How to Notify New York State that Sneaky Sustainable Westchester Had Opted You Back into their CCA

How to Notify New York State that Sneaky Sustainable Westchester Had Opted You Back into their CCA

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DUBLIN, IRELAND (June 4, 2024) — Before I get into this topic, let me put the punchline at the top.

If you were opted in against your will by Sustainable Westchester (as many have been) you can help everyone by filing a complaint with the New York State Department of Public Services on their web site.

I strongly recommend the online form because you get a “receipt”: Complaint Form.

Over the past few months, I have heard many accounts of Westchester residents opting out of Sustainable Westchester only to find they were opted back in against their wishes.

I wrote to DPS about this last month:

Q. By far the most controversial aspect of the Sustainable Westchester Community Choice Energy Aggregation Program (CCA) is that the contracts with municipalities are all “opt-out” only. Having now viewed video of quite a few public meetings in New Rochelle, Rye and Lewisboro I have yet to hear a logical explanation for this. Mostly, it is variations of “it makes it better for us”. Is there some requirement that CCA programs be opt-out only? Does this come from DPS? Any thoughts are appreciated.

A. While there is no requirement that a CCA program enroll customers on an opt-out basis, CCA programs were authorized by the Commission in 2016 to be conducted on an opt-out basis because the programs would not gain sufficient economies of scale if conducted on an opt-in basis.

Q. Anecdotally, I have been told that ratepayers who opt-out of SW end up switched back to SW from Con Ed. Also, property managers are playing whack-a-mole by working with tenants to opt them out of SW then finding when an apartment turns over it is switched back to SW from Con Ed. It appears that anytime there is a change to account — a new account number or other — the account reverts to SW. I have never seen an SW presentation that explains how this works and why. Can you provide an explanation?

Once a customer opts-out of a CCA program, that decision is preserved for the life of the program and the customer should not be reenrolled in the program. Regarding new customers, when a new customer enters a municipality that has a CCA program, that customer, if eligible, will be included on the next “newly eligible customer” list that is provided by the utility to the CCA administrator upon request for subsequent opt-out enrollment in the program. In practice, CCA administrators generally receive these newly eligible customer lists every few months. These newly eligible customers should receive an opt-out letter similar to those received by the customers initially enrolled.

I have heard from plenty of readers who would beg to differ.

New Rochelle Councilmember Al Tarantino recently recounted his experience at a meeting of the New Rochelle City Council.

If you go to Con Ed they send you to Constellation, Constellation sends you to Sustainable Westchester, you get Sustainable Westchester and you get an answering machine, and you may or may not get a call back. There are times — and it happened to me — where you are in Sustainable Westchester, I opted out I was back in again. I don’t know how it happened.

SEE: New Rochelle Considers Terminating Sustainable Westchester Contract

Another reader has a story and the documents to illustrate his point.

After I moved into the house (summer 2023) that I owned for years but had left the electric service in my father's name (he died in 2002) I undated the Con Ed account so that I could auto-pay them and not write checks anymore. This caused a transfer of ownership on their end but nothing had changed with me since I owned the property since 2013.
The very day I got notice this January that Sustainable Westchester was unilaterally switching my account I wrote out their post card and sent it to them on January 13, 2024.
The result was - they ignored it and switched me anyway. I received a “welcome card” from Con Ed on February 21, 2024.
Then I called Con Ed and told them I wanted to switch back immediately and this was a scam and I never wanted to be switched again.
The woman was very nice, told me she would do that switch and locked my account to prevent any more switches.
The problem was she locked the account without properly switching me out of Sustainable Westchester.
I had to go back to Con Ed and re-explain the situation and the accout was restored to Con Ed.
I am now waiting for my first bill to confirm my account is back with Con Ed.
My electric charges for mundane usage with Sustainable Westchester have been the highest have ever seen and paid.

If you have had this experience please relate your what happened in the comments

New York State DPS Complaint Line

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