How does Westchester Power differ from other competitive suppliers?
Residential and small business consumers in New York have had the opportunity to shop for their electricity provider since the late 1990s. Dozens of Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) have entered into the New York State market to compete for your retail supply business. The delivery of the power over the grid, however, is still served by the local utility (ConEd or NYSEG) as a regulated monopoly.
Often ESCOs promise lower rates and sometimes offer novel products such as renewable energy credits (eg: RECs, wind certificates), a “green mix” of fossil and non-fossil based electricity 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, or so-called “slamming” practices that— switch customers without their consent, and “bait-and-switch” renewable products).
In February 2016, the New York State cracked down on ESCOs, restricting the products they can offer and their sales practices. In addition, ESCOs have done little to foster additional renewable energy resources at the local and regional level, which is a growing priority for many local municipalities to help achieve economic and sustainability goals. Finally, given the complexity surrounding the choice of electricity supply through an ESCO, 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.
Our Westchester Power Program, on the other hand, uses the power of aggregation to flip the script on the competitive supply market and dictate the terms of our purchasing as a community. Westchester Power is a non-profit program advised by local energy industry professionals with vast expertise in the supply market, with the interest of negotiating the best rates and terms for consumers in participating municipalities. The participating municipalities and Westchester Power leadership have worked tirelessly to procure power supply that is lower in cost than the current default utility supply rates while protecting consumers from rising rates and allowing for free opt out anytime.
Westchester Power has also insisted that the supplier offers a fixed rate, 100% Renewable Energy supply option to all its consumers, that the supplier be entirely transparent about how it sources its clean power, and to provide proper documentation and certification. This certification will also be publicly available on westchesterpower.org.
Consumers need not worry about early termination fees or monitoring rates on their own. Westchester Power will be updating program rates against the ‘price to compare’ (default utility rates) every month, so consumers will know exactly how Westchester Power stacks up.
ESCO programs may also have a clause in their contract which allows pass-through charges. These would be additional costs incurred by the ESCO as a result of changes decreed by a governmental authority. These costs would then pass through to the consumer in addition to the contracted rate. Westchester Power rates, on the other hand, include all costs and do not allow pass through charges except those accepted by the participating municipalities.
The participating municipalities encourage competitive power supply and make no representation and take no position either for or against ESCO programs. The individual consumer must carefully assess the terms and conditions of the contract and determine what’s in his or her own best interest. Westchester Power simply offers an additional choice.
Westchester Power is a program created and offered by Sustainable Westchester Inc to our participating municipalities. Sustainable Westchester is a membership organization of cities, towns and villages in Westchester County, New York. Collectively, these municipalities are home to over 800,000 residents. Sustainable Westchester is designed to turn environmental challenges into opportunities to improve the quality of life, economy and future prospects of county citizens.