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Young/Sommer Secures First Upstate NY Approval for Community Choice Aggregation Energy Procurement Program

The firm successfully advocated on behalf of the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (“MEGA”) and obtained approval of the New York State Public Service Commission to bring a cost-saving community energy buying program to Upstate communities—the first ever approved under the Commission’s April 2016 Community Choice Aggregation Framework Order.

The Commission unanimously approved MEGA’s proposed Community Choice Aggregation (“CCA”) program, authorizing MEGA to act as a CCA Administrator providing education and outreach, technical assistance, and aggregation services to villages, towns, and cities throughout Upstate New York. The approved MEGA CCA will allow participating residents and small businesses to leverage their buying power to secure cheaper and/or greener electricity by creating a community-based purchasing group, and soliciting bids to purchase power from Energy Services Corporations (“ESCOs”) on behalf of participants.

As the Commission noted in its CCA Framework Order (Case 14-M-0224) approving the concept of CCA in New York, a CCA offers customers the opportunity to receive more favorable energy supply terms through the bargaining power bulk purchasing provides, the expertise provided by CCA administrators, and a competitive public process for choosing an energy supplier. The Commission imposed numerous prerequisites for the formation of a CCA program, and required that any municipality or entity seeking to create such a program submit documentation demonstrating municipal participation, program design, and compliance with the CCA Framework Order, to obtain Commission approval. Young/Sommer Partner James A. Muscato II and Associate Laura K. Bomyea worked closely with MEGA to implement a compliant public outreach and education campaign to introduce communities to CCA, develop an implementation plan for organization and operation of the CCA and a data protection plan to ensure customer information is properly safeguarded, and provide model local laws and resources for municipal attorneys to implement the necessary legal mechanisms to allow community participation.

MEGA’s approved program will now enable communities from the Southern Tier to the North Country, and from the eastern Adirondacks to Western New York, to take advantage of CCA. More information about MEGA’s CCA program is available on its website (http://megacca.org/). The first group of participating communities approved by the Commission consisted of the City of Elmira, Towns of Oneonta, Montour, Horseheads, Union and Binghamton, and the Village of Montour Falls. The day after Commission approval of the program, MEGA submitted local approvals from five additional municipalities, including the City of Hornell, the Towns of Owego and Lebanon, and the Villages of Delhi and Burdett. Additional municipalities are considering CCA, several are proceeding through the CCA education and local law process, and many more are hoping to join in the future. Young/Sommer will continue its efforts to support MEGA’s CCA program, and facilitate compliance with the Commission’s approval Order.

The Commission Order approving MEGA’s CCA Program, in Case 16-M-0015, is available here: http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/Common/ViewDoc.aspx?DocRefId={E84E28E3-7C00-441A-8725-CA6984070331}.