On Thursday, Teaneck residents submitted nearly 850 petitions to the Township Clerk in support of an ordinance to create a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program for the town, which would authorize the town to bulk purchase electricity from clean renewable sources and offer it to residents at discounted rates.
Renewable content would start around 50% and increase each year, reaching 100% renewable by 2030. Residents would still have their service, distribution, and billing handled by PSEG.
“New Jersey currently requires only 22.5% of our electricity comes from renewable sources, and it even counts things like trash incineration and biogas as clean energy,” said Teaneck resident, David Strait. “A renewable CCA program will give Teaneck residents the opportunity to source our electricity from REAL clean sources like solar and wind. This will cut greenhouse gas emissions and as more and more towns adopt these programs it will clean up air quality in our region.”
For over a year, Teaneck residents urged the town council to pass an ordinance authorizing this program as a way to fight climate change and give residents access to a discounted renewable energy option on their electricity bill. Repeated requests to move this program towards a vote were ignored, so residents decided to take things into their own hands and use direct democracy to bring a CCA ordinance to a vote.
Under the Faulkner Act, Teaneck residents have the right to initiative and referendum, meaning that any ordinance can be introduced by a petition with signatures from 10% of the number of residents who voted in the most recent state assembly election.
“When we were out collecting signatures on the CCA petition, it was so exciting to see the enthusiasm of Teaneck voters. Why not? It’s about getting renewable energy for all of Teaneck. It’s about working toward cleaner air. It’s about LIFE,” said Paula Rogovin, Teaneck Residents and Chairperson of Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains. “We will not give up this effort. Our future and the future of our youth is so important!”
“In less than ten years’ time, some of the most detrimental effects of climate change will be irreversible. This is why it is salient that we create change now to protect ourselves and our futures,” said Luna Taveras, a Teaneck resident and high school student. “Greenhouse gas emissions are the leading cause of climate change so switching to clean energy with CCA is a cost-effective alternative that will be beneficial to the residents of Teaneck, as well as people and life everywhere.”
Once the Teaneck clerk certifies the petition, the council will have an opportunity to vote on the matter. If they vote yes the ordinance will become law; if they vote no or decline to hold a vote before September, it will go to the ballot this November as a referendum.
Food & Water Watch has worked with residents to win similar 100% clean energy programs in Edison, New Brunswick, Collingswood, Asbury Park, Piscataway, East Brunswick, South Brunswick and Red Bank, and has a goal of enacting the policy in 10 addition towns and cities this year to put more than one million New Jersey residents on a path to achieve 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030.
“We’re hopeful that the Teaneck council will see the local enthusiasm for this program in the 850 petitions signed in support of renewable CCA and will vote to pass the ordinance this summer,” said Sam DiFalco, an organizer with local environmental group, Food & Water Watch. “Towns across New Jersey have already had great success with this program as a way to provide residents with a truly renewable option and save ratepayers money in the process. New Brunswick, which adopted this program in 2018, saved residents on average $100 per year on their electricity bills. And nearby in Glen Rock, residents enrolled in the town’s CCA program will see savings on their bills this summer as PSEG’s rates increase. We urge the Teaneck council to listen to their constituents and adopt this program.”