Updated Wed, Jul 23, 2014 9:59 am
An organization formed by Athens and Athens County to pursue electric aggregation took a key step Tuesday, sending out a request for electricity price quotes and related services.
The Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council was formed after voters in Athens and the unincorporated areas of Athens County approved electric aggregation last fall. Aggregation is the process by which customers pool together to get lower rates.
Roger Wilkens, the council’s consultant, said the request for proposals was sent to 10 companies that have expressed interest, as well as to 30-40 others.
A draft version was sent out earlier that resulted in some minor revisions, Wilkens said.
Companies are being asked to provide a letter by July 28 indicating their intent to respond to the request for proposals. The proposals are due Aug. 22.
Two-year and three-year proposals are being sought.
In addition to asking for price quotes for electricity produced through conventional methods, quotes are being sought that include 25 percent, 50 percent and 100 percent renewable energy.
Also, companies are being asked whether they will allow customers to “opt in” to pay a premium to have a higher percentage of renewable energy.
Those responding to the request for proposals are being invited to propose a program that will encourage people and small businesses to take steps to improve energy efficiency.
Also, greater consideration will be given to companies providing power from renewable energy sources in Athens County and/or Southeastern Ohio.
Voters in both Athens and Athens County endorsed “opt out” aggregation, meaning that electricity customers can decide not to participate in the aggregation program. The request for proposals specifies that there not be a fee charged for opting out.
Companies are being asked to explain how they would provide a number of services, such as conducting the opt-out process, responding to customer inquiries, public education and giving status reports to the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council.
A copy of the request for proposals has been posted on the county’s website at www.co.athensoh.org and also can be viewed on The Messenger’s website at athensohiotoday.com.
Voters in Amesville approved aggregation in May, and the villages of Trimble, Buchtel and Jacksonville are placing it on the November ballot. Officials have indicated their intent would be to join the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council.