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Learn How City Plans to Make it Easier for Residents to Be ‘Green’

Staff reports

The city is committing to buying electricity through renewable sources and will hold virtual public hearings to explain what that means for residents.

Rochester Community Power will host the sessions about community choice aggregation, which lets municipalities pool the demand for electricity from residents and businesses. That collective demand can get a more favorable rate on renewable, or green, energy, than an individual could negotiate.

The one-hour sessions are scheduled for 5 p.m., Nov.19; and at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30, Dec.9 and Dec. 10. All meetings will have ASL interpreters and the Nov. 30 meeting will have a Spanish-language interpreter. More information is at www.rochestercommunitypower.com/events

New York is one of seven states that allow community choice aggregation. The arrangement is designed to give communities more control over the source of their electricity, which usually means the community wants a more sustainable source. Bringing customers together – the aggregation – improves the buying power rather than have individual customers seek a green source on their own.

There is no guarantee of lower rates but the expectation is that they will be competitive and fixed for two years. The aggregation increases market pressure to increase the supply of clean energy and reduce demand for carbon-producing fossil fuels.

The city authorized CCA in 2019. The program allows local governments to buy power on behalf residents, businesses and municipal accounts from an alternate supplier – particularly one that specializes in green, or renewable energy. The existing utility provider still delivers the electricity.

Enrollment is automatic, but residents can opt out of the program. Regardless of participation, Rochester Gas & Electric will deliver the electricity and send the bills.

The city is running the program through Rochester Community Power. The city is working with Joule Community Power and Roctricity, which since 2016 has been advocating for community purchase of 100% renewable energy at competitive rates.

Community choice aggregation will help the city become cleaner, greener and more sustainable, Mayor Lovely Warren wrote in a news release. “Protecting our environment helps create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens.”

The CCA is expected to start early next year.