Electric Aggregation On the Ballot for Chauncey, Coolville< < Back to
The villages of Chauncey and Coolville may be the next two Athens County communities to join an electric aggregation program.
Both villages have an opt-out electric aggregation measure on the November ballot. If passed, residents of those villages will be automatically enrolled in the program unless they opt out.
The Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council will serve as both of the communities’ aggregator, defined as an organization that brings those groups of customers together. Like with other communities in the region who are part of electric aggregation programs, SOPEC will negotiate on behalf of the communities to reach better electric utility prices for customers if the measures pass.
The city of Athens, the villages of Amesville, Trimble, Buchtel and Albany, and the unincorporated areas of Athens County are part of an electric aggregation program. The village of Jacksonville voted in favor of an electric aggregation a few years ago, according to SOPEC Executive Director Eddie Smith, but the village has yet to install an aggregation program.
The village governments of Chauncey and Coolville are already part of an electric aggregation program with SOPEC. Councilwoman Tammy Hawk and Mayor Teresa Holsinger said their respective villages have saved money on utility bills by joining the aggregate.
If passed, electric aggregation won’t likely start for Chauncey or Coolville residents until the spring of 2018, Smith said. Residents will get a letter in the mail around that time to notify them to opt out of the program within the following 21 days, but Smith said residents can opt out whenever they want under SOPEC without any fees or hassles.
If a resident decides to opt out and signs up with a utility company on their own, the electric aggregation program will serve as a safety net for that resident to fall back on if necessary, Smith said.
“You can shop around anytime you want with aggregation in place and aggregation will still be there as a safety net for you should you ever leave your contract or are between contracts,” he said. “We’re just lowering the default price people pay without a contract.”
Some Ohio residents don’t know they can shop around for different utility services, Smith said. He added that without an electric aggregation program, those people who don’t shop around would be charged a set rate by the utility company that is 10-20 percent higher than they would pay if they were to shop around or join an aggregate group.
Smith said electric aggregation is also a way to protect elderly citizens who are often targeted through telephone marketing schemes to purchase utility plans that are more expensive.
According to www.energychoice.ohio.gov, customers who are already enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP Plus) are not eligible for the electric aggregation program. Smith said this is because those customers are already benefiting from electric aggregation because their monthly rate is fixed according to their incomes.
Right now, officials in Chauncey and Coolville are working to get the word out about the ballot measure and to help understand what electric aggregation is.
“I feel like it’s really important to vote for it because it’s a good opportunity for us to save some money,” Hawk said.
Holsinger said she thinks Coolville residents are interested in joining an electric aggregate program. The village has held public forums with Smith to help inform residents.
“I think there’s a lot of people who are interested, and a lot of them have been doing research and are pretty excited about it,” Holsinger said.
Chauncey will hold a public forum at the Friends Meeting House (22 Birge Drive) in Chauncey on Monday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. Hawk said food and refreshments will be provided.