2011-12-03 / News

Village to seek electric power discounts

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE – Almost everyone should be able to save some money, Buckeye Energy Brokers, Inc. president Thomas Bellish told village council Monday night.

Buckeye Lake Village Director of Development Daniel Coffman has been working with Bellish to try to protect the village from possible AEP rate hikes through a governmental aggregation program. Simply put, Coffman said previously that Buckeye Energy Brokers could guarantee customers’ electric bill would be eight percent below whatever AEP’s rates are for the next two and a half years.

Customers would have the option to join, or “opt in,” to the program until Dec. 15.

Monday night, council members approved an ordinance to give Mayor Rick Baker the right to enter into contract with Buckeye Energy, said Coffman. He said the contract states that Buckeye Energy will contact various suppliers of retail power to find the lowest rate possible. “Once Buckeye Energy gets the results, they will prepare a presentation to a special meeting of council to select an offering,” said Coffman. He expects council to choose a supplier that would provide the highest discount for the longest period of time for village residents.

Bellish said the village needs to act quickly because AEP is only offering a very limited amount of discounted electricity to private brokers, and it’s sold on a first come, first serve basis. Whoever signs onto the program first receives the discount. Otherwise, the customer may have to wait until 2015, when AEP will offer all the power it generates to private brokers.

The ordinance only allows Buckeye Energy to begin looking for the best price among the various venders, but council has yet to approve actually purchasing power from these vendors.

Bellish clarified that an opt in program does not require a public vote, although an opt out program, where everyone is signed onto the plan and anyone not wanting to be involved must take action to do so, requires a vote. He said for the proposed opt in program, if a resident signs up for the program but changes his or her mind, Buckeye Energy would pay the fee for dropping out of the program.

“This is an individual choice,” said Coffman. He said someone who is already part of an energy discount program would not choose to opt into the Buckeye Energy program.

Council member Arleta Ruton asked if the village was receiving any money from the program.

“It’s just an option,” said Bellish, but the village could receive $10 when a customer signs onto the plan, which Bellish predicted would serve 1,000 local customers. “It’s really up to you,” he said.

“Any kickbacks in the contract should go to the residents, not the village,” said council member Jeryne Peterson. Coffman said the village could sacrifice the $10 per customer, and push residents’ savings to closer to nine percent.

Council President Charlene Hayden was clear that should the village complete its contract with Buckeye Energy, residents will not be required to sign onto the program, although those who are interested would need to act quickly once it’s available.

Coffman said the village would not work with Buckeye Energy for natural gas savings this year because of the urgency to acquire electricity. However, the village may pursue discounted natural gas in the future.

In other village news:

• Hayden said the OSU students who visited last month to create a master growth and development plan for Buckeye Lake Village will present their findings at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Knowlton Hall, Room 175 at OSU main campus, near the corner of Tuttle Park and Woodruff streets.

• Hayden reminded council members about the Community Christmas Celebration from 1 - 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, in the Z’s Market parking lot next to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church on Ohio 79.

“The (Community Christmas Celebration Committee) always needs help giving out coats and toys and help with serving the food and drinks that day,” she said. Prospective volunteers should contact Buckeye Lake Museum Director J-me Braig at (740) 929-1998.

“Also, remember that our fire department has a drive for donations to help needy families and to get toys for our Buckeye Lake children,” said Hayden. “I’m sure it isn’t too late to donate to that cause.”

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