LAMBERTVILLE/WEST AMWELL: Electric rates to drop in two towns

"Aggregation" agreement will reduce rates for most residents

By John Tredrea, Special Writer
   Residents of Lambertville and West Amwell will be able to save about $100 on their household electric bills during a 15-month period beginning March 1 now that the governments of those two municipalities have approved a deal under which electricity can be purchased from a third-party provider, First Energy Solutions.
   The two municipal governments reached agreement, permitted by the state’s 2003 Government Energy Aggregation Act, at a Dec. 5 meeting.
   In both towns, four businesses and a total of 2,680 households are participating.
   ”This is a good deal for our residents, and we’re glad we were able to make it happen,” Lambertville mayor David Del Vecchio said Monday.
   The mayor said residents who don’t wish to participate in the program will be able opt out of it.
   Letters explaining the program and the opt-out procedure will be sent to all residents soon, said Bob Chilton of the firm CC Energy, which was a consultant to the towns in the process that led to the deal with FirstEnergy. The information also will be posted on the municipalities’ websites.
   Mr. Chilton said Monday that four or five businesses also will participate in the GEAC program.
   ”The other businesses chose to stay where they are,” he said. “Based on past experience, I would say that the ones who chose to stay where they are already have a deal under which they purchase electricity from a third-party provider.”
   He estimated that the businesses who will participate in the program with FirstEnergy will save $500 on their electric bills during the 15-month period.
   Participants in the program will pay $0.08910 per kilowatt hour for their electricity. The program also gives participants the option to be environmentally friendly by purchasing “renewable” energy.
   By taking that option, which Mr. Chilton said would cost them “slightly more” than they pay for electricity now, all the power they would receive would be generated by facilities that generate power by using the wind or by capturing gases emitted by organic matter at landfills.
   ”Those gases are combusted in a turbine to produce electricity,” he said. Participants in this program will pay a “green premium” of $0.015/kWh, which would bring their costs to $0.1041/kWh.