Opinion: Explaining the choices

Dear Editor,

If you need help understanding your options outlined in the recent Village of Owego letter regarding your electric service, read this letter. The Village of Owego entered into a program on its residents’ behalf to negotiate a fixed rate for electricity supply for the next 24 months. 

On your electric bill from NYSEG there are two charges. One is labeled “electricity delivery charges.” You pay that to NYSEG for bringing the electricity to you through its lines. The other is “electricity supply charges.” This pays for the electricity itself and most people buy it from NYSEG also. 

The state allows you to buy your electricity from another company if you choose. Some of these companies use aggressive sales techniques and lock you into unfavorable rates for long contracts. Through New York State sanctioned programs, the Village of Owego has contracted with a supply company for a fixed rate for electricity supply staring July 2019 through June 2021. This was done in a way to give you complete choice and control over your electricity supply. 

First, the numbers. On your latest NYSEG electric bill you probably paid $.0445 per kWh plus a small surcharge for your electricity delivery. You must pay this and will continue to pay it. It has not substantially changed in the last year and you have no choice about it. 

The next part of your bill is electricity supply. If you have contracted with another company for supply it will state this on your bill. NYSEG will still bill you for it, and collect it for and pay it to that company. If you buy your electricity from NYSEG it will just say supply charge on your bill. There is a charge for kWh (a unit size) and another small charge. These two charges have averaged $.0526 over the last 12 months. This is the average price per month NYSEG charges everyone, not the average or median price. Some don’t pay more and some less, everyone pays this. 

Two options have been negotiated for electricity supply from Constellation Energy Company. First is a fixed rate of $.0542 per kWh and no extra charges. This rate is for 100 percent renewable (clean) energy (hydro, wind and solar). If you do nothing you will be enrolled at this fixed rate for the next 24 months (July 2109 through June 2021). At any time in these two years you may leave this program and return to NYSEG Supply and the variable rate at no penalty to you.

The next option is to contract with Constellation for mixed electricity supply (natural gas, nuclear, hydro, wind and solar) about 20 percent renewable. This rate is slightly lower at $.0509 kWh. If you do not return the card in your letter you must contact Constellation at 1-833-866-9637 and tell them you will “opt down” to this rate or you will be enrolled in the first option. 

If you do not want to purchase electricity from Constellation and continue buying it from NYSEG at their variable rate you must return the card. The NYSEG rate varies on market factors. Last April it spiked high at $.0767 per kWh. This April it spiked low at $.0407 per kWh. We have negotiated a fixed price that we believe will be below market especially for clean energy. You have complete control whether to make this choice or not. If you change your mind you may with no penalty and pick any other option. 

REPEATING: 1. Do not mail the card and buy 100 percent renewable at $.0542. 2. Do not mail the card and call Constellation and buy mixed at $.0509. 3. Mail the card and buy from NYSEG at variable rate ($.0526 for last 12 months, but no one knows what the next two years will bring) and whatever you choose you may change your mind at any time with no Penalty.


Rusty Fuller

Owego, N.Y.

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