Residents in 16 Ottawa County townships and municipalities will decide Tuesday if they want to form a governmental purchasing group to buy electrical power.
Proposals to authorize trustees in 12 townships, council members in three villages, and city council in Port Clinton to enter into electrical aggregation agreements will be on the May 4 ballot.
“What we’re trying to do is get a savings for our residents,” said Wayne Fondessy, a member of Clay Center Village Council.
He said the idea for placing the measures on the ballot came up during the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments winter meeting in Perrysburg.
Ohio law allows communities to form aggregated buying pools on behalf of their residents to purchase natural gas and electrical power.
The proposals in Ottawa County would, if passed, establish “opt-out” aggregation – a program that automatically enrolls local residents unless they individually opt-out of the program.
Townships with the aggregation issue on Tuesday’s ballot include Allen, Bay, Benton, Carroll, Catawba, Clay, Danbury, Erie, Harris, Portage, Put-in-Bay, and Salem; villages include Clay Center, Marblehead, and Rocky Ridge. The City of Port Clinton is also on the ballot
“A supplier will be selected, which offers the best benefit for the consumer,” said Jim Sass, an Ottawa County commissioner. “Presently, FirstEnergy Solutions is offering a plan of 6 percent reduction for residential and 4 percent reduction for small commercial users off of the generation part of the electric bill, which typically is slightly less than half of the bill. When a supplier is selected, the consumers are notified, and if desired you may opt out.”
Under other opt-out regulations, local governments must:
• Establish a management plan and hold two or more public hearings to allow customers to voice any concerns about the plan.
• Notify each customer to be aggregated they will be automatically enrolled in the program unless they elect to not participate. The notification must include rates, charges, and other terms of enrollment. According to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, an opt-out notice is usually a letter accompanied by a post card to be mailed back, or phone number or website, if a resident or business owner doesn’t want to participate.
Electric aggregation customers may opt-out every three years.
On this ballot issue, Sass said, Ottawa County will serve as the governmental aggregator for the jurisdictions that pass the issue.
If the ballot issue fails in a township, for example, that township will not be able to participate in the aggregation process.
“The purpose of this process is to utilize the buying power of many to be able to negotiate a rate that is less than that received by individual consumers,” Sass said,
The villages of Genoa, Elmore, and Oak Harbor have their own municipal electric systems and purchase power through American Municipal Power – Ohio,
Other issues in area Ottawa County villages and townships that will be on the ballot include:
• Genoa Area Local School District voters will decide a 1 percent, 5-year income tax to be used for operating expenses.
• Village of Rocky Ridge voters will decide a 5-mill, 5-year replacement tax levy for the fire department.
• Voters county-wide will decide a 0.3-mill, 5-year renewal levy for services for senior citizens.
• Ottawa County voters living in the Woodmore School District will decide a 2.99-mill, 5-year emergency levy.