses owners to begin a conversation with the township before they purchase property, sign a lease, buy necessary equipment, and other important decisions that result in a successful business operation in Middle Township”.

The new pre-application form was created by Middle Township Technical Assistance Construction Official Susan Copson, with input from Middle Township Planner Elizabeth Terenik and the Middle Township Economic Development Council. The form includes basic contact information including the owner of the new business, proposed number of parking space, square footage of retail space, address, and contact information.

Once the pre-application form is completed, it will be reviewed by the zoning and construction office for compliance with zoning and construction issues. The new form will alert a potential business owner to any major issues which will save the owner both time and money while creating a positive dialogue with township officials. Many of the potential issues that come with new business development can be corrected very early in the development process.

“This is a proactive, business-friendly approach to furthering responsible business development that makes sense for Middle Township”, Mayor Lockwood said. “Our goal is to create a clear and sensible path for potential business owners. Too many times, it seems like there is one hurdle after another that can waste precious time and money in the development process. This form will help avoid some of the common pitfalls in the process and ensure that both our Zoning and Construction Offices are working from the same template. By starting this conversation on the right foot, we have a better chance of ensuring that new and improving businesses will enjoy a higher level of success and profitability in Middle Township”.

Middle Township Streamlines New Business Development 2018-05-27T19:37:36+00:00

Middle Township’s New Tax Bills Include Lower Levy Than 2011

Property owners can now pay their tax bills online

(Cape May Court House)—Middle Township will be issuing its 2013-’14 tax bills during the third week of July. These bills will reflect results of the recent property reassessment in Middle Township and a tax levy that is lower than the levy from 2011. Property owners now have the added convenience of paying their tax bills online at www.middletownship.com if they choose to do so.

“Township officials and department heads worked together and made some tough decisions to present a sensible budget that accomplished our goal of bending the cost curve of government downward and bringing in the levy significantly below the total raised in 2011”, said Middle Township Mayor Dan Lockwood. “There are not many communities in New Jersey who have been able to reduce the levy as the state’s municipalities continues to recover from a prolonged recession, cuts in state aid and falling property values.”

The Middle Township Tax Collector’s Office will have all new tax bills in the mail no later than Thursday, July 18th. The bills will include the next four quarters, with the 2013 3rd quarter tax bill due by August 1st. Property owners can return payment via mail or pay in person at the Tax Collector’s Office inside the Middle Township municipal building. Property owners also have a new added convenience of paying their property tax bills online on the township website.

Also included in the tax bills will be additional information regarding the upcoming Middle Township energy aggregation program and a graphic illustration on how tax bills are divided between the local municipal rate, school tax rate, county tax rate, and fire district rate. In Middle Township, 25.09% of the tax bill provides for all municipal services.

“Middle Township wants to ensure the distribution of 2013 tax dollars is as transparent as possible”, Donohue said. “Property owners will clearly and easily see how their tax dollars are used to provide essential services in our township. Despite the inflationary blow of a 35 percent increase in health insurance costs, the township was still able to reduce our tax levy compared to two years ago, while taking many proactive steps in order to save money going forward and operate the township in a prudent, responsible manner”.

The recent property revaluation Middle Township is reflected in the new tax bills. The amount of ratables were reduced by $330 million. During a revaluation, some properties lose value, others retain their value, while others increase in value. The average property value in Middle Township is $241,000; the typical Middle Township property owner will pay $1,094 in municipal taxes this year.

33 Mechanic Street, Cape May Court House, New Jersey / (609) 465-8732 / Fax: (609) 465-4459 www.middletownship.comThe Middle Township Committee has taken many proactive steps to reduce the tax levy in 2013 including: The aggressive pursuit of state and federal grants; restructuring/consolidation of township departments; new controls on the vehicle fleet; reduced energy costs through HVAC modernization; and a new energy auction to reduce the “supply” portion of the Township’s energy bills. On the near horizon are plans to offer cost saving options on tiered healthcare plans and a continuing commitment to a “pay as you go” policy on larger projects that will reduce the Township’s debt burden moving forward.

“We made a promise to the taxpayers that we would work hard to bring smart, right-sized and fiscally responsible government to Town Hall.”, Lockwood said. “Along with our dedicated employees, we are committed to keeping that promise.”

