Columbus voters to decide on energy aggregation

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Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, along with other city, energy and community leaders, announced the selection of a preferred electricity supplier, kicking off the community choice aggregation initiative as part of the city’s goal for 100 percent clean energy by 2022 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.

“Community choice aggregation and a commitment to 100 percent clean, renewable energy will transform our energy future and are key components to helping us achieve environmental justice and equity, so that all residents in central Ohio – and our children and generations to come – are protected from the impacts of climate change,” said Ginther. “This effort will drive workforce development and job creation in the clean-energy sector for our city, region and the whole state of Ohio.”

Community choice aggregation allows local governments to procure power from an alternative supplier on behalf of their residents and small businesses, who haven’t chosen a supplier, while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing electric distribution company. In Columbus, most residents are served by AEP Ohio as the electric distribution company.

The city held a public, competitive bidding process this summer to select a preferred generation supplier for the intended aggregation program. AEP Energy was selected as the preferred supplier due to their ability to meet the goal of clean, renewable energy from local renewable resources. Residents will continue to receive electric distribution service and a single bill from AEP Ohio.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the city of Columbus to develop an innovative program that will power the city with 100 percent renewable energy and support the city’s overall environmental and social goals, including helping ensure that all Columbus residents benefit from clean energy investments,” said Scott Slisher, chief solutions officer, AEP Energy and president, AEP OnSite Partners.

Trebel, the city’s energy consultant for aggregation, helped select AEP Energy and is assisting the city in all aspects of implementing the intended aggregation program. Trebel has implemented over 157 aggregations behind nine different utilities, using eight different suppliers in Ohio.

The city of Columbus placed community choice aggregation on the Nov. 3 ballot in order for residents to have the opportunity to vote on an aggregation program. Participation in community choice aggregation is voluntary and residents can opt-out at any time.

The city is committed to sourcing clean energy as locally as possible which will aid in transforming Ohio’s energy landscape. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only 11 percent of electricity in Ohio was powered by wind and solar last year. AEP Energy proposes to add wind and solar generation in Ohio to serve Columbus citizens.

“Electric aggregation is essentially collective bargaining for energy purchasing. By banding together, the residents of Columbus have more collective power than they do on their own. Using this power we have a huge opportunity to provide competitive electricity rates, move towards 100 percent renewable energy sources and help support clean energy jobs in our region. I look forward to working with AEP Ohio to achieve these goals.” said Columbus City Councilman Rob Dorans.

Columbus City Council will hold a virtual public hearing on the community choice aggregation process on Sept. 2, at 5:30 p.m.

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