Ballot measures would allow for electrical and gas aggregation

High VoltageBATAVIA, Ohio (July 27, 2015) — Clermont County residents may be able to get lower electrical and natural gas rates if voters approve two ballot measures in November that would establish a governmental aggregation program for each utility.

Clermont County Commissioners voted to put the measures on the Nov. 3 ballot at their July 22 session.

The programs, if approved, would be for residents and small businesses in unincorporated areas of the county. They would both include an opt-out provision.

Ohio law allows for communities – counties, township, cities, etc. – to form aggregated buying groups to buy electric generation on behalf of their citizens. “By bringing citizens together, the aggregation gains group buying power and typically can negotiate a better price with the supplier … the governmental aggregator chooses the electric generation supplier for all of the customer-members in its group,” according to the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO), which guides counties through this process.

“Currently in Ohio, 23 counties and more than 100,000 households and businesses have been guided through CCAO,” said Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners.  “Aggregation through CCAO’s guidance has allowed customers to save $12 million a year in utility charges. We’d like to bring those savings to Clermont County.”

“We think this is a win-win for our residents,” said Commissioner Bob Proud. “If these programs are approved, residents should be able to save on both their electric and gas bills.”

Added Commissioner David Uible: “The guidance offered through CCAO gives our citizens the advantages of group buying and lower prices. We want to offer voters the opportunity to get those discounts.”

If either or both programs are approved in November, it would be at least five months before consumers would be able to switch to the aggregated program. Among other things, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio would have to certify a plan for each, and an RFP would be issued to select a vendor to provide the generation service.

In Clermont County, voters have approved electrical and gas aggregation in Miami Township and Loveland.