Middle Township’s New Tax Bills Include Lower Levy Than 2011 2018-05-27T19:37:37+00:00

Middle Township to Receive Funding Relating to Affordable Housing

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP TO RECEIVE OVER $1.4 MILLION FROM CONIFER

Township to be reimbursed for affordable housing, sewer connections, other costs

(Cape May Court House)—The Middle Township Committee voted unanimously 3-0 this week to approve an amendment to the developer’s agreement with Conifer Realty, LLC regarding two affordable housing developments that are planned for the township. As a result of the amendment to the agreement, the township will be reimbursed over $1.4 million in various funding following the 30th anniversary of the issuance of certificates of occupancy at those specific developments.

“This is a very significant agreement that was successfully negotiated between the township and Conifer Realty”, said Middle Township Mayor Dan Lockwood. “Conifer will now be responsible for all affordable housing funds and other associated fees relating to this project. The amendment to the 2012 agreement strikes a fair and equitable balance involving the township’s interests and commitment to taxpayers, and the developer’s interests in providing affordable housing in our community”.

The new agreement amends the developer’s agreement struck between Middle Township and Conifer Realty on July 17th, 2012. This new amendment requires Conifer to reimburse the township for all funds appropriated from the township’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as well as development fees to be accrued on proposed housing sites to be developed in Cape May Court House and Rio Grande. Sewer connection fees and various permit fees are involved in the amendment to the agreement.

“Essentially, Conifer Realty was granted the opportunity to bring affordable housing to Middle Township while using monies from our affordable housing trust fund”, said Middle Township Deputy Mayor Tim Donohue. “Thanks to the new negotiated agreement, this zero-interest loan will be repaid to the township and the developer will also be responsible for all other fees relating to this project. The result is quality affordable housing opportunities in Middle Township while also providing the township with a substantial repayment for the privilege of developing in our community”.

As part of the agreement, Conifer Realty will reimburse Middle Township $2,200 for each sewer connection, and $1,125 for each building permit. The township will receive reimbursement for the loan in a single balloon payment due and owing on the 30th anniversary of the issuance of the final certificate of occupancy for the projects.

Middle Township to Receive Funding Relating to Affordable Housing 2018-05-27T19:37:37+00:00

Presentation to the County Open Space Board – Ockie Wisting Recreational Site

(Cape May Court House)—Middle Township officials made their official presentation to the Cape May County Open Space Board on Tuesday, May 28th for funding associated with the development of the Ockie Wisting recreational site. The township is seeking $982,000 from the Cape May County Open Space program to assist in the creation of passive and active recreation opportunities available to residents and visitors. The property is located adjacent to Route 47 in the Rio Grande section of the township. Middle Township Planner Elizabeth Terenik assisted the township with its presentation before the board.

“Middle Township applauds the efforts of the county’s Open Space Board to expand the use of Open Space funding”, said Middle Township Mayor Tim Donohue. “On Tuesday, Middle Township made a compelling presentation on how the funds could assist the township in creating a recreational area that will be a recreational destination for locals and visitors while preserving open space and watershed protection”.

The proposed recreational opportunities at the site include a wildlife observation deck, boardwalk, and fishing pier at the pond area along with a gazebo and picnic area. Other improvements include a playground, two miles of various walking trails, five soccer fields, a regulation size disc golf course, fitness stations, interpretive signs, a stage for concerts and performances, a 1,600 square foot building, and a demonstration garden. The township’s application to the program would finance many of these enhancements at the Ockie Wisting recreational site.

“Middle Township received significant public input on this proposed plan which was adopted by the township’s planning board last month”, Donohue said. “Seven of the eight most requested recreational amenities requested by members of the public would be offered at this site. Many township boards and councils have offered letters of substantial support for this recreational project to move forward”.

The recreational development at the Ockie Wisting (formerly Fort Apache) site is estimated to cost $4.3 million. Middle Township will provide $2.245 million in matching funding for this project, while five agencies have pledged over $1 million in additional funding. Partnerships have been created with other entities including the Cape Express Soccer Club and the Cape May County Disc Golf Association to move this project forward.

If the township is successful with its application currently before the Cape May County Open Space Board, it intends to conduct final site plan, permits and approvals through February, 2014 with actual construction to occur between March-December, 2014.

Presentation to the County Open Space Board – Ockie Wisting Recreational Site 2014-01-07T14:13:15+00:00

Clean Communities Grant

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP RECEIVES LARGE CLEAN COMMUNITIES GRANT

(Cape May Court House)—The Christie Administration recently announced that Middle Township will be receiving a Clean Communities grant in the amount of $48,414.69. The grant will be used for various programs and initiatives in the township to remove litter from streets and neighborhoods.

