The Champaign County Board of Commissioners is offering the opportunity for the residents in the unincorporated areas of Champaign County to save money on their utility costs by voting at the November election to start Electric and Natural Gas Aggregation Programs for residents and small businesses in the unincorporated parts of the county. The commissioners have passed resolutions to place two issues on the November 2, 2021 ballot. One will ask voters to approve an electric aggregation program and the other for voters to approve a natural gas aggregation program.
Ohio Law allows political subdivisions such as Champaign County (and townships and municipalities) to form aggregated buying groups to purchase electric generation and natural gas supply on behalf of their citizens. By bringing citizens together, through the county’s aggregation program, the residents of the unincorporated area of the county will be able to gain buying power and, thereby, be able to negotiate a better price for their electric and natural gas than each household would be able to individually.
Under Ohio law the aggregation program must be placed on the ballot and passed by a majority of voters before it can be established. Once passed, all eligible residents and small businesses (who use less than 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity or 500 MCF of natural gas) will be enrolled in the program and begin receiving the discounted energy prices under the program. Residents do not need to do anything to join the program. However, anyone who does not want to participate in the program can opt out in the beginning simply by returning a form that will be mailed to all eligible members or at any other time. There are absolutely no fees or cost for leaving the program at any time.
Residents in the program will still receive bills from AES Ohio (DP&L), Columbia Gas of Ohio or CenterPoint Energy of Ohio and will not receive a separate bill from their electric or natural gas supplier. After the program has been approved by the voters the Commissioners will hold two Public Hearings to explain the program and answer any questions there may be. When the contract has been reviewed and signed the supplier who won the contract will send out an opt out letter to all eligible citizens.
An aggregation program will not only provide the citizens of Champaign County with savings on their utility costs, but also peace of mind. Many citizens receive phone calls from suppliers or even are visited at their door by sales people looking to sign them up for different programs. Many times the terms of the these programs are long, technical, and confusing in nature and without careful review residents can be lead into a program that starts out with a very low rate that then balloons into a much higher rate after a few months and costs the person much more than they thought it would. These people usually do not call when the program is up and are unknowingly auto-renewed at a rate much higher than what their previous program was.
If approved by the voters, the Champaign County Commissioners are committed to providing electric and natural gas aggregation programs that offer significant savings below the “Price to Compare” for electricity and “Apples to Apples” for natural gas, at a fixed price, and with no hidden cost increases built in.
Any questions may be directed to Bob Snavely, Energy Consultant with Palmer Energy, at 419-491-1004.
Editor’s note: See accompanying story in today’s edition.