The meeting opened with a special presentation by Good Energy, LP, who proposed a Community Electricity Aggregation Program, or a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). Their literature lists 53 municipalities in Massachusetts who have joined and seven in Rhode Island. Those in RI include South Kingstown, Narragansett, Newport, Barrington, Portsmouth, Providence, and Central Falls. They described a CCA as “an opportunity to localize control over energy supply and extend benefits of competitive market to residents and small business.” They stated the Town of North Kingstown would be able to choose our sources of electricity which would still be delivered over the same wires and poles owned by National Grid, and all residents would still see billing from National Grid. However, they said the CCA would provide better price stability, competitive rates, consumer choice, and a better environmental impact. The CCA program adds 5-20% RI new renewables for the sources of electricity. I have attached the literature they gave to council members at the meeting.
Good Energy referenced that National Grid buys its energy about six months ahead of time and the most recent purchases show our electric bill will substantially increase in the next six months. The war in Ukraine increased the prices of gasoline and other energy around the globe. A March 31st Providence Journal article announced RI residents will see National Grid doubling of their rate after September, and the increased was approved by the state regulators.
At this time, the Town Council stated they wanted more information on the proposal and Good Energy. If the council decided to use the services of Good Energy as a CCA, we would need to pass an ordinance to make Good Energy, LP, our sole source energy provider. Residents would be notified of the action and could decide to opt out of the program. Good Energy reported 15% of residents usually opted out, but they did not have the “opt in” approach because the CCA found most people did nothing, thus their pricing model afforded them profits only if the CCA allowed opting out.
There were many questions asked of Good Energy and the council will discuss this further before if any action or decision is made. In my research of Good Energy, LP, I found that while the representative stated they were based in New York since 2003, which is what is listed on the NY Secretary of State’s site; they were actually formed in Delaware as a limited partnership. My research yielded little public information from either New York or Delaware, as the secretary of state’s websites did not list the names, or the partners, and the registered agent was a Delaware corporation. However Good Energy were listed as being in good standing which merely means they paid their annual fee to the Secretary of State to register their partnership. The limited partnership gives protection of their personal assets, but it means they do not issue any stock, nor can members of the public have any ownership or say in how their company is run.
The CCA took the majority of our meeting. We authorized the gardens at Beechwood Senior Center to be renamed the Jules A Cohen Gardens to honor all the time and expertise Mr. Cohen generously gave to their planning and planting. We also approved an updated Parks and Recreation Ordinance.