GALENA — Village voters will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to have an aggregation for the electric utility.
“Shall the Village of Galena have the authority to aggregate the retail electric loads located in the Village of Galena, 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?” said the ballot language.
In Delaware County, the municipalities of Columbus, Delaware, Dublin and Sunbury; along with Berlin, Brown, Concord, Delaware, Genoa, Harlem, Orange, Radnor and Troy townships all have electrical aggregation.
The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) said state law allows for local government aggregation of electricity or natural gas.
“An aggregator is a person or organization that brings a group of customers together,” PUCO’s website said. “A large buying group may be able to get better terms for the group members than you could get on your own. This “buying power” may also allow aggregators to negotiate for additional benefits for the group’s members such as consolidated billing, energy management services and energy use analysis. Ohio’s law allows for local government aggregation by cities, townships or counties, with “opt-in” or “opt-out” provisions for their consumers. All aggregators must be certified by the PUCO to make sure they are qualified to provide electricity or natural gas in Ohio.”
An opt-in aggregation permits residents to sign up to participate in it. However, Galena chose an opt-out aggregation, meaning all residents would be automatically enrolled in the program if the issue were to pass. They would not need to sign a contract. However, if they didn’t wish to participate, they would have to individually opt-out and choose a new supplier or remain with their local utility.
If the issue passes, “the local government must form a plan of operation and management,” PUCO said. “They must also hold at least two public hearings to allow consumers to voice any concerns over the proposed plan. Once the local government has adopted the plan, each consumer that is to be aggregated must be notified that they will be automatically enrolled in the program unless they specifically elect not to participate. This notification must also state the rates, charges, and other terms and conditions of enrollment in the program. The local government must allow anyone enrolled in the program an opportunity to opt-out. … For electric aggregation consumers, the opt-out is available every three years without paying a switching fee.”
The mailed notification typically gives customers two-three weeks to respond. PUCO also has a Do Not Aggregate list for those not interested in aggregating.
Residents who are enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (also known as PIPP Plus) would not be eligible for the aggregation, or those who “are already under individual contracts with suppliers as part of a customer choice program,” PUCO said.
For more information, visit puco.ohio.gov or call 800-686-PUCO.
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak photographs and reports on stories in eastern Delaware County and surrounding areas.