Q: What is Government Energy Aggregation?
A: Government Energy Aggregation (GEA) is a program permitted under New Jersey State law that allows municipalities to pool together residents and conduct a bid for power supply from third-party suppliers, with the aim of obtaining a power supply price that is cheaper, and/or has more renewable energy than the power supplied by the electric utility. The program is conducted under the oversight of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Division of Rate Counsel, and the Department of Community Affairs. Gloucester Township has named its program the Gloucester Township EAP and the Borough of Somerdale has named its program Borough of Somerdale EAP.
Q: Who has Gloucester Township and the Borough of Somerdale selected as the program supplier?
A: Great American Gas & Electric (GAGE) was selected by the Township and Borough as the qualified supplier with the lowest proposed price in a public, competitive procurement. GAGE is an electric power supplier licensed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Q: How does the program contract price compare to the Atlantic City Electric tariff price for electricity supply?
A: The price of $0.09766 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is nearly five (5) percent below the current average Atlantic City Electric tariff price for power supply. Even with expected drops in the Atlantic City Electric tariff price later this year, the average Township and Borough resident are still projected to save nearly $100 over the full contract as compared to the average Atlantic City Electric tariff price-to-compare.
Q: What should I look for on my Atlantic City Electric bill when enrolling or evaluating the program rate versus Atlantic City Electric’s rate?
Q: Does the price vary as energy market conditions change?
A: No, this is a non-variable price that does not change with market conditions. Unlike some third-party supply contracts, the price is locked in through a contract with the Township and the Borough and will not fluctuate after an initial ‘teaser’ period. The contract price can only change if there is a Change in Law that equally affects the price of Atlantic City Electric power supply, such that even after such a price adjustment the savings as compared to the Atlantic City Electric tariff price is maintained. Any such Change in Law price adjustment would be subject to review and approval by the Township and Borough to assure that the savings are not adversely impacted.
Q: If I participate in the program, how does this affect my utility bill and service?
A: Your Atlantic City Electric bill includes separate charges for delivery service and for power supply service (i.e., Basic Generation Service). Atlantic City Electric will still provide delivery service and read your meter, and you will still receive a single bill from Atlantic City Electric which will continue to include the Atlantic City Electric delivery charges, but the utility Basic Generation Service charges for power supply will be replaced by the charges offered by the Township and Borough’s chosen supplier, Great American Gas & Electric (GAGE). Even if you participate in the program, Atlantic City Electric will still be responsible for service reliability and restoration.
Q: Is participation mandatory?
A: Participation is never mandatory. Residents who do not currently have a third-party supply contract (i.e., take power supply service from Atlantic City Electric under the utility’s Basic Generation Service tariff) are included in the initial eligibility pool. However, residents can opt out of the program by mail, phone, or electronically using the information in the Program Summary. At program launch, residents will have until January 27, 2021, to opt out, or 30 days from the postmark of when the letter was originally sent. Even after enrollment, you can opt out at any time, effective with the next meter read cycle, and there are no penalties or fees to do so.
Q: Will I receive any other notifications?
A: Yes, if you do not opt out of the program, several weeks after receipt of this Opt-Out Information Package sent by Great American Gas & Electric (GAGE) on behalf of the Township and Borough, you will receive a notification letter from Atlantic City Electric indicating that GAGE has enrolled your account for third-party supply and informing you of the date you will be switched to GAGE. This is just an added notification; no further action is required in order to participate.
Q: Why are the Gloucester Township and Borough of Somerdale Government Energy Aggregation programs operated on an opt-out basis rather than opt-in?
A: Aggregation programs of this type are typically operated on an opt-out basis, i.e., eligible account holders are automatically enrolled and must opt out of the program if they do not wish to participate. The reason for this comes down to simple economics – competitive electricity suppliers will only bid on load (usage) on a large scale that is guaranteed and that will provide commensurate returns, with the caveat, of course, that a certain percentage of account holders will opt out of the program. Based on their aggregation experience, suppliers have a general idea of what that opt-out percentage will be and can bid aggressively based on program participation forecasts. They also know that this percentage will be fairly low once consumers are educated about the program and its benefits. Conversely, if the program were to be run on an opt-in basis, account holders would have to proactively enroll in the program in order to participate. Through experience, suppliers have learned that in this scenario, enrollment would be marginal, thereby nullifying the impact the municipalities have of leveraging many accounts being enrolled to extract a lower supply price for end-users.
Q: Will I ever be requested to provide information to a door-to-door solicitor for enrollment in this program?
A: No, this program does not include any door-to-door solicitation. Great American Gas & Electric (GAGE) has the necessary information already, subject to strict confidentiality. If you are solicited by someone, please do not provide them with your information – alert the Township or Borough, their energy consultant, Good Energy, or GAGE immediately.
Q: Who do I call if there is a power outage?
A: Atlantic City Electric will still provide delivery service. If the lights go out, you would still call Atlantic City Electric at (800) 833-7476.
Q: Will I still be able to receive budget billing (Equal Payment Plan)?
A: Yes, however, you must contact Great American Gas & Electric (GAGE) to enroll in the program. You will not be automatically enrolled. In this case, if you currently have a budget billing plan with Atlantic City Electric, the supplier is required to provide you with an equal payment plan for your power supply charges. Atlantic City Electric will continue to bill a levelized amount each month for delivery service, and GAGE will also bill a levelized amount each month (through the Atlantic City Electric bill) for power supply. You may experience a “true-up” on your bill from Atlantic City Electric prior to enrollment and then again at the end of the program.
Q: May I participate in the program if I have solar panels/photovoltaics and am receiving net metering credits?
A: Yes you may participate in the aggregation program if you have a solar panel/photovoltaic installation. You will continue to receive your net metering credits while participating in the program.
Q: What happens at the end of the Township and Borough’s contract with the supplier?
A: There is no automatic rollover. If the Township and Borough decide to continue the program, they will conduct a new competitive bid for a new contract, and you will be advised of the new contract. If the Township and Borough discontinue the program, you will simply be returned to Atlantic City Electric power supply at the Atlantic City Electric tariff price.
Q: How do I obtain more information?
A: Program details are provided in the Program Summary enclosed with the opt-out package you will receive by USPS mail from Great American Gas & Electric (GAGE)on behalf of the Township and Borough. You may also contact GAGE using the contact information provided in the Program Summary enclosed in the information package or Good Energy at (800) 625-1528.