Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to the questions and answers below, we maintain a Toolkit of resources and template documents for municipalities and other stakeholders. Please let us know, if you are looking for a template or other document and cannot locate it there.
Westchester Power is a program that enables participating Westchester communities to join together and purchase electricity supply in bulk. Aggregating consumers on a large scale creates the buying power necessary to dictate the terms of our energy purchasing. Westchester Power has secured low fixed electric supply rates through 2018 for 20 Westchester municipalities, representing over 110,000 households and small businesses.
Westchester Power is currently available in 20 Westchester County municipalities. If your city, town or village is not participating, please contact your elected officials and tell them you want Westchester Power in your community.
Residential and small commercial (non-demand charge) customers located in participating municipalities that currently receive electric supply from ConEd or NYSEG are automatically enrolled. Residents or small businesses in participating municipalities who are presently under contract with a third party electricity supplier (ESCO) are not automatically enrolled. If you are already signed up with an ESCO, but want to switch to Westchester Power, you should look at the terms of your existing contract to see when it expires and what (if any) penalties apply for early termination. If you choose to terminate your contract with the ESCO, you can then Opt In to join the program.
No. Your existing utility will continue to deliver reliable power, maintain power lines, and respond to service outages. They will still provide the same customer service to all residents regardless of whether they are in the program. They are required by law to do so. Customers will still receive only one bill each month and it will still come directly from ConEd or NYSEG. The new bill will reflect the change in supplier and new supply rate.
Yes. In fact, 14 of the 20 participating municipalities have set 100% Renewable Energy supply as the default option for their residents and small businesses. This product can be a mix of solar, wind, and hydro, and is backed by Green-e certificates. If you live in one of these municipalities, you will automatically receive 100% Renewable Energy supply. Any eligible resident or small business in the remaining 7 communities can freely choose 100% Renewable Energy by Opting Up.
Westchester Power rates will stay exactly the same every month, and are fixed at a price lower than the average rate for ConEd and NYSEG in 2015. There is no guarantee, however, that the Westchester Power fixed rates will be lower than utility rates in any given month.
Westchester Power is a partnership program of Sustainable Westchester and participating Westchester County municipalities. Sustainable Westchester is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) consortium of Westchester County local governments. Sustainable Westchester has been authorized by the New York State Public Service Commission (“Order Granting Petition in Part” in Case 14-M-0564, issued February 26, 2015) to act as the manager, coordinator, and administrator of Westchester Power on behalf of any of its member municipalities.
It is anticipated that Westchester Power will provide energy for electricity for approximately 110,000 customers.
If you have rooftop or ground-mounted solar panels, you will be automatically enrolled in Westchester Power just like all other residents and small businesses in participating municipalities. You will continue to receive net metering credits at the retail rate from Con Ed/NYSEG. If you use more power than your solar panels generate, that power will come from Westchester Power. Like all other residents and small businesses, you will have the option to Opt Up to 100% renewables for this power.
Opting Up means 100% of the power you buy comes from clean renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro). By selecting the 100% Renewable option, residents and small business customers are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the use of renewable energy. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to participate in the peak demand reduction initiatives and local shared renewables Westchester Power hopes to rollout in the near future.
No, it is not too late. You may Opt Up for 100% Renewable Energy at any time with no penalties. Likewise, if you were defaulted into the 100% Renewable Energy mix and would like to opt down to Basic mix, you may do so at any time with no penalties.
The Basic supply mix is likely be similar to the current utility mix — mostly natural gas, nuclear, and hydro generated primarily in New York, New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Eastern Canada. 100% Renewable Energy supply must be only wind, solar, or hydro, certified by Green-e certificates, and is a national product.
Westchester Power requires all of the renewable supply to be Green-e certified. The Green-e certification program verifies the source and location of the generation associated with purchased renewable energy credits, ensures there is no double-counting or fraud, and regularly produces verification reports to consumers.
Westchester Power administered a competitive bidding process, soliciting responses from all registered New York suppliers. Con Edison Solutions was awarded the supply contract for 17 ConEd communities, and Constellation Energy was awarded the contract for 4 NYSEG communities. Rates differ by utility territory and supply mix.
Electricity is a highly regulated industry and there are many safeguards against service interruption from supplier error. There is a “grid operator” (NYISO) that monitors the grid at the system level to ensure the proper power is flowing at all times. In addition, the utility remains the “provider of last resort,” which means they are obligated to serve any customers whose supplier has failed to buy the requisite power for those customers.
There are over 75 ESCO’s operating in NY State. Many ESCO’s promise lower rates and offer novel products such as a “green mix” or carbon offset programs for environmentally conscious consumers. Several ESCOs have been guilty, however, of predatory business practices (i.e. teaser rates that spike over time, so-called “slamming” — switching customers without their consent, bait-and-switch renewable products). In fact, only about 20% of Westchester County residents and small businesses have chosen to buy their electric supply from an ESCO rather than stay with the utility.
Westchester Power, on the other hand, uses the power of aggregation to create a good price and one that can guarantee 100% renewable energy. More information on how Westchester Power compares to ESCOs.
Opting Up means that 100% of the electric power you buy comes from clean, renewable sources: sun, wind or water. No coal. No gas. No oil. No nuclear. It is clean energy, plain and simple. No fossil fuels. As a consequence, greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced. We can celebrate our contribution to cleaner air and cleaner water. It is the right choice for our planet, for future generations, for all who care about carbon and methane pollution.
If you want to stop using fossil fuels and reduce carbon pollution in your energy supply, you can choose to have your energy supplied exclusively from sun, wind or water. No coal. No oil. No gas. No nuclear. Simply fill out the Opt Up form. Learn more here.
Opting up will save you money. Rates for the 100% renewable option will be lower than the 12-month average for 2015 for Con Ed and NYSEG. Learn more.
Over time, with anticipated rebates for reduced peak demand, greater supplies of community solar and more energy efficiency, we expect that the rates for 100% renewable be even lower.
Your energy will be supplied exclusively from sun, wind or water. No coal. No oil. No gas. No nuclear.
Until Now, ConEd and NYSEG have been the default power providers to customers in Westchester County, as determined by the State, and customers were automatically opted in to one of those utilities. Municipalities participating in Westchester Power have each passed a law or ordinance that localizes the authority to designate a default supplier, resulting in greater competition and more options for consumers. Consumers living in one of the 20 participating municipalities may still freely choose another competitive supplier or opt out back to the utility if they choose.
Once you have your utility service set up, you can opt in to Westchester Power for your supply.
Here's what you will see on your bill if you are enrolled in the Westchester Power Program:
Con Ed: If you are in Con Ed territory, on page 2 under "Your Electricity Charges" you will see a line which says "Your electricity is supplied by CCA-CON EDISON SOLUTIONS"
And on page 3, "Your electricity supply detail, you will also see the CCA supplier:
It is absolutely your choice. Every household and small business that currently receives their energy supply from Con Edison or NYSEG can opt out at any time.
No, there is never a fee or penalty for opting out.
No. You are free to opt out at any time with no penalties whatsoever.
Service will not be interrupted whatsoever. The account will be transferred back to the utility at the end of the following billing period.
Yes, you can Opt in. However, the rate offered when you opt back in may not be the same low rate you had before you opted out.