Electric and gas aggregation levies on county ballots

Staff report

SCIOTO — Voters will have the opportunity to choose if they think Scioto County should partake in an electric and gas aggregation program.

The Scioto County Board of Commissioners will be offering the opportunity for the residents in the unincorporated areas of Scioto County to save money on their utility costs by voting at the November election to start Electric and Natural Gas Aggregation Programs for residents and small businesses in the unincorporated parts of the county.

The commissioners passed resolutions Oct. 7 to place two issues on the November 2, 2021 ballot. One will ask voters to approve an electric aggregation program and the other for voters to approve a natural gas aggregation program.

An aggregation program is authorized by Ohio law and is a way for a large group of consumers to potentially save money on their electric or natural gas bills. Ohio Law allows political subdivisions such as Scioto County (and townships and municipalities) to form aggregated buying groups to purchase electric generation and natural gas supply on behalf of their citizens. By bringing citizens together, through the county’s aggregation program, the residents of the unincorporated area of the county will be able to gain buying power and, thereby, be able to negotiate a better price for their electric and natural gas than each household would be able to individually.

Under Ohio law the aggregation program must be placed on the ballot and passed by a majority of voters before it can be established. if passed, all eligible residents and small businesses (who use less than 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity or 500 MCF of natural gas) will be enrolled in the program and begin receiving the discounted energy prices under the program.

Residents will not need to do anything to join the program. However, anyone who does not want to participate in the program can opt out in the beginning simply by returning a form that will be mailed to all eligible members or at any other time if voter vote to pass the levy. There will be absolutely no fees or cost for leaving the program at any time. Those who are on a fixed monthly payment plan or PIPP plan will be recommended not to join the aggregation program since they are already getting the lowest rate they can.

Residents in the program will still receive bills from AEP or Columbia Gas of Ohio and will not receive a separate bill from their electric or natural gas supplier. If the program has been approved by the voters, the Commissioners will hold two Public Hearings to explain the program and answer any questions there may be. When the contract has been reviewed and signed the supplier who won the contract will send out an opt out letter to all eligible citizens.

The Scioto County Commissioners are members of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) Energy Program. The program is managed by Palmer Energy, an independent consultant to the CCAO who by contract is prohibited from having any relationship with any supplier, marketer or broker in the energy industry. Palmer Energy has been certified for over 20 years by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as a competitive electric and natural gas service provider (CRES and CRNGS).

If approved by the voters, the Scioto County Commissioners are committed to providing electric and natural gas programs that offer significant savings below the “Price to Compare” for electricity and “Apples to Apples” for natural gas, at a fixed price, and with no hidden cost increases built in.

Staff report