Should the Town of Cortlandt join Sustainable Westchester/Westchester Power? This is the question The Town Board recently asked our residents, via a Town-wide survey.
First, some background …
Sustainable Westchester offers a program in which citizens can purchase their electricity through a cooperative-buying organization that potentially can obtain power at a reduced rate compared to Consolidated Edison.
Traditionally, we all receive our electricity through Con Ed, and are billed monthly, with two charges listed.The first charge is for delivery of power via the electrical grid infrastructure in the community. The second charge is for the electricity itself. This is the metered rate of electrical consumption.
Recently, groups have formed that can purchase electricity and provide it directly to consumers, potentially at a lower cost. In addition, there is a stable, flat-rate monthly bill. Westchester Power is one such company that provides this option.
As of this writing, Westchester Power — certified by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit — has contracted with 29 out of 45 Westchester communities, which constitute its membership.
Initially, the Cortlandt Town Board hesitated joining Westchester Power. Once the Board makes that decision, everyone becomes a customer. It is an all-in policy (with an opt-out provision that can be exercised at any time).
Before proceeding on this course of action, the Board took the cautious step of polling its residents on how they felt about the Westchester Power program. A survey was conducted, on our website, through social media, by email, and via a returnable postcard sent to every single household.
A second question was also asked: if the town votes to opt in, should we elect to purchase energy from “green” sources, such as wind and solar, or traditional fossil fuel based energy. The former would be at a slightly higher cost but environmentally conscious. The latter at a somewhat lower cost.
The results …
As of May 23, 80.1% of Cortlandt residents voted to opt in, with 19.9% voting no, a ratio of 4:1 in favor of opting in.
On the survey’s second question, whether to opt in for green energy resources, 52.2% voted yes and 47.8% preferred less-expensive fossil fuel.
It is clear that the option of Westchester Power is overwhelmingly popular with our residents. As a result, the Town Board will vote to move forward with this program in the near future. The Board will also discuss utilizing green energy, and most likely will adopt this platform as well.
Please note that the decision of the Town Board to opt in to any program is, in effect, temporary. At any time, for any reason, any household can opt out by simply notifying the provider, using our Town website, or contacting Westchester Power or Con Ed directly.
The Supervisor’s office always is ready to assist our residents with their utility choices. If green energy is selected by the board, any resident can switch to the lower-cost, standard energy resource at any time.
It’s important to keep in mind that the decision of the Board to opt in can be reversed by any individual, at any time, and for any reason.
As some people point out, until now we never have had an option other than Con Ed. We were assigned to Con Ed. Now, we do have a choice, and we can always opt out with a click or call.
Now that Cortlandt residents have formed a consensus, we think it is prudent and reassuring to move forward. The survey results reveal that the Town is strongly in favor of this program.
The Town Board thanks everyone for their participation.