City officials in Urbana have approved resolutions to allow residents to vote to join larger scale bulk buying groups to negotiate lower electricity supply rates. If approved by the electorate on the May 8th primary ballot, Urbana residents will join a bulk buying group comprised of neighboring communities such as Sidney, Bellefontaine, Greenville, West Milton, Ft. Loramie, Bradford, Covington, Anna, Ansonia, Belle Center, DeGraff, Quincy, Wayne Lakes, Russia, Botkins, Jeffersonville, Coldwater and Fort Recovery. Each of those communities have previously and overwhelmingly approved similar ballot questions and have seen electric supply rates negotiated for residents significantly below current DP&L rates.
The process is known as Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and allows communities the ultimate control over their electricity rates by allowing a non-obligatory, bulk shopping option. If approved by a simple majority, Affordable Gas + Electric (AGE), the community’s consultant in the matter, will run a bid process featuring multiple suppliers who have already expressed their interest in vying to serve the community in bulk. If a winning bid is chosen, all eligible residents will automatically be included in the new lower rates. Any resident who wishes to continue shopping on their own, or has already made a choice on their own, will be able to continue to do so on their own with no penalty in doing so. With CCA, a resident has complete freedom to choose the rate negotiated through the bulk purchasing group, or they can opt-out without penalty and choose a rate on their own. If at any point during a current rate period, a resident wishes to begin participating in the “city-wide” negotiated rate, they would be able to join mid-term as well.
“Aggregation is the ultimate in customer choice” said Jeff Haarmann, Managing Partner of AGE. “Residents maintain total control over their electricity rates, however, by approving the ballot question, Urbana residents will give themselves another rate choice to choose from…a choice that has proven to deliver the lowest rates, for the longest terms, from the most qualified suppliers in the industry.”
Haarmann added that community choice aggregation is not a city or “government” program. The City is allowing the residents this opportunity to negotiate as a community for lower rates. The city’s role is only to allow the facilitation of the filings with PUCO, but AGE handles the bulk rate negotiations and all filings on behalf of each of the Cities and Villages it represents throughout western Ohio. AGE’s residential buying group of 20 communities is the largest group of assembled communities in the DP&L utility area.
Two public hearings with the Rules of Operation and Governance that will guide the CCA will be held prior to the election so residents will be able to see exactly what they are voting for. Additionally, residents can visit www.AffordableElectricRates.com for frequently asked questions and a short video explaining how aggregation works.