Residents set to vote on Clean Energy Choice Ballot Initiative

By Derrick C. Parker - For The Daily Times

PORTSMOUTH – Portsmouth residents are set to vote on the Proposed Electric Aggregation Ordinance, also known as the Clean Energy Choice Ballot Initiative, in the upcoming November election.

The ordinance reads: “Shall the City of Portsmouth have the authority to aggregate the retail electric loads located within the incorporated areas of the City of Portsmouth, and for that purpose, enter into service agreements to facilitate for those loads the sale and purchase of electricity, such aggregation to occur automatically except where any person elects to opt out?”

If passed, the ordinance would allow the City of Portsmouth and City Manager Sam Sutherland to negotiate with utility providers to obtain bulk purchase rates for electricity on behalf of residents and businesses through a program called Community Choice Aggregation. Since Ohio is a deregulated state, citizens can join together in the program and use their collective buying power to drive down the overall cost of electricity – and also – select a provider who utilizes clean energy.

“City Council passed a resolution to reduce our carbon emissions by 2030,” explained 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne. “The government in Portsmouth is showing we are more than just hot air and empty words. We are moving forward with this and other projects with the goal of making the City more green. And we are doing so while dropping rates.”

According to Dunne, the Clean Energy Choice ballot initiative would save customers money, cut carbon emissions, have no impact to low income customers on PIPP programs, and even help with future grant funding.

If passed, the ballot initiative also allows Portsmouth residents to opt-out of the program. This means they can keep their current energy provider and rates.

Thus far, over 400 communities in Ohio have passed similar legislation for electric aggregation programs. Cities, counties, townships, and villages across the buckeye state have created their own aggregate purchasing groups, taken bids from potential energy suppliers, and used the process to get the best deal for their entire community – all while reducing their carbon footprint.

“Each time I talk to residents about this I say do this for ‘green reasons’,” explained Dunne. “It’s either green because it’s environmentally friendly, or, it’s green because it will save you money on your utility bills.”

“This is honestly a hard one ballot initiative to say no to. Would you rather buy an expensive soda at a Bengals game or buy it at Sam’s Club at a wholesale cost? It’s a no brainer.”

By Derrick C. Parker

For The Daily Times