The search for cheaper electricity is in full swing, from the East Coast to the West.
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. of Pearl River, NY, proposes that 1,500 residential customers, along with industrial and commercial businesses, be allowed to pick their electric power supplier. The proposal, called "PowerPick," has been endorsed by New York Public Service Commission staff, the Industrial Energy Users Association, and the state Consumer Protection Board. Certain large industrial customers would choose electric suppliers by June 1, 1996; the others would be able to participate January 1, 1997. The test run could last three years.
Further north, in Lexington, MA, town representatives have voted 178-2 to research aggregating their electric load with that of other municipalities to trim the electric bills of residents and business owners.
"What we're looking for is to examine all the potential alternatives for the town, including total municipalization, partial municipalization, or load aggregation," says George A. Woodbury, public works director. "Load aggregation being the first priority."
Woodbury says rates run 9.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, plus a sizable demand charge. He hopes, through aggregation, for a 15-percent savings.
Woodbury says Lexington is trying to drag its utility into the future by showing it innovative ways to secure a customer base. But working with Boston Edison could be difficult, Woodbury says: "My experience so far with Boston Edison is they're in a field they're unfamiliar with. The company seems to be keeping its head in the sand until something bites them on the rump."