HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — An ordinance that would have assigned an alternate energy company to provide electric and/or gas services to Hamilton Township residents was voted down at first reading three to two at the Hamilton Township Committee meeting on Monday, Aug. 19.
The energy aggregation process was brought forth at the request of Committeeman Rodney Guishard who had learned about the process at a recent county organization meeting. He had invited Hope Township Mayor Timothy McDonough, a strong advocate of the program and Stacia Scaduto of Concord Energy Services and Commercial Utility Consultants to address the governing body at the July 15 meeting.
Under the proposal the delivery of energy would continue to be delivered by Atlantic City Electric. The actual energy is handled through an annual Basic Generation Service Auction where generation companies participate to offer rates for energy. According to Scaduto, through Community Energy Aggregation a rate for township residents would be set that would need to be lower than that offered by Atlantic City Electric. “Residents could expect a 10 to 12% savings,” Scaduto said.
Under the plan, residents would automatically be enrolled and would need to opt out if they were not interested in participating. Residences that have solar installations or who have contracted with other alternative energy companies would be excluded. It also does not apply to commercial buildings.
Deputy Mayor Roger Silva had concerns about the program. “It’s hard to justify this where residents would need to opt out instead of deciding to join,” he said.
“I’m concerned that residents may not get the information quick enough to opt out if that is their choice,” Committeeman John Kurtz said.
“I don’t even know how this can be legal,” Mayor Art Schenker said.
In response to a question from Silva, Township Administrator Michael Jacobs expressed concern that township offices would be faced with many calls from residents who don’t understand the process. “They would call us rather than a company with whom they are not familiar,” he said.
Silva, Kurtz and Schenker all voted against the introduction of the ordinance while Guishard and fellow democratic Committeewoman Judy Link voted to support it.
Also at the meeting Township Engineer Steven Filippone reported that the proposed replacement of the Cotton Mill Bridge on Mill Street will not commence until at least after November 1. That means that the annual Halloween Parade, slated for Wednesday, Oct. 30, will be able to lineup in the same area as in past years.