“I want to thank the Christie administration for awarding an additional $2.3 million to New Jersey’s municipalities and counties for this essential program”, said Middle Township Mayor Dan Lockwood. “This large grant will continue our efforts in Middle Township to improve the quality of life and provide cleaner neighborhoods on a year-‘round basis”.

The Clean Communities grants are funded by legislated user fees on manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors that produce litter-generating products. Disbursements are made to municipalities based on the number of housing units and miles of municipally-owned roadways within each municipality.

Activities that are commonly funded by the grants include adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; public information and education programs; purchases of litter collection equipment, litter receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and supplies to remove graffiti.

For additional information regarding Middle Township’s efforts to maintain a clean community, please visit www.middletownship.com

Clean Communities Grant 2014-01-07T14:13:23+00:00

Government Energy Aggregation Program

 

  • Established under Government Energy Act of 2003 and amended in July 2012 to provide further details of how to run the program.
  • The program is supported by the Board of Public Utilities, Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Rate Counsel.
  • Allows for a Municipality to pool energy usage of all its residents to obtain lower rates than they can get individually and to PROTECT the ratepayer.
  • Service is still provided by the same local distribution company that provides service to you now. Example… Atlantic City Electric, PSEG or JCPL.
  • Residential ratepayers DO NOT have to be a part of the program.
  • Residential ratepayers can leave the program without ANY fees or penalties at any time.
  • Third Party Suppliers must adhere to contract guidelines spelled out in the Government  Act of 2003 and Title 14…NO FINE PRINT.
  • The rate will be obtained through an online reverse auction platform that has been approved for this purpose by the NJ Department of Community Affairs.
  • The rate in the contract will be fixed for the entire term of the contract, 12-18 months, and guaranteed not to change during that term.
  • Third Party Suppliers will still accept the terms of the Equal Payment Program.
  • The rate for anyone participating in the residential program will be known prior to the program beginning.
  • Residences will have the ability to participate in the program for their Electric usage or Gas usage, independently. You can take advantage of just electric, just gas, both electric and gas or neither electric nor gas.
  • The Third Party that is chosen will not have the ability to charge any penalties based on
  • historical usage or penalties for any other reason.
  • Participating in this program will not change the level of service you receive from your
  • local distribution company. (ACE, PSEG, JCPL)
  • If there is a power outage you will still contact ACE, PSEG or JCPL.
  • All Third Parties that have the opportunity to bid on the program will be licensed and
  • bonded with the NJ Board of Public Utilities and in good standing.
  • If you already purchase your energy through a third party supplier you will have the
  • opportunity to join this program. However, you must check with your current supplier to ensure there are not any fees or penalties to leave your existing contract. Neither the municipality nor the program administrator will be responsible for this.
  • The Program contracts will be renewed on a yearly basis and everyone will have the ability to participate in the program or opt-out each time the program renews.
  • To learn more got to www.njaggregation.us
Government Energy Aggregation Program 2018-05-27T19:37:37+00:00

Energy Aggregation Program FAQ’s

Government Energy Aggregation FAQ’s What is Government Energy Aggregation?

Government Energy Aggregation (GEA) is a program that came from the passing of the Government Energy Aggregation Act of 2003 by the New Jersey Legislature. This law gave municipalities and counties the ability to aggregate the energy usage of the residential and non- residential ratepayers in order to conduct a bulk bid or auction in order to attempt to get the lowest possible price at that given time in order to maximize the benefits of deregulation to the participants. These benefits include a lower utility cost and an increased number of suppliers to choose from within New Jersey. If a government entity, such as your municipality, chooses to establish this program on your behalf, an RFP will be sent to every Third Party Supplier in New Jersey that is licensed with the Board of Public Utilities. Your municipality is utilizing an independent Consultant to implement a procurement process for a Third Party Supplier to provide energy supply to its residents.

Why does a Municipality or County have the ability to aggregate the energy usage on behalf of its residents?

