Written by Larry Limpf
May 14, 2010
An agreement for the collective purchasing of electrical power for residents and small businesses in 16 Ottawa County townships and municipalities could be in effect by the end of the summer, a county commissioner says.
Voters in the communities overwhelmingly supported ballot measures which authorize local elected officials to enter into electrical aggregations agreements and have the county represent them in negotiations with suppliers for service.
Jim Sass, a county commissioner, said the next step in the aggregation process is for the elected officials from each jurisdiction to approve resolutions allowing the county to represent them as a certified aggregator.
Townships that would be covered 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 part of the aggregated group.
By approving the ballot measures, voters agreed to establish what is called “opt-out” aggregation – a program that automatically enrolls local residents unless they individually opt-out of the program.
Program regulations also call for aggregators to prepare a management plan and hold at least two public hearings to field any concerns residents may have about the plan.
Each customer in aggregated jurisdictions must be notified they will be enrolled in the plan unless they choose to not participate.
Sass said the county will probably hold two hearings this summer – one each at the east and west ends of the county.
He said the County Commissioners Association of Ohio has a consultant agreement with Palmer Energy to evaluate bids from potential suppliers.
FirstEnergy Solutions has already placed an offer on the table that would lower the generation component of bills of its residential customers by 6 percent and small commercial users by 4 percent.
Noting that the aggregation issue passed in every township and municipality that had it on the May 4 ballot, Sass said he was “very pleased with that,” adding he was confident users would realize a savings on their electric bills.
The villages of Genoa, Elmore, and Oak Harbor have their own municipal electric systems and purchase power through American Municipal – Ohio.
Electrical aggregation ballot issues were also passed by 12 townships in Sandusky County and by six townships and three villages in Wood County. Voters in the Village of Walbridge also approved a ballot issue for the aggregation of natural gas.