Energy Attorney Agrees To Advise Local Aggregation Effort

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An attorney who specializes in energy and public utility law has been engaged by the Athens County Commissioners to provide advice on electric aggregation.

Glenn Krassen is a partner in the law firm of Bricker & Eckler, and his services will be paid for by the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council. Krassen is attorney for the council, which is the largest governmental aggregator in the U.S., serving 10 Ohio counties.

“This guy has got a lot of valuable experience,” Commissioner Chris Chmiel said. “That kind of experience, when you are in negotiations, is really valuable.”

Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council — an entity formed by Athens County and the city of Athens — is in the process of putting together an electric aggregation program for the city and unincorporated areas of the county. Aggregation is a process by which residents band together to get better utility rates.

Recently, Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council accepted rate proposals from energy suppliers. Companies were asked to provide their rates, as well as how they would assist with promoting energy conservation and renewable energy projects.

Chmiel said the company that quoted the lowest rate was not the company that provided the best proposals for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The hope is to negotiate with the two companies and meld those two proposals together, Chmiel said.

Krassen will provide advice during the negotiations, according to Chmiel.

Chmiel said Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council has been looking at the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council as a model for electric aggregation. The Messeneger was unable Tuesday to reach a NOPEC official for comment on why the organization agreed to pay the legal fees.

Assistant County Prosecutor John Haseley is assisting the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council. The county’s agreement with Bricker & Eckler says the firm will advise the prosecutor’s office and the county regarding the electricity aggregation contracts with energy companies, and on creating a regional council of governments.

Chmiel has said that creating a council of governments will provide a mechanism for allowing other communities to join Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council more easily.

Amesville has indicated it wants to join, and voters in Jacksonville, Trimble and Buchtel will consider November ballot issues that would authorize aggregation. Officials in those villages have also indicated a desire to join the local energy council.