MEIGS COUNTY — Meigs County voters will have the opportunity to decide on an electric aggregation ballot measure during the Nov. 8 general election.
But, what is electric aggregation and what would it mean for residents of Meigs County?
According to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO), aggregation is when a group of customers join together to form a single, larger customer which then buys energy (in this case electric) for its customers. The large group therefore has more buying power and may be able to get a better price.
In November 2013, voters in the village of Racine approved electric aggregations, while in the same election Pomeroy voters rejected it by a narrow margin. Pomeroy residents are in a gas aggregation program.
This time, the vote will be county-wide.
The commissioners approved placing electric aggregation on the ballot earlier this year, allowing the residents of the county to decide if the county should form a group to purchase electric. Should it be approved, the commissioners would make the final decision as to which electric provider would generate electricity for the residents of Meigs County. The decision would come after a process of securing bids from electric providers.
Should it be approved, Buckeye Rural customers would not be eligible for the program, as well as Racine residents as they are already covered under the village program.
The remaining Meigs County residents will be automatically enrolled in the program, unless the individual chooses to opt-out of the program. Should the program be approved, residents would receive a letter in the mail regarding the program which would include the opt-out form for those who do not wish to participate.
Commissioner Randy Smith explained that the county placed seven of its buildings in an electric aggregation program and has been saving money each month on its electric bills.
“I can’t see one bad thing with this,” said Smith of the electric aggregation measure on the ballot.
Approximately 18 months ago, the County Commissioners Association, to which the Meigs County Commissioners belong, hired Palmer Energy as a consulting firm to work with counties throughout the state to determine if aggregation was something that should be placed on the ballot and to help with the process should it be approved.
Smith explained that should voters approve aggregation in the November election Palmer Energy would help to secure bids for electric rates for the county, run notices related to the program, and assist with other steps to get the best rate.
Should an individual join the program, they will be sent a notice at least every three years asking if they wish to remain in the program. There is no cost to opt-out at that time.
For more information on aggregation visit the PUCO website at www.puco.ohio.gov.
Reach Sarah Hawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.