When Delaware residents submit their ballots for the Nov. 8 general election, they will have the opportunity to decide the fate of a citywide electricity aggregation program that would allow the city to negotiate for electricity on residents’ and businesses’ behalf.
Since 2000, state law has allowed local governments to muster bulk purchasing power for their residents through aggregation. More than 400 counties, cities, and townships across Ohio have entered into aggregation programs for electricity or gas.
Delaware City Council voted to approve an ordinance on Aug. 11 containing the ballot language that was then submitted to the Delaware County Board of Elections. During that meeting, a lengthy discussion was held among council members regarding the specific wording of the ballot language and what message it should convey to the public.
Ultimately, it was decided the question posed to voters on the ballot will read, “Shall the City of Delaware have the authority to aggregate the retail electric loads located in the City of Delaware and, for that purpose, enter into service agreements to facilitate for those loads the sale and purchase of electricity, such aggregation to occur automatically except where any person elects to opt out?”
While much of the talk during the Aug. 11 meeting centered around renewable energy, council members were unable to identify a path forward with the ballot language as it pertains to renewable energy in an aggregation program. However, the prospect of saving residents money through the program remained, and council moved forward with the ballot measure as a potential cost-saving move serving as the primary focus.
Should the program be approved by voters, the city would be allowed to form a buying group on behalf of its citizens “with the intent that a larger buying group may acquire better pricing and more favorable terms and conditions for the citizens than if the citizens would shop on their own,” according to the city.
Residents will not be required to participate in the program should it be approved, however. Every resident would receive a letter asking whether or not they wish to be included in the program. If that answer is no, residents can opt out of the program with no penalty and will be free to pursue their own deals.
For those who would opt into the program, each monthly bill would still come from the energy provider, just as it does currently.
Although council was unable to come to an agreement on how renewable energy could fit into the ballot language, the city still aims to support the use of renewable energy in the program if it’s approved.
“Aggregation allows us not only to bargain for a lower rate but also demand a better product,” the city said. “Delaware could contract with a utility that can supply renewable energy if it lowers the cost of service for customers.”
For more information on the proposed aggregation program, visit www.delawareohio.net/government/city-hall/aggregation.