HomeEast Brunswick SentinelEB NewsEast Brunswick petitioners seek to establish community energy aggregation program

East Brunswick petitioners seek to establish community energy aggregation program

EAST BRUNSWICK–A group of residents submitted a petition to have the Township Council adopt a proposed ordinance establishing a Government Energy Aggregation Program.

On June 3, a committee of petitioners comprised of Dorothy Li, Kathryn Scarbrough, Troy Shinbrot, Jean Mazza and Daniel Ulloa submitted an initiative petition, according to the council agenda.

As required by state law, in order for the petition to be submitted to the council it was required to be signed by a number of the legal voters of the township, equal in number to at least 10% of the votes cast in the municipality at the last election at which members of the General Assembly were elected, according to the council.

On June 23, Township Clerk Nennette Perry notified the committee of petitioners that their petition had been reviewed and met the state law requirements according to the council.

Perry read the certification certifying the sufficiency of the petition under state law on July 13 during the council meeting via video conference. The first reading for the ordinance is scheduled for July 27.

“Once the signatures have come in we will have no choice but to certify the petition and then it works as a first reading and we will schedule a second reading on Aug. 10,” Township Attorney Michael Baker said.

The ordinance, if adopted, will amend the municipal code establishing a Community Energy Aggregation Program that creates an option for 100% regionally sourced renewables.

The council and mayor are interested in mandating 100% renewable electricity, according to the council.

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, but renewable electricity created outside of the PJM grid cannot be directly utilized by residents, according to the council.

Prioritizing the generation of renewable electricity in the region served by the PJM grid will help improve local air quality, improve public health impacts, and decrease costs, according to the council.

In accordance with the state’s Government Energy Aggregation Act, the township seeks to establish a Government Energy Aggregation Program for the provision of electricity within the township for the purpose of obtaining power supply cost savings for residential and business participants in the township, according to the council.

The township, from time to time, will request proposals from electric power suppliers for electric generation services through the program, in which the township and its authorized personnel will be lead agents in administering the township’s Community Energy Aggregation Program, according to the council.

Baker said he has been in discussions with Food and Water Watch members who helped organize the petition drive.

“[We discussed] some ideas that I had on how we could make [the] Energy Aggregation Program work more smoothly and also some technical changes that needed to be made to the proposed ordinance because it talks of only PSEG, whereas, the town has power service from PSEG and JCP&L,” Baker said.

With discussions going well so far, Baker said he thinks that the petitioners at some point in the next few weeks will be amendable to a revised ordinance submitted by the council on the first reading. Then the second and final public hearing for the ordinance will potentially be on Aug. 10.

“If the council adopts the revised ordinance and the petitioners like it they then vote to withdraw their petition, the ordinance is approved and it does not need to go on the ballot,” Baker said. “If we don’t come to an agreement then the ordinance as proposed will go on the ballot, but I think there’s a good working relationship with the [petitioners]. I believe we will be able to work out any issues.”

For more information, visit www.eastbrunswick.org/AgendaCenter.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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