Electric supply service: PSEG or a third-party supplier?

Hi all - I just received a notice from PSEG saying my third-party electric supplier service would end on 12/31, and if I do nothing, PSEG service will take over. I called the third-party supplier (Direct Energy Services in OK - a community aggregation program) and they said that to stay with them I have to let my current service lapse; go back to PSEG; and then I have to cancel PSEG and create a new contract with Direct Energy Services. Does this seem ridiculous to anyone else? Two questions: 1) is it better to stay with PSEG or a third-party supplier? and 2) Why on earth would they make us cancel-switch-cancel-and-create a new K to continue with the third-party supplier? Is this some battle royale b/w energy companies coming at customer expense? Anyone have any experiences to share? Thanks! 

From the nextdoor site, a super helpful post. The short answer: do nothing for now. In 2018, South Orange, Maplewood and three other local towns banded together to form SUSTAINABLE ESSEX ALLIANCE, a joint agreement to negotiate a lower electricity rate for residents. After competitive bids, the Alliance selected and energy company called DIRECT ENERGY SERVICES (DES) to provide the electricity. In addition to being cheaper than PSE&G's default electric rate, DES provided 2x the amount of renewable energy content than PSE&G. Cheaper & greener, a win-win.

* The collective agreement is estimated to have saved participating residents nearly $2 million combined, including $380k in Maplewood and $350k in South Orange. And we helped the environment with cleaner energy to boot.

* To obtain the critical mass needed to negotiate a good rate, every resident was automatically switched over to DES unless they specifically opted-out. This automatic switch confused or irritated some people, but was generally painless since PSE&G handles billing regardless of which company supplies the electricity.

* The current collective agreement with DES expires at the end of 2020. PSE&G recently sent a letter or email notifying residents that DES will no longer be our electricity supplier.

* Starting in January 2021, everyone currently receiving electricity from DES through the collective agreement will be automatically switched back to PSE&G.

* In March 2021, a new collective agreement will begin. The electric supplier this time will be ENERGY HARBOR. Again, they will provide electricity at a cheaper rate than PSE&G's default service and with 2x the renewable energy content. Bills will still come from PSE&G, but the electricity supplier listed will change to Energy Harbor unless you decide to opt-out.

* Starting in March 2021, as part of the collective agreement residents will also have the option of paying slightly more for 100% renewable electricity.


* If you're fine with the collective agreement, you don't have to do anything. All changes will be made automatically, and your monthly bill will always come from PSE&G. You can opt-out at any time if you don't want to participate.

* In January, everyone will receive a mailing from Energy Harbor explaining the new collective agreement, and how upgrade to the 100% renewable option or opt-out altogether.

* We will all likely receive solicitations from random third party energy suppliers over the next few months. These have nothing to do with the Sustainable Essex Alliance collective agreement. You can safely ignore them.

TAPintoSOMA has a detailed description of the whole situation for those who want to get into the nitty gritty: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/soma/sections/green/articles/maplewood-and-south-orange-energy-aggregation-update

Super helpful response. Thank you. It leaves me with this question: What did Energy Harbor do to beat out Direct Energy? And is Direct Energy still a choice? The Direct Energy person I spoke with said I could re-up with them in January ... 

The towns are contracting with just one third party supplier. They selected the  bidder with the most favorable terms.  You can select Direct Energy as a third party supplier but you will not be part of the 7 towns purchasing group.  As such, it is unlikely that you will get a comparable deal to what the towns were able to negotiate given the size of their user pool.

There is another thread in the forum called "Sustainable Essex Alliance Energy Program" which also covers this topic well.


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