Energy Aggregation: Are we creating a Monopoly?
Last evening, the Sussex County Freeholders voted 3 (Crabb, Vohden, and Mudrick) to 2 (Phoebus and Graham) to make Concord Energy/ Concord Engineering the provider of energy to Sussex County government. Concord is the for-profit corporation that has the contract to manage the Passaic County Government Energy Aggregation Program. Sussex is now a part of the Passaic system.
There was an attempt to obscure this on the part of Phil "the fibber" Crabb who tried to mislead both his fellow freeholders and the public about the relationship between the Passaic County program and Concord. He was supported in this by the manic presence of side-kick Richard Vohden. But it failed to work because even Crabb and Vohden can't hide the volumes of correspondence they have received from Concord representatives Vicki Molloy and Wendy Molner about the Passaic program. They know and they know too well.
One result of municipal aggregation is that, in effect, you are undoing the benefits of deregulation. The main benefit, of course, is achieving lower rates through competition. The price of electricity has been decreasing steadily since alternative suppliers came into the market. That's because individual buyers have been allowed to make individual choices. But when you re-concentrate large numbers of buyers into co-opts and establish corporate filters, you risk undoing that competition.
The full benefit of deregulation is yet to be seen and municipal aggregation might halt that progress entirely. Concord spreads a lot of money around and makes hundreds of direct political contributions. They have hired two Sussex County politicians -- Wendy Molner (a former Mayor of Hardyston) and Molly Whilesmith (a Sparta councilman) to lobby for them and sell their program. They even recruited a candidate for Assembly -- Marie Bilik. We should be careful not to allow our elected representatives to return us to a pre-deregulation monopoly through the back door. Our hindquarters are already sore from what they did to us over solar.
Vice President, Government Relations
Ms. Molner has over 15 years of experience in client relations, community outreach and governmental affairs. Prior to joining Concord, she held community and legislative relations management positions at NJ Transit and NJ Department of Transportation.
At Concord, Ms. Molner also serves in a business development capacity, bridging communications between the public and private sector regarding energy, legislative and public policy.
Ms. Molner holds a BS in Public Policy from Upsala College and attended the Harvard University Certificate Program for Public Involvement. She is also past mayor of Hardyston, NJ.