East Brunswick council will let voters decide on establishing energy program

Scott Jacobs

EAST BRUNSWICK–The Township Council failed to vote on a proposed ordinance establishing a Government Energy Aggregation Program.

Before the council failed the ordinance, Mayor Brad Cohen said he wanted to thank the petitioners and the Food and Water Watch members who came out and worked with the township’s professionals to help create the ordinance.

“To have the town move quickly to reusable forms of energy, going forward with the township in a way that will not or should not cost any extra costs to residents, thank you, everybody, for working together to get us to this space,” Cohen said.

The council failed to vote on the ordinance during the council on July 27 via video conference.

“If there is no second on this ordinance then it will fail and you will have the ordinance as drafted by the proponents of the referendum on the ballot, which will likely result in the adoption of an ordinance much more strict than the ordinance that is on the table [on July 27],” Township Attorney Michael Baker said.

This ordinance came about after a committee of petitioners comprised of Dorothy Li, Kathryn Scarbrough, Troy Shinbrot, Jean Mazza and Daniel Ulloa submitted an initiative petition on June 3.

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

The ordinance would have amended the municipal code, establishing a Community Energy Aggregation Program that creates an option for 100% regionally sourced renewables.

The mayor is authorized to execute the execution of an Electric Distribution Aggregation Agreement in a form acceptable to the township with PSE&G and/or JCP&L.

“While I support the ordinance and I would be part of the program, I can’t support anything that is an opt out program, where I don’t believe that it’s the governing body’s decision to make [and] to put the entire township in it. I would be much more supportive of it being on the ballot and letting the voters decide. It’s my opinion on it,” Councilman James Wendell said.

Baker said if the council would have adopted the revised ordinance, then the ordinance would have not needed to go on the ballot.

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

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.