Ambler to consider memorandum of understanding that could lead to borough overseeing electricity on behalf of residents and small businesses

On the February 20th agenda for Ambler’s Borough Council is the consideration of a memorandum of understanding between the borough and Joule Community Power regarding the potential future establishment of a Community Choice Aggregation authority.

What is that? According to the the Community Choice Aggregation website, the program will allow boroughs in Pennsylvania to do the following:

  • Accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
  • Negotiate the source of energy generation.
  • Use bulk buying power to decrease energy cost through the wholesale energy markets.
  • Create energy price stability (as opposed to fossil fuel instability).
  • Enhance competitiveness and support local clean energy job creation.
  • Protect constituents from predatory energy sales practices.

During the council’s February 6th meeting, a presentation was made by Dennis Rowan on behalf of the program. According to Rowan, he is in the process of approaching boroughs in Southeastern Pennsylvania that passed the Ready-for-100 Renewable Energy Resolution that includes a strategic plan to transition to 100% renewable energy from 2020 to 2050. This was adopted in Ambler by 2019. Rowan is seeking to get boroughs who passes the resolution to sign the memorandum of understanding to show state regulators there is interest.

If this is adopted in the future, PECO would no longer be the default energy supplier. All of the residents and small businesses would default to the Community Choice Aggregation through the borough (which is allowed in Pennsylvania’s borough code). However, as they can now, anyone can utilize to see rates and pick any power supplier that they choose. Rowan stated that you need a computer for this, its hard, and there is fraud involved.

Rowan claims that establishing a Community Choice Aggregation will save consumers two-to-20 percent off their electric bill (that will still come from PECO).

Participating boroughs can select their own mix of energy sources such as wind, solar, etc. If those aren’t supplying enough or consistent power, the system reverts to PECO temporarily.

Two members of the borough council expressed concerns about the forced opt-in process and potential costs and hours that Ambler will have to commit to work with other boroughs also utilizing Community Choice Aggregation.

The meeting to consider the memorandum of understanding is scheduled for February 20th at 7:00 p.m.