As stated above, with the passing of the Government Energy Aggregation Act of 2003, these government entities were given the ability to pool the energy usage of its ratepayers in order to drive down the costs for the supply of a specific energy source such as electricity and/or natural gas. This will allow these utility clients to take full advantage of energy deregulation the way it was intended when New Jersey passed the legislation in 1999 by becoming a “larger user” in the eyes of the Suppliers. When you buy in bulk, you tend to get a better price for the product. It is the same concept here. With energy deregulation, the “supply” and “distribution” portions of your bill were separated. With deregulation, the distribution portion remains with the same regulated utility that has always delivered your service through its pipes and wires. However, deregulation allows the supply portion to be in a competitive venue to potentially be able to get the energy at a lower cost than what the Local Distribution Company (A.C.E., PSEG, JCPL) provides it for. Basically, companies are now able to compete for your energy usage and you are able to choose who to buy it from. The 2003 law gave communities the ability to aggregate all of the residential and non-residential meters within their geographic boundaries in order to get the best price and, at least as important, the best terms for everyone.

How does Government Energy Aggregation work?

A Government Energy Aggregation Program only encompasses the “supply” portion of your electric bill and this is very important. With the installation of New Jersey Energy Choiceregulations in 1999, you have the ability to purchase electricity under your LDC’s Basic Generation Service (BGS) tariff rates or you can purchase it from a Third Party Supplier. Most residents of New Jersey, and most likely your municipality, purchase their electricity at the BGS rate because they have not yet switched to a Third Party Supplier. As of January 2013 about 15% of residents had made the switch. The BPU and Rate Counsel realize that this means most people are not taking advantage of the competitive benefits they have provided to them. In order to keep competition in the State and supply prices low, a step by step “roadmap” was made a part of Title 14 to show us how to implement an aggregation plan. Under New Jersey law, all residents of a municipality that adopts an aggregation plan will automatically be a part of the plan unless they already are using a Third Party. The goal is to maximize the bulk purchasing power of all the residents in order to lower the energy cost. Even though everyone who is eligible for the program is initially included, anyone who is included will have the opportunity to “opt- out” of the program before it begins or at any time after it starts WITHOUT any penalty or fees if they choose to. Keep in mind, the plan will only be started if there is a savings to the residents compared to the LDC’s current default rate. The rate will also be guaranteed to be fixed for the full duration of the contract without any variability, fees or penalties. The agreement with the Third Party will be reviewed by the BPU and Rate Counsel and is designed to protect the resident from the “fine print” while minimizing the cost. Your supply will still be delivered by the same regulated LDC (ACE, PSEG, JCPL) that has always delivered it. They will still handle your account, any service issues, outages and you will still pay one bill to them. The only difference will be the cost and a line item that says you are now using a Third Party to lower that cost.

If this program has been allowed for years, why is it just beginning to be utilized now?

There are several reasons for this. For one, after deregulation first occurred, rates were capped for a while so the program wasn’t needed. In the past couple of years, more Third Party Suppliers have entered New Jersey’s marketplace and begun to compete for the business at a rate lower than the escalating retail prices. These Third Parties also introduced competing plans in addition to rates that had hidden clauses that can be confusing or scare people off. In July of 2012, the State Legislation gave everyone the clearer map they needed to begin to take advantage of the program and achieve energy pricing that only the largest corporate users had access to before. This map not only gave a plan to achieve lower pricing but also gave strict guidance for terms of the contract that would properly protect the ratepayer and eliminate traps and confusion. By using this program a municipalities residents can now get better pricing than they can get on their own with better terms and protection. Your municipality is utilizing the services of an independent consultant that is licensed as an energy agent and private aggregator with the New Jersey BPU to assist them in implementing the program and give recommendations to maximize the benefits to the residents.

How do I know if it is a good rate?

According to the law, the program cannot exist if the rate to the residents is not lower than the current default rate charged by your LDC unless there is a higher percentage of “green” energy than is required. Your municipality is utilizing the services of an independent consultant that is licensed as an energy agent and private aggregator with the New Jersey BPU to assist them in implementing the program and give recommendations to maximize the benefits to the residents.

Do I have to participate in the program?

No. While residential customers are automatically included in the program, you may “opt-out” before the program ever starts and at any time during the program without any fees or penalties. While it is beneficial for everyone to participate because there is better leverage to negotiate and attract a lower rate with larger usage, it is not mandated. You will have the rates in the program prior to the program starting along with the details of the program so you will be well educated and can make an informed decision prior to deciding if you want to start in the program.

Is the program for both electric and natural gas?

Yes, the laws allow a Government Energy Aggregation program to include both electric and natural gas.

If I participate with my electric supply to I have to participate in the natural gas program as well?

No. You do not have to participate in either. You will have the ability to participate in the electric program, the gas program or both the electric and gas programs.

As an energy customer, what do I need to do?

