Village Schools

Issue 16 could lower rates

This is the first in a series of articles on state and county issues on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Miami Township residents could save around $100 per year on electricity if a Greene County ballot issue passes in November, according to a consultant with the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio.

By voting yes on Issue 16, the county-wide electricity aggregation measure, voters in Miami Township would be agreeing to let the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio negotiate with and select an electricity supplier on their behalf. Currently Dayton Power & Light and Ohio Edison supply electricity in the township.

The measure applies only to unincorporated areas within Greene County so Yellow Springs residents will not vote on the issue. Because the Village owns its electric system, it cannot participate in government electric aggregation programs.

Township Trustee Chris Mucher is urging Miami Township residents to vote yes.

“This is a program driven by the county commissioners to save consumers of Greene County money on their utility bills,” Mucher said, adding that larger industries, such as Morris Bean, would save significant amounts.

If the measure passes by a majority vote, Miami Township residents would be automatically enrolled in the program, in which electricity providers bid for a contract directly with the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio. However, households have the choice to opt out of the program for three years if they want to continue with their current electricity provider or if they want to select a supplier of their own. Township residents will be notified if the measure passes and can opt out by returning a postcard.

Township residents will still pay Dayton Power & Light or Ohio Edison, which own the electric lines, to distribute their electricity.

The County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio has been pushing for government aggregation in the wake of electricity deregulation, which became Ohio law in 2001.

“It’s pooling resources in masses to cooperatively get better rates,” said Bill Bradish, a consultant with the county commissioners’ association. Aggregation increases buying power, so negotiated rates are typically lower, he said.

Dayton Power & Light’s current electric rate plan and distribution rates are frozen until the end of 2012, after which rates will likely rise. But by participating in a government aggregation program, Bradish said, “you can always expect to have a discounted rate” even if rates increase overall.

The County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio hopes to spearhead a similar initiative to aggregate natural gas purchasing, as that industry was also recently deregulated. In that case, the Village of Yellow Springs could pursue a government aggregation ballot initiative to reduce its residents’ natural gas rates.

Sixty-five government entities in the state are voting on electric aggregation this November and if the measures pass (they have a 90 percent success rate), about half of the state’s counties will be participating in electricity aggregation, Bradish said.

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