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Co-op pledges to cut fuel bills for members

WARRENSBURG - A new cooperative purchasing operation based in the Capital District has now expanded into the Warrensburg-Lake George region.

Galway Co-op is now seeking customers in northern Warren County, and they are pledging the lowest possible prices for propane, trash removal and by later this year, heating fuel.

Co-op founder Michael Casadei cited instances in which Co-op members routinely purchase propane at 20 to 25 percent off prevailing prices, and in some cases, 70 to 75 percent lower.

"The bottom line is, with our membership we have a two-million-gallon buying power per year for propane, so we can offer a significantly lower price," he said.

Homeowners and businesses join for an annual administrative fee of $35, then get the advantage of buying fuel at the lowest possible mark-up from wholesale prices, he said.

Galway Co-op prices aren't illusory promotional prices that jump upward after an initial period, he said. Also, the Co-op has low, competitive rates for service, he said.

In addition, the co-op offers protection against prices that jump without reason, he said, citing propane providers in the area that boost prices to whatever they think they can get out of particular customers - a practice that has been investigated by area news organizations, Casadei said.

"Propane prices can be all over the board," he said. "Propane providers can charge whatever they want whenever they want, and they don't have to give you a reason why."

In contrast, Galway Co-op publicizes the prevailing wholesale and retail prices of propane to keep their customers properly informed about price fluctuations, he said.

The co-op also offers to their members a 30 percent discount off list price for trash removal through County Waste in the firm's service territory.

Casadei is now negotiating a partnership with a fuel oil supplier for delivery of heating fuel at discount rates. Also, he is looking towards offering discount electricity, food and other essential services through cooperative buying.

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