Council selects firm for aggregation


Delaware City Council authorized City Manager Tom Homan to enter into an agreement with Energy Alliances on Monday to serve as the city’s electric aggregation consultant and broker for the upcoming aggregation program.

Residents voted to approve the aggregation ballot measure last November, which authorized council to form a governmental aggregation program for the purchase of electricity on behalf of Delaware residents. Now, the city has identified who will be at the helm to identify the best rates for those residents.

City staff interviewed three firms to potentially serve the city, ultimately deciding on Cincinnati-based Energy Alliances. The firm has experience in central Ohio, currently serving as the city of Worthington’s consultant and broker for its own aggregation program.

That experience in Worthington, as well as the 40 communities Energy Alliances manages programs in around the state, factored heavily in the city’s decision to move forward with the firm. During the process of selecting a firm, city staff also met with Worthington City Manager Matt Greeson, who shared positive feedback on Worthington’s experience with the firm.

During Monday’s meeting, Energy Alliances Chief Operating Officer Rich Surace was on hand to discuss the program and what it could mean for both residents who choose it and those who decide to opt out.

“There looks like there are going to be some pretty significant increases to rates for those who take AEP’s standard service offer that will come into play this upcoming June,” Surace said. “The utility does run two auctions a year — one in the fall and one in the spring — for the upcoming June to the following May.

“They ran their first one this past fall, and to kind of put it into perspective, the default rate for residential customers here in AEP is around 6.74 cents. The first auction cleared at 12 cents. They’re going to run another one here in March. It does look like things will be a little bit lower than that, but right now, all the indications are higher than 10 cents — potentially at 11 cents — is what’s going to hit residents for those that choose to take AEP’s default service.”

Surace went on to say that, given the timing of the program coming online, customers who participate in the aggregation program would likely see one month of the “very high” AEP bill before getting a “pretty significant decrease” on their second bill when the aggregation program is underway.

“The way that the market is currently structured, we feel very comfortable that we’ll be able to offer some substantial savings compared to AEP, or the utility, that is. We’re excited to get that up and running,” he said.

Surace was asked by Mayor Carolyn Riggle whether or not there is any way to speed up the implementation process so that residents can avoid seeing the costly June bill prior to the aggregation program starting. He responded by saying the timeline is already “very aggressive,” with considerable waiting periods built into the process due to regulations, as well as preparation time for things such as the opt-out letters that will be sent to residents.

He also noted there will be a 21-day period for residents to decide whether or not to opt out of the program once the letters have been sent, which also serves to delay the start of the program.

“Part of me doesn’t want them to see that high June bill, but part of me does because then they’ll realize what a good thing it is by us doing this. So, it’s kind of bittersweet,” Riggle said.

With the partnership between the city and Energy Alliance now in place, the next step for the city is to hold the first of two public meetings for the plan of operations and governance of the program. By the end of the week, multiple notices of the meetings will have been made public by the city, and the first meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.

The second meeting will be held the following day at 2 p.m. in City Hall.

A resolution is expected to be on the Jan. 23 council agenda for acceptance of the plan of operations and governance, and from there, Energy Alliances will undergo the 30-day process of certifying the program through the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Should the timeline remain on track, the program will be implemented in June and go into effect beginning with the July bill.

Pictured are power lines on the west side of Delaware. On Monday, Delaware City Council took the next step in the process to provide electric aggregation to residents. are power lines on the west side of Delaware. On Monday, Delaware City Council took the next step in the process to provide electric aggregation to residents. Joshua Keeran | The Gazette
Program expected to be implemented in June

By Dillon Davis

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Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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