As a resident currently being served by the utility, you do not need to take any action in order to be automatically included in the program. If you do not want to join this program, you have three options; 1-return the form that will be sent to you by the selected supplier that you wish to opt out of the program; 2-call the specific 800 number that will be provided; 3-go to www.njaggregation.us.

If you are already purchasing energy through a third party supplier, you will be given the opportunity to join the Aggregation program at the end of the existing contract with your present supplier.

Overall, how does the program benefit the residents?

The program ensures that they will receive a rate that is lower than what the local utility is currently charging them. It will also give them increased protection in obtaining a Third Party

by eliminating all the confusing fine print and forcing the Third Parties to compete for your business on an even playing field by giving everyone a price on a larger amount of energy on the same date under the same terms and conditions that are dictated to them through our RFP criteria, rather than them dictating to you what the terms of the contract will be. These criteria can also include a higher percentage of “green” renewable energy that will help create a cleaner environment.

I currently use the budget/equalized billing program from ACE/PSEG/JCPL. If I become a part of the aggregation, will I be able to remain in the program?

Yes. Your municipality understands that this is a very important feature to many of its residents and will mandate that all suppliers bidding on your business must accept this program.

Will this program take jobs away from workers in New Jersey?

No. This program will not negatively affect the power generation from the plants throughout the State and they will continue to run regardless. This is a financial transaction and decision that results in an accounting change by your LDC not a physical transaction that determines whether or not a generation plant will run.

Why is the program an “opt-out” program rather than having residents “opt-in” if they choose to participate?

With the passing of the 2003 law by the State Legislature, the “opt-out” approach was added. The program is set up this way to help ensure that a meaningful number of residents participate to achieve a meaningful bid. Past experiences in New Jersey and other states have proven that an “opt-in” program does not obtain a high enough percentage of residents participating to have an effective program. It is also costly and time consuming to administer a program that requires everyone to affirmatively come in to the program. After years of the program requiring “wet signatures” of customers “opting-in” for aggregators to start the program with little success, the BPU, Rate Counsel and Legislature realized that it was overly burdensome on the program and none were started. These entities came together to make the change to have residents “opt-out” of the program. A larger pool of customers with little hassle or cost for the suppliers to add them inherently makes the group more attractive to the suppliers encouraging them to bid causing more competition and lower pricing. Compared to businesses, residents are large in number but small in usage and margin for suppliers therefore it is necessary to get a large number of them together to increase their usage volume, minimize costs for acquisition to the supplier and drive a lower energy cost for the customer. The “opt-out” approach results in a larger, more consistent usage for the supplier to bid on compared to an individual customer but still gives the customer the ability to “opt-out” of the program at any time without any fees or penalties. The regulations also require that an aggregation program show savings versus the utility-provided rates. Each residential customer will receive a written notification after the bid, informing them of the price, the comparison to the utility price, and their right to opt out. As such, each resident will be fully apprised of all pertinent information necessary to make an

informed decision. Based on the experience in other states, it is anticipated that fewer than 5% of households will opt out.

Is there a minimum number of residents that need to participate in the program in order for it to start?

No. The program is structured so that the third party suppliers bid a price per kilowatt hour and, if selected, must hold that bid regardless of the number of residents who opt-out.

How much savings should I expect through a Government Energy Aggregation program?

Several states in the U.S.A. have adopted Government Energy Aggregation laws. Some of these states have different rules, regulations and restrictions governing the program as well as varying utility environments present in their states; therefore their savings experiences may not be comparable. In California, one of the programs requires 100% green energy which tends to be more expensive and resulted in no savings for the residents but have a much lower negative impact on the environment. In late 2012, Plumsted Township in Ocean County became the first community in New Jersey to successfully complete a bid under the States energy aggregation rules. The savings for Plumsted’s residents will be about 14% over the coming year versus the default rate in their service area. Energy is a commodity so the prices change constantly and trend over time so similar results cannot be assured. However, we still anticipate savings of 5-10% and the municipality will not and cannot award a contract to a supplier unless the residents save money when comparing with the local current default tariff rate for the energy supply.

How long are the contracts?

We will be asking suppliers to bid on terms of 12 and 18 month fixed price contracts. The municipality will pick the supplier and contract length that results in maximum benefit for the community.

How do we know we are always below the local default rate?

When a local distribution company sets its default rate, that rate is known prior to it becoming effective. Once that rate is known we will compare it with the rate we obtained in the bid process. For longer term contracts, the consultant your municipality is utilizing will advise them as to the trends and current market conditions and help forecast unknown tariffs based on their extensive knowledge and experience in the energy market.

