Burlco Pursues Shared Services Approach to Energy Savings
Freeholder director asks bridge commission to weigh potential energy savings for residents and businesses.
Burlington County Freeholder Director Joe Donnelly this week announced he has called upon the Burlington County Bridge Commission to provide technical assistance to municipalities that are considering community-wide energy aggregate contracts to procure utility bill savings for their residents and businesses.
Donnelly also reached out to Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II and asked that the commission evaluate the merits for a countywide or multi-town energy aggregate program, to determine if such an arrangement, if found to be feasible, could generate even greater savings to homeowners.
“State deregulation has opened the door for aggregate energy contracts, and recent media reports suggest that we could be looking at significant savings for every resident and business in the county,” said Donnelly. “I am asking the bridge commission to approach this as a shared service, and provide the county and towns with an objective evaluation of these programs, at no cost.
Donnelly noted the freeholder board has already partnered with the commission on the “Greenbacks to Go Green“ program, a shared services initiative that has assisted about five dozen towns and schools in securing tax-saving energy upgrades to their public facilities, often with state grant dollars.
“We have a good track record of assisting local officials in sifting through the complex regulations and strange acronyms that these programs typically entail,” Donnelly said. “We are well positioned to now assist them in evaluating the enticing benefits of energy aggregation, and any possible pitfalls.”
According to media reports, Plumstead Township in Ocean County is the first and only municipality in New Jersey to engage in an aggregate contract. Estimates are that this will result in annual savings of approximately $165 per customer.
“As we are all rapidly learning, many companies are now soliciting community energy aggregation, and have approached several of our towns,” he said. “Municipalities are rightfully assessing this cautiously, and we can assist them in their assessment, again at no cost to them.
“By the same token, we need to determine if this is a shared service worth considering under a larger, county umbrella, especially if it means a better return on the utility bill for every resident and business in the county.”
—Submitted by Burlington County