. . . $15 Billion and counting!
Some southeast Ohio voters will see a ballot initiative this November 2017 to decide whether to pass electric aggregation.
This campaign is being led by the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council as they educate communities (Perry County (unincorporated), Shawnee, New Straitsville, Coolville, and Chauncey) about local electric aggregation measures.
When you read your electric bill, the first thing you will notice are the various charges that add up to give you a total amount due. You’ll almost always find a service charge for generation, transmission, and distribution. The utility that delivers your electricity will also have various “riders” that get mixed in to the total cost – in Perry County, for example, these electric utilities are AEP Ohio and South Central Power. Of all these charges, the most important to you is the generation charge.
Back in 1999, Ohio made an interesting move to allow electricity customers like you and me to purchase electricity from any supplier we choose. Customers could now choose to buy energy from Certified Retail Electric Suppliers (CRES) instead of automatically receiving it from the utility company in their area. What this means is customers could now “shop” for their own generation price.
That brings us to today. If you live in Ohio and sign-up to receive electricity from your utility, you will automatically be given a generation price by your utility. The automatic generation price you’ll be given is called the Standard Service Offer (SSO), and this may also appear on your electric bill as the Price-to-Compare. If you don’t want the automatic SSO price, you can shop for a better rate on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s Apples-to-Apples website. With the Apples-to-Apples tool, you can easily compare prices, contract terms and other differences in generation price plans.
Most people don’t have time to shop for a generation price and appreciate having a price automatically given to them when they open an electricity account. However, that price you’re given is usually ten percent higher than prices you can find on the Apples-to-Apples website.
One way to get a better default generation price for select southeast Ohio communities is possible with something called electric aggregation, a fancy word that also means buying electricity as a community.
On November 7th, residents who live in unincorporated Perry County and the villages of Shawnee, New Straitsville, Coolville, and Chauncey have a chance to make this possible by voting to have their local government – the Mayor, Township Trustees, Village Councils — purchase electric power for all the community’s residents, businesses, and government buildings.
So far, 345 communities in Ohio have passed electric aggregation on their local ballots. Over the last 5 years, communities have saved over $15 billion by either shopping around or having their local government purchase power for them through electric aggregation. Aggregation replaces the automatic generation price given to you by your utility with a new generation price that was negotiated by an electric supplier and your elected officials.
Thanks to this tool, which could be available to new communities in Perry County and Athens County with enough votes, 42% of residential customers across Ohio have saved money on their electric bills by avoiding the utility’s automatic price. Somerset in Perry County has already passed electric aggregation and has joined the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC) to purchase power in partnership with other local governments in southeast Ohio.
After Somerset’s ballot measure passed, 419 residential and business accounts will save more than $25,000 each year. That means every electricity account (customer) enrolled in Somerset’s Electric Aggregation saved somewhere between $50 to $60 over the last 12-month period.
Electric aggregation lowers the price customers pay for the generation charge on their bill during periods when they are not enrolled with a retail energy supplier. That’s it. Period.
Now that you know the facts, we encourage you to get out on November 7th and vote.