What is NJ SEM all about? Why was it formed?

The New Jersey Sustainable Energy Meeting (SEM) was created by municipal business administrators to share the services of energy consultants and legal counsel with a goal of purchasing energy wisely, legally and economically. Our objectives were to achieve energy savings, price certainty and price stability for members, through cooperative purchasing with a program that made procurement easier, understandable and transparent for our members. SEM was intended to serve as a knowledge-based energy purchasing group designed to help New Jersey municipalities reduce their energy costs, while at the same time offering value added services such as advice and education on energy related matters.

How many members are part of NJ SEM?

180 municipalities and utilities authorities are currently participating. And we’re growing.

How large is NJ SEM?

We are the largest municipal government energy purchasing cooperative in the State (includes both power supply and natural gas supply)

My town has the ability to manage a procurement on our own. What would be the benefit of cooperative purchasing as compared to my municipality striking out in its own?

Great question! With NJ SEM you’ll gain marketplace attention from the most competitive and reputable energy suppliers, much more than a single organization’s energy load. NJ SEM prepares the documents in strict conformance to the NJ DCA’s guidelines and New Jersey Public Bidding laws and regulations. We collect your data and perform extensive market analysis. We manage the procurement and provide you with the results. And we support the group and its needs in between procurements. With minimal effort and zero cost on the members part, you achieve energy savings and all the other benefits NJ SEM membership provides.

If I’m a member, do I have to enter into a contract? How do I know I’ll save money?

For our program to achieve all the benefits, we do require that our participants be committed before the procurement takes place. However, we have the same concerns about “pre-committing” as you do. Our solution? We analyze each member’s accounts on an individual and aggregated basis to determine the threshold of savings and set a reasonable target or “strike price” we must achieve in a procurement. You get the chance to review the strike price and decide whether you wish to “opt-out”. Moreover, once the bid is conducted, if we don’t get favorable pricing that at a minimum meets our strike price no contract is awarded.

I’m still not sure. I get a lot of offers from various programs and marketers, why shouldn’t I just take one of those deals?

We know there’s a lot of marketing efforts in New Jersey. It’s important to have the backing of industry experts and legal counsel to avoid the very real penalties and pitfalls inherit to energy procurement. Remember, New Jersey law requires that a regulated procurement must take place for energy services. Your municipality can take on the legal, analytical and administrative headache of executing an energy procurement program on your own, or you can take advantage of NJ SEM and leave the work, and the expense to us.

 

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