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Brookhaven plans to mitigate gas-related home heating costs

Nicolas de Camaret

The Town of Brookhaven has created a program that officials hope will save homeowners a combined $5 million on their natural gas bills.

A group of homeowners urged the town to form Brookhaven Community Energy, a Community Choice Aggregation (CAA) that pools resources to buy gas in bulk at a lower price.

“Now, we’re going to be saving everyone—residential, commercial, industrial customers—ten cents a therm,” Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said. “The average house uses about 1,000-1,200 therms a year, so we will be saving every National Grid residential customer roughly $100 or $120 a year depending on the size of the house.”

The town contracted Good Energy, a nationwide firm based in New York, to handle the setup for Brookhaven Community Energy.

The program is available for residential and small commercial customers. Enrollments begin in April, and the program will start in May. The program will last for 2 years.

Customers can opt in and out of the program at any time by mail, over the phone, or online.

“It is a rate of 69.5 cents. The historical 12-month average of National Grid is close to 80 cents, (79.61). That makes it about 13% savings,” Good Energy managing partner Javier Barrios said.

If the market price is cheaper than the fixed 69.5 cent cost, customers would be able to opt out of the program to buy the market price. Brookhaven’s natural gas is supplied by Direct Energy NRG.

The program’s website also has a tracker to check the current market value of natural gas.

”This brings a new era to Brookhaven, in the sense that now the town government has gone in a very active way, through the CCA, to lower costs,” Romaine said.

He added that he wants the Long Island Power Authority to be “as cooperative as National Grid” to participate in a CCA. In 2016, the state’s Public Service Commission authorized CCA programs statewide — which did not include LIPA’s rate structure. LIPA opposed the forming of the programs, suggesting that the goals of CCAs shifts operating costs and lead to higher bills for customers outside of the pact agreement.

In December 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law authorizing CCAs within LIPA’s service territory. Statewide, more than 60 local governments participate in CCA programs, and more than half are powered by 100% renewable energy.

During the February Town Board meeting, Councilman Jonathan Kornreich joked with Romaine: “After we learned about the program, the supervisor said, ‘I think this is one of the rare times the government has done something to save money for the residents,’” Kornreich said.

Joseph D’Alessandro is a former news intern at WSHU.