Voters to see energy aggregation on the ballot

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By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Many communities are on board with an energy aggregation. Grove City wants to join the ranks.

At the Aug. 3 meeting, Grove City Council voted to submit an opt-out electric service aggregation program to the November ballot.

“This puts an initiative on the ballot that would give residents the option to have energy sourced by wind and solar,” said councilman Ted Berry. “We are trying to get away from coal and other heavy pollutants.”

According to AEP Energy, a community choice aggregation allows local governments to use its buying power on behalf of the residents and small businesses to purchase energy with the goal of obtaining better rates, more unique products (local wind and solar power) and favorable contract terms. If voters approve the measure, the city will reach a purchasing agreement with a supply company and each eligible household or business would be notified of the offer and decide whether to participate.

Chris Bailey, the director of community partnerships with AEP Energy, said the company is pulling a portfolio of wind and solar outlets in Ohio.

“If you combine wind and solar, it works well together,” said Bailey.

He believes the most cost-effective way to achieve reliable supply is by developing wind and solar projects in the state, which the company has already started.

The sustainability committee in Grove City has been working on this plan for a year.

Cathy Cowan Becker, a member of the committee, said, “This is an opportunity to build the world we want.”

She said there is widespread support for renewable energy, and she believes this aggregation is one step in the right direction to address climate change.

The city of Columbus will have an initiative on its ballot allowing voters to decide on aggregation. The city’s goal is to use 100 percent renewable energy and have much of it in place by 2022. Columbus will be conducting its own voter education campaign on aggregation. Grove City could benefit from this.

“Grove City has a unique opportunity to piggyback off of Columbus,” said Cowan Becker.

Much of the information presented to Columbus residents would filter to residents of Grove City.

Though this program would cover many residents and businesses in Grove City, not all would be eligible to participate.

According to AEP Energy, only residents and small businesses that use less than 700,000 kilowatts per hour are eligible to participate. Households that have existing third-party agreements or that are on percentage of income payment plans are not eligible for the program.

For Grove City, about two thirds of the community would be eligible for the community choice aggregation.

AEP Energy reports that aggregation programs can save residents and small business owners money on their energy bills. Exactly how much is yet to be determined. According to the company, Grove City could save about 3.5 percent, which amounts to approximately $188,000 per year.

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