What happens if there is an interruption of service?

Your supply is still being delivered by the same local utility you have always used. If there is a service interruption they are still responsible to fix the problem. There is no difference in

delivery service or responsibilities if you get your energy from a Third Party. If there is an interruption, you will still call ACE/PSEG/JCPL.

What if I have a solar or alternative energy system?

Your system is designed to offset the amount of energy you use in your home. If your system does not provide all the energy you need in your home you have an outstanding balance of power you will have to purchase from traditional means. This program will lower the cost of the energy balance you would need to buy from those traditional means. Therefore an alternative energy system does not prohibit you from being a part of the program.

Will the supplier be able to charge a penalty if I use more or less energy than I used in the previous year?

No. Your municipality will not allow for any clauses that would result in fees or penalties of any form, even if you have a variation in the amount of energy used.

Will the supplier be able to charge a penalty if someone “opts-out” of the program?

No. Your municipality will not allow for any clauses that would result in fees or penalties of any form. You are free to “opt-out” of the program at anytime without a fee or penalty.

Will the municipality be monitoring the pricing for changes?

The contract will be a fixed price for a defined period of time. Therefore, the price for energy will not change at all during the course of the contract.

Are the contracts going to be long term, just like some of the contracts in other states?

The length of the contract is limited by the Local Public Contracts Law in the State of New Jersey. The municipality would also like to keep the contract term to 12 months initially to allow for growth and improvement as the program matures in the community.

Can we have multiple service territories if other towns in other different territories want to join?

Yes.

Can we ensure that legitimate companies bid on our usage and satisfy the contract?

Only third party suppliers licensed by the BPU (Board of Public Utilities) will be eligible to bid. The municipality and its consultant will make sure that each licensed power supplier in the State is aware of the bid. The bid specifications will contain specific, additional qualifying criteria that bidding suppliers must meet to demonstrate their experience and capabilities. The municipality and its consultant will review the qualification documents submitted by each prospective bidder. There are approximately forty licensed suppliers in New Jersey, and a percentage of those are active in the residential market at this time. However not all have the necessary experience and qualifications to conduct a government energy aggregation program. The number of suppliers that we get to submit a bid will depend partly on how attractive the bid package is for suppliers. According to public documents, the Plumsted program bid had seven qualified suppliers who bid to serve residential customers, resulting in significant competition.

Will the LIHEAP and Lifeline benefit programs for low income residents still apply if I participate in the Aggregation program?

LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is federally funded program, administered by the Dept. of Community Affairs. It assists low income households with paying their heating bills (whether electric, gas, oil, etc.). There should be no impact of participation in the Aggregation program on customers’ eligibility.

Lifeline or Universal Service programs are state-funded through State taxes and societal benefits charges, again with eligibility based upon a number of factors tied to income. Bill credits of up to $225 are provided to assist eligible customers with electric and gas utility bills. The Aggregation program will provide consolidated billing through the utility; as such the bill credits would be unaffected.

What if I already purchase energy through a third party supplier?

As noted above, if you are already purchasing energy through a third party supplier, you will be given the opportunity to join the aggregation program at the end of the existing contract with your present supplier. If you wish to join your community’s Energy Aggregation, you should send us an email (or file an opt-in request on the web site, when that’s available) indicating the date that you wish to join, and inform your existing supplier that you are switching. Our appointed aggregation program supplier will take care of informing the local distribution company of the change.

. Please be sure to read your current agreement and take the necessary actions to alert your third party supplier that you

wish to terminate service at the end of your contract term in order to join the aggregation program. Please note that we are not responsible for informing your existing supplier or terminating your agreement with them. However, if you have any difficulty with them, please let us know and we’ll try to help you resolve issues.

How is the bid going to be conducted for the Government Aggregation Program?

It is very important that residents currently purchasing energy from a

third party supplier read their existing contracts very carefully, as there may be penalties for

terminating the contract prematurely, and some third party suppliers have automatic “roll over”

provisions which renew your contract without consent or action from you

Your municipality will utilize a reverse auction platform. The platform has been approved by the Department of Community Affairs for municipalities for use in this format. Ultimately, all the licensed suppliers will bid against each other under the exact same conditions at the same time forcing competition and providing very low rates for the residents.

Energy Aggregation Program FAQ’s 2018-05-27T19:37:37+00:00