Letter to the Editor: Hopewell Township’s energy aggregation charades

To the Editor,

Apparently, the Hopewell Township Committee has already decided to slam residents into Community Energy Aggregation, but spent $6,000 in order to claim the pretense of public input.

The money, which was never specified in a formal vote, financed a letter from the township inviting the public to information sessions in December, even though the meetings are, in reality, a charade.

The below information was obtained through the Open Public Records Act.

On Oct. 28, Township Committee Member Kevin Kuchinski said in an email to Concord Energy Representative Stacia Scaduto, Acting Township Administrator Elaine Borges and candidate for Township Committee Courtney Peters-Manning: “We plan to introduce [Energy Aggregation] in November.”

On Nov. 6, Kuchinski said in an email to Scaduto, Borges, Peters-Manning as well as the Hopewell Township clerk and Mayor Kristin McLaughlin: “We … would like to have a first reading of this ordinance at our next meeting.”

Introduce the Community Energy Aggregation Ordinance in November? Involve a candidate for Hopewell Township Committee in the roll-out? Delay the vote, but don’t tell the public that energy aggregation is a done deal?

Political practicality dictates that the only ordinances that are introduced are those which have the votes to pass. There is no reason or logic to introduce an ordinance merely to discuss an issue in public. An issue can be discussed in public by simply discussing the issue in public.

Even the township’s December letter, which purports to begin public outreach, is also a charade. On Sept. 24 and 25, members of the Brandon Farms communities of Four Seasons and Wellington Manor, respectively, were invited by way of email to a private presentation of energy aggregation out of the public eye.

Apparently, only members of those communities were invited, not the general public, according to emails exchanged among Kuchinski, Borges, Scaduto and the presidents of those homeowners associations.

Harvey Lester