Liberty Township trustees have placed two measures on the Nov. 6 ballot — one for an opt-out electric aggregation program and one for an opt-out natural gas aggregation program.
Scott Belcastro, the principal owner of Trebel LLC Energy Services, met with Liberty Township residents in township hall on Oct. 1 to better explain the aggregation programs.
“All the big utilities had to take their (power) generation assets, coal plants or nuclear plants, and either sell them or place them in a subsidiary,” he said. “Basically, they are not supplying your power anymore. It is obtained through an auction process.”
Belcastro said the pricing of gas and electric are now set through the auction process and no longer based on generation. He said Trebel’s job is to find the lowest cost for gas and electric for the township through a bidding process. The lowest price is then locked in for three years.
“I’m not here offering promises,” he said. “My company has done an exceptional job of negotiating contracts that change the level of the playing field with the suppliers. As an example, in Genoa Township, we combined with three other townships, and we had the lowest rate that I’m aware of for 13 to 14 months.”
Belcastro said the rates are market rates, and “markets change depending on when you hit that market, and you may do better or worse. That is largely somewhat outside our control.”
Belcastro added if the resolutions are approved, Trebel will send an opt-out letter to the customers who are getting a variable rate from American Electric Power (AEP) and Columbia Gas, giving them a chance to stay with those utility companies if they so desire. He also said if a resident has already chosen an aggregation program on his or her own, he or she will not be switched to the Trebel program.
“We only send you an opt-out letter if you’re receiving electric or gas from the utility company,” he said. “If you have your own program that you have chosen, you remain with that supplier. We do not remove you from that program. You have 21 days to opt-out.”
However, if voters approve the resolution, all of the residents of the unincorporated areas of Liberty Township will be switched to the Trebel pricing unless they have either opt-out or are already participating in a different aggregation program.
“There are multiple ways to opt-out,” Belcastro said.
Residents of the city of Powell are not eligible for the aggregation programs.
Belcastro said if approved by voters, the aggregation programs only include the residents in the unincorporated areas of Liberty Township. He said if a resident decides he or she wants out beyond the opt-out period, there is “no early termination” fee.
“I pushed really hard to have no early termination fees,” he said. “If you’re offered a better rate, you’re welcome to go do it.”
Belcastro said it will take “six to nine months to get the programs up and running.” He said the only cost to the township would be “placing a notice in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks,” which is required by law. Trebel pays for all costs to implement and maintain the programs for the length of the contract.
“For the record, none of the trustees have asked me for any money through the program,” Belcastro said.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Belcastro said Trebel is paid by the power companies, but he had “no idea” what the amount was because it is based on the number of members in the program.
Currently, Trebel has contracts with several other townships in Delaware County.
Ballot language for natural gas aggregation states, “Shall Liberty Township, Delaware County, Ohio have the authority to aggregate the retail natural gas loads located in the unincorporated areas of Liberty Township, and for that purpose, enter into service agreements to facilitate for those loads the sale and purchase of natural gas, such aggregation to occur automatically except where any person elects to opt out? A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.”
Ballot language for electric aggregation states, “Shall Liberty Township, Delaware County, Ohio have the authority to aggregate the retail electric loads located in the unincorporated areas of Liberty Township, 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? A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.”
According to the Trebel LLC website, the company is a “licensed energy consulting company serving commercial, governmental, small business and residential clients primarily throughout the deregulated energy markets,” and helping “clients lower their energy supply cost.”
Trebel was founded September 2010.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.