JACKSONTOWN – Trustees heard a presentation on electric aggregation from Joe Garrett, aggregation specialist with Trebel LLC Tuesday night.
Licking Township Trustee President Joe Harts aid trustees made no decision of whether to hire Trebel to represent the township in search of cheaper electricity costs for AEP customers. “This was the first time he even visited us,” he said. “There was no real discussion among the trustees.”
“Ohio is a deregulated state,” Garrett told trustees, which means electricity customers can purchase from any company the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved to sell it. With this in mind, Garrett said Trebel has the ability to represent the township in finding the best rate for power for Licking Township’s AEP customers. However, first the trustees must approve hiring Trebel LLC to do so, and the issue of whether to collectively purchase electric power must first be approved by township voters. If trustees decide to hire Trebel, Garrett said the vote would likely be on the November ballot, not the May ballot.
Neighboring Union Township executed a no-cost consulting contract with Trebel early last year. Voters approved electric aggregation last May. This week, Union Township Trustees approved a two-year fixed rate contract with Interstate Gas Supply, Inc. of Dublin at 6.99 cents per kilowatt hour. Trebel solicted bids from PUCO-approved electric suppliers and recommended IGS to trustees. AEP customers in the unincorporated portions of the township should see the new rate on their bills covering April. Customers will have a no-cost opportunity to opt out of the IGS contract.
According to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, aggregation is when a group of customers join together to form a single, larger customer that buys energy for its members. A large buying group may be able to get a better price for the group members than residents could get on their own.
Ohio’s laws allow for communities – such as townships, cities and counties – to form the aggregated buying groups on behalf of their citizens. The governmental aggregator chooses an outside supplier for all of the customer members in its group. Aggregations can be formed to buy natural gas, electricity or both.
Garrett some people have a fear of “being duped,” or they fear their power will go out at some point. “This distributor, AEP, is still doing the lines,” he said. AEP is still responsible for the distribution system and billing.
Residents that already have selected another supplier, don’t have to give that up, Garrett said.
“Nobody’s going to take away your deal,” he said. “It’s your deal.”