West Carrollton is placing a measure on the ballot this November aimed at helping residents curb the rising cost of energy bills.
The state of Ohio is a deregulated energy market, giving communities and their residents the ability to choose whomever they want to supply their energy, both electricity and gas, according to city spokeswoman Heidi Van Antwerp.
“We get to determine who we buy it from just like we get to determine where we want to grocery shop,” Van Antwerp said to West Carrollton City Council during its regularly scheduled meeting July 11.
That means consumers can ‘shop around’ for the most competitive rates and programs in which they wish to participate, Van Antwerp said.
“By creating this aggregation program, we can help the residents buy in bulk,” she said. “Kind of like my previous grocery analogy, sometimes there are items that have more competitive pricing when they’re purchased in larger quantities. The same goes for electricity: An aggregation program can help us buy in bulk for our residents.”
AES, formerly DP&L, delivers electricity, maintains the lines and bills customers, but the actual energy itself gets purchased from different energy suppliers, who buy and build electricity supply.
West Carrollton City Council on Tuesday voted to approve an ordinance that would allow residents to decide if they wish to participate in the benefits of electricity deregulation. The ordinance also allows the city to enter into an agreement with a third-party broker that can negotiate and provide competitive electricity rates for residents and some small businesses.
“This has no cost to the city, we’re not paying anybody, and it has no cost to citizens,” she said. “They can be a part of the program or they can decided to be not a part of the program, but it does not cost them a dime to do so.”
If the measure is approved by voters, West Carrollton would select a broker, then enter into a service agreement with that broker, who in turn, will look at the best times to negotiate electricity rates for the city’s customers as a whole, Van Antwerp said.
The city can combine efforts with other cities, townships or political subdivisions across Ohio to maximize the “buying power” to get the most competitive rates.
“The more people that are going to be using this electricity ... the more competitive pricing we can get for our residents,” she said. “Once a rate is procured each qualifying resident or small business will automatically be entered into the program, so they will be to take part in the new rate.
All residents will have the ability opt-out of the program at any time at no cost. West Carrollton will hold informational sessions for residents this fall.