Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Westchester Power?
A: Westchester Power is a program that enables participating Westchester communities to join together and purchase electricity supply in bulk. Aggregating consumers on a large scale creates the buying power necessary to dictate the terms of our energy purchasing. Westchester Power has secured low fixed electric supply rates through 2018 for 20 Westchester municipalities, representing over 110,000 households and small businesses.
Q: Who administers Westchester Power?
A: Westchester Power is a partnership program of Sustainable Westchester and participating Westchester County municipalities. Sustainable Westchester is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) consortium of Westchester County local governments. Sustainable Westchester has been authorized by the New York State Public Service Commission (“Order Granting Petition in Part” in Case 14-M-0564, issued February 26, 2015) to act as the manager, coordinator, and administrator of Westchester Power on behalf of any of its member municipalities.
Q: Does Westchester Power replace my utility?
A: No. Your existing utility will continue to deliver reliable power, maintain power lines, and respond to service outages. They will still provide the same customer service to all residents regardless of whether they are in the program. They are required by law to do so. Customers will still receive only one bill each month and it will still come directly from Con Ed. The new bill will reflect the change in supplier and new supply rate.
Q: How does Westchester Power procure power?
A: Westchester Power administered a competitive bidding process, soliciting responses from all registered New York suppliers. For Croton, the supply contract would be with Constellation Energy. Rates differ by utility territory and supply mix.
Q: How can I be sure Westchester Power will provide energy consistently?
A: Electricity is a highly regulated industry and there are many safeguards against service interruption from supplier error. There is a “grid operator” (called the NYISO) that monitors the grid at the high-voltage level to ensure the proper power is flowing at all times. In addition, the utility remains the “provider of last resort,” which means they are obligated to serve any customers whose supplier has failed to buy the requisite power for those customers.
Q: Will I save money by participating in Westchester Power?
A: Westchester Power supply rates will stay exactly the same every month, and are fixed at a price lower than the average supply rate for Con Ed in 2015. There is no guarantee, however, that the Westchester Power fixed rates will be lower than utility supply rates in any given month.
Q: What do I have to do to participate?
A: Residential and small commercial (those not charged for their peak demand) customers located in Croton that currently receive electric supply from Con Ed are automatically enrolled. Residents or small businesses that are presently under contract with a third party electricity supply company (ESCo) are not involved in CCA. If you are already signed up with an ESCo, but want to switch to Westchester Power, look at the terms of your existing contract to see when it expires and what (if any) penalties apply for early termination. If you choose to terminate your contract with the ESCo, you can then Opt In to join the program.
Q: What if I don’t want to participate?
A: It is absolutely your choice. Every Croton household and small business that currently receives its energy supply from Con Edison can opt out at any time.
Q: Is there a fee for opting out of Westchester Power?
A: No, there is never a fee or penalty for opting out.
Q: Are there time constraints on my ability to opt out?
A: No. You are free to opt out at any time with no penalties whatsoever.
Q: If I opt out after the contract has taken effect, how will that affect my service?
A: Service will not be interrupted whatsoever. The account will be transferred back to the utility at the end of the following billing period.
Q: Can I buy clean power through Westchester Power?
A: Yes. In fact, 14 of the 20 participating municipalities have set 100% Renewable Energy supply as the default option for their residents and small businesses. This product can be a mix of solar, wind, and hydro, and is backed by Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Any eligible resident or small business in Croton can freely choose 100% Renewable Energy by Opting Up.
Q: What is the 100% Renewable Energy Option?
A: Opting Up means that 100% of the electric power you buy comes from clean, renewable sources: sun, wind or water. No coal. No gas. No oil. No nuclear. It is clean energy, plain and simple. No fossil fuels. As a consequence, greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced. We can celebrate our contribution to cleaner air and cleaner water. It is the right choice for our planet, for future generations, for all who care about climate change.
What To Do If You Don’t Want to Be Part of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)
If you are presently taking power supply from an ESCo, or have blocked your account (see below), your electric service will NOT be affected by CCA.
If you presently are a full service Con Edison electric customer, i.e., have not signed a power supply contract with an ESCo, you can avoid CCA in two ways:
1. Block Your Con Edison Account: At your request, Con Edison will block your account, keeping your supply service with Con Edison until such time as you request that your account be unblocked. To block your account, call the phone number on your bill where it says “For other information”. Work your way through the automated phone prompts by saying “it’s something else” until you reach a live person. Ask that person to block your account. You will be asked for the account number on the bill (find it under your name on the upper left corner of the bill), service address (find it under the account number on your bill), and the last 4 digits of your Social Security number to verify your identity. That’s all there is to it.
2. Opt-Out: Before CCA takes effect, and any time thereafter, you may opt-out by filling out an online form at https://sw.westchesterpower.org/optOut.html or by calling Westchester Power directly at 914-242-4725. They will ask you for the same information seen on that form: name of your utility, name on the account, email, phone, service address, and your city, state, and zip code.
In either case, the blocking or opt-out may take a full billing cycle to take effect. On the bill, look for “Your Supply Charges”. If it still mentions the name of an ESCo (e.g., Constellation Energy), the switch has not yet taken place. If no ESCo name appears, you’re back on Con Ed supply service.