The Government Energy Aggregation Act of 2003 (L. 2003, c. 24, "GEA Act"), authorizes municipalities and/or counties of New Jersey to establish a Government Energy Aggregation (GEA) program. A GEA program allows municipalities, working alone or in a group, to aggregate the energy requirements of residential, commercial and municipal customer accounts so that the participating customers can purchase electric supply and /or gas supply from Third Party Suppliers (TPSs) at prices lower than the average utility price, with the possibility of added benefits such as higher renewable energy content.
Major Steps in Implementing a GEA Program:
- The GEA program must be authorized by the municipality and / or county (the government aggregator). If the government aggregator is a municipality, this must be done by municipal ordinance. If the government aggregator is a county, this must be done by county resolution.
- The government aggregator must advertise for and solicit bids from TPSs interested in providing electricity or gas supply under the GEA program.
- After selecting the winning bidder, the government aggregator can enter into a contract with the selected TPS on behalf of the customers who will participate in the program.
Residential Customers – Participation in a GEA Program:
- Residential customers within the geographic boundaries of a participating municipality who are not already served by a TPS are sent a notice describing the GEA program and advising the customer that they can opt out of the GEA program. For an Option 1 GEA program, the notice is sent to residential customers before the government aggregator selects the TPS. For an Option 2 GEA program, the notice is sent to residential customers after the government aggregator has selected a TPS and therefore, the notice includes pricing information for the program.
- All residential customers within the municipality (or county) who are not already served by a TPS are automatically included in the GEA program unless they submit an opt-out response within 30 calendar-days after the postmark on the notice. However, residential customers can leave the GEA program with 30-days’ notice at any time without penalty. If a residential customer is included in the program and then decides to leave the program, it will take approximately one to two billing cycles for the account to be switched back to the utility or to another TPS, dependent on the next applicable meter read date.