By Joseph Pratt
March 20, 2014
The Porter Township Board of Trustees had Margaret Apel-Miller speak on what she thought of four electrical service contracts that the township had received from possible contractors.
Apel-Miller is an assistant prosecutor and the legal representative of Porter Township. The service contracts would cover electricity Porter Township owned buildings. Until recently, Ohio Power primarily provided electrical service for all of Scioto County. Senate Bill 3 lifted the regulation of power companies in 1999. Porter Township began looking into electrical power bids around 6 months ago, when IGS Energy submitted a contract of possible service. Since the trustees accept bids on all services, they accepted contracts from bidding companies and have since reviewed them.
Of the four submitted, Apel-Miller found that only three qualified as acceptable under the township’s needs. The three contracts came from companies American Electric Power (AEP), IGS energy and Verde Electric Corporation.
IGS also wanted the Township to join a consortium and aggregate all township electrical service though their company, which would offer a discounted price for residents, but the trustees declined the offer.
Chairman Dave Hayden said that he has an expansive background in buying and selling power and believes that if the township aggregated their power, it could possibly lead to negative circumstances for the residents.
“There are a lot of issues with that, other than having it put on a ballot and having folks vote on it,” Hayden said. “The implication of individuals leaving a contract if they’re unsatisfied with it, how to take care of citizens if the company goes belly-up and issues like that; so, we just told him we weren’t interested in aggregation.”
Porter Township is, however, interested in signing a contract with IGS and will request more information from a representative. Hayden said that he would like for a representative to appear before a meeting of the trustees. They are not officially signing with anyone yet and are still keeping their prospects open.
“She (Apel-Miller) reviewed all the contracts and then made the recommendation of the only really one that was there,” Hayden said. “We will now probably approach IGS and see what kind of deal they can get us.”
Hayden said that Apel-Miller made the recommendation based off the simplicity of IGS’s contract and that it didn’t have some of the negative terms and penalties that the others had.
Apel-Miller still believes that the township is still early in the process and will need to explore the contracts more and that the trustees should discuss the liability of the company, because they currently want all liability waived. This could possibly mean trouble for the township, because if an issue should arise with their service, IGS wouldn’t be held responsible.
Hayden believes that the deregulation of power is ultimately a good thing for Porter Township residents.
“What it means for us is that we would be able to save the taxpayers a lot of money,” Hayden said. “Reduced electric rates will mean we save money over the course of a year by locking in a fixed rate.”
The township is currently at 0.7 cents a kilowatt hour and the IGS contract would be locked in at 0.6 cents a kilowatt hour. Hayden said that it might be a small difference, but ensures that over a period of time, it would add up to be a substantial save.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.