As storm season approaches, Cheshire residents may be searching for an alternative to Eversource for their electrical needs.
Town Councilor Peter Talbot, along with Cheshire Energy Commission member Dan Knudsen, may have found a way for residents to take their energy needs into their own hands.
According to the Cheshire Energy Commission, the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is “a way for a community to buy bulk power for its residents, businesses, and municipal accounts, while still receiving transmission and distribution service from the existing utility”.
“What we are trying to do here is to get CCAs onto the legislative agenda for Connecticut for the upcoming year,” said Talbot. “Once it’s on the agenda, then we can get the ball rolling on implementation.”
All the states that surround Connecticut currently utilize CCAs for their residents, leaving Connecticut as the odd man out. What Talbot and Knudsen are trying to implement in Cheshire, which they will lead to the rest of the state following suit, is a sustainable option for buying electricity.
“With the use of CCAs, we can enable a rapid shift to renewable energy,” mentioned Knudsen, “thus helping to fight climate change and stabilize electricity pricing. It will also develop local renewables that can translate into creating more jobs for our residents. And most importantly, it gives people a say in the makeup of their energy.”
Knudsen also explained what effects the CCAs could potentially have on Cheshire residents.
“CCAs will change the price and source of energy generation, often making electricity rates cheaper for communities. They can also provide renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal, anaerobic digestion or hydroelectric power. The local control of energy efficiency funds means the efforts are tailored to address local needs, therefore maximizing member’s cost savings,” said Knudsen
If Cheshire were to adopt a CCA program, all residents would then be automatically enrolled into the program. However, all residents will have the ability to opt out of the CCA if they so choose, allowing for all residents to find an energy plan that ideally works for them.
According to Knudsen, the feedback he has received from local residents regarding CCAs has been relatively positive. “At the Cheshire Fall Festival, the people I talked to about this were interested.” recalled Knudsen. “I know Representative Linehan and (State Sentator Mary) Abrams are on board with the idea as well, so hopefully we can get enough municipalities and convince enough people that this will be beneficial to us.”
While the Cheshire Energy Commission’s current goal is to get CCA-enabling legislation on to the Connecticut legislative agenda for this year, the Commission remains dedicated to informing residents about CCAs and what they could mean for the community.
The next Energy Commission meeting will be on Nov. 25 at the Town Council Chambers, 84 South Main St.