New Jersey passed its equivalent of CCA, government energy aggregation, as part of electricity deregulation in 1999, followed by a more specific Government Energy Aggregation Act in 2003. But an opt-in customer signature requirement and cost cap stymied CCA efforts. Legislation has since removed these barriers, and the first programs launched in early 2013.
New Jersey’s experiment with an opt-in aggregation demonstrated that CCA best operates as an opt-out program. Only with the automatic enrollment of all customers, and a well-publicized opt-out provision, can a CCA reach the critical mass and demand stability necessary to attract suppliers and succeed as a business.
New Jersey now allows the automatic enrollment of residential customers, but it still requires commercial and municipal accounts to opt in during a specified period. New Jersey’s statute also prohibits aggregation if the rate to the residents is not lower than the current default rate charged by the local distribution company; the exception is if the program includes a higher percentage of green energy than is required by the current renewable portfolio standard. Local aggregations are adopted by majority vote of the municipality’s elected body and must be approved by the NJ Board of Public Utilities.
To date, four communities, Tom’s River, Montgomery County, Monroe, and Plumsted Townships, have aggregated with several more in the planning pipeline. Electricity rate savings of these early adopter programs ranges from 8%-14%.
NEW JERSEY CCA FAST FACTS (updated October, 2013)
- Percentage of renewable power required under New Jersey’s Renewable Portfolio Standard: 22.5% by 2021
- New Jersey’s national ranking in number of solar photovoltaic installations and installed capacity: 2nd
- 2013 rate reduction in Plumsted and Tom’s River, respectively: 14% /12%
- Estimated annual Plumsted residential customer / township savings, respectively: $165 / $4M
- Estimated annual Tom’s River residential / aggregated township cost savings, respectively: $110 / $4M.
- Out-of-pocket consulting fees or professional services expenses incurred by Plumsted and Tom’s River Townships for their aggregation programs: $0
- Additional NJ communities considering / in process: West Orange, Lambertsville, West Amwell, and Jackson County
- Current administration’s goal for percentage of electricity to be supplied from carbon-free sources by 2050: 70%
- Current administration’s distributed generation and combined heat-and-power goal: 1500MW