Electric & Natural Gas Aggregation and Q&A

Press Release

10/7/2021

Q&A Download PDF

Press Release Download PDF

The Scioto County Board of Commissioners will be offering the opportunity for the residents in the unincorporated areas of Scioto County to save money on their utility costs by voting at the November election to start Electric and Natural Gas Aggregation Programs for residents and small businesses in the unincorporated parts of the county.  The commissioners passed resolutions today to place two issues on the November 2, 2021 ballot. One will ask voters to approve an electric aggregation program and the other for voters to approve a natural gas aggregation program.


Ohio Law allows political subdivisions such as Scioto County (and townships and municipalities) to form aggregated buying groups to purchase electric generation and natural gas supply on behalf of their citizens. By bringing citizens together, through the county’s aggregation program, the residents of the unincorporated area of the county will be able to gain buying power and, thereby, be able to negotiate a better price for their electric and natural gas than each household would be able to individually.  


Under Ohio law the aggregation program must be placed on the ballot and passed by a majority of voters before it can be established. Once passed, all eligible residents and small businesses (who use less than 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity or 500 MCF of natural gas) will be enrolled in the program and begin receiving the discounted energy prices under the program. Residents do not need to do anything to join the program. However, anyone who does not want to participate in the program can opt out in the beginning simply by returning a form that will be mailed to all eligible members or at any other time. There are absolutely no fees or cost for leaving the program at any time.


Residents in the program will still receive bills from AEP or Columbia Gas of  Ohio and will not receive a separate bill from their electric or natural gas supplier. After the program has been approved by the voters the Commissioners will hold two Public Hearings to explain the program and answer any questions there may be. When the contract has been reviewed and signed the supplier who won the contract will send out an opt out letter to all eligible citizens. 


An aggregation program will not only provide the citizens of Scioto County with savings on their utility costs, but also peace of mind. Many citizens receive phone calls from suppliers or even are visited at their door by sales people looking to sign them up for different programs. Many times the terms of the these programs are long, technical, and confusing in nature and without careful review residents can be lead into a program that starts out with a very low rate that then balloons into a much higher rate after a few months and costs the person much more than they thought it would. These people usually do not call when the program is up and are unknowingly auto-renewed at a rate much higher than what their previous program was.


If approved by the voters, the Scioto County Commissioners are committed to providing electric and natural gas programs that offer significant savings below the “Price to Compare” for electricity and “Apples to Apples” for natural gas, at a fixed price, and with no hidden cost increases built in.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR RESIDENTS

Q. What is Aggregation?

A. An aggregation program is authorized by Ohio law and  is an easy and effective way for a large group of consumers to save money on their electric or natural gas bills.

Ohio Law allows political subdivisions  – counties, municipalities and townships – to form aggregated buying groups to purchase electricity or natural gas on behalf of their citizens. By bringing citizens together, the aggregation gains group buying power and typically can negotiate a better price with the utility supplier than each aggregation group member could have negotiated individually. The aggregator chooses the electric generation or natural gas supplier for all of the customer-members in its group.

 

Q. Is voter approval required to offer and Aggregation Program?

A. Yes – The Scioto County Commissioners are placing two issues on the November 2, 2021 Election Day ballot – one seeking approval of an electric aggregation program and the other seeking approval for a natural gas aggregation program. By voting FOR these issues, you will allow your county commissioners to offer programs to purchase electricity and natural gas at a discounted rate for the unincorporated areas of Scioto County.

 

Q. How do residents join the Aggregation Programs?

A. All eligible residents and small businesses in the unincorporated areas of Scioto County whose electric bills come from AEP or natural gas bills come from Columbia Gas of Ohio will be enrolled and will begin receiving the discounted pricing under the programs. Residents do not need to do anything to join the programs. However, anyone who does not want to participate in the program may opt out either at the beginning of the program or at any later time without paying any costs or penalties for leaving the program.

 

Q. What is a small business that qualifies to be a part of an aggregation program?

A. Small businesses that qualify are those which consume less than 700,000 kilowatts of electricity or 5,000 CCF of natural gas on an annual basis.

 

Q. What does opt out mean?

A. Since all eligible residents are automatically enrolled in the electric or natural gas aggregation programs, those residents who do not want to participate are given the opportunity to opt out. First, all residents will receive a letter from the chosen supplier (the letter will also include a message from the Scioto County Commissioners) which will contain the price and term for the program. To opt out of the program the resident simply detaches and returns the form at the bottom of this letter within the 21 day opt out period noted in the letter. If for some reason they would like to opt out after 21 days, the citizen can still opt out by contacting the supplier. RESIDENTS MAY LEAVE THE PROGRAM AT ANY TIME WITHOUT ANY COSTS OR PENALTIES - EVEN AFTER THE DUE DATE ON THE OPT-OUT FORM.

 

Q. If I join the Scioto County Electric or Natural Gas Aggregation program, who will deliver my electricity or natural gas, read my meter, and respond to emergencies, such as power outages or service disruptions?

A. Your local electric utility (AEP) or natural gas utility (Columbia Gas of Ohio) will be responsible for the delivery of electric power or natural gas to your house or business. They will continue to read your meter and YOU WILL STILL RECEIVE YOUR BILL FROM AEP OR COLUMBIA GAS OF OHIO EACH MONTH. The only thing that will change is in the electric generation or natural gas supply portion of your bill where you will see the supplier that is servicing the program and what the price is per kilowatt hour of electricity or CCF (100s of cubic feet) units of natural gas. 

 

Q. What are my energy supply choices if I decide to opt out?

A. You can stay with AEP or Columbia Gas of Ohio, which will continue to supply your electric or natural gas it always has, or you can shop for an alternative supplier. 

 

Q. Who will be assisting the Scioto County Commissioners with the Aggregation Programs?

A. The Scioto County Commissioners are members of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) Energy Program. The program is managed by Palmer Energy, an independent consultant to the CCAO who by contract is prohibited from having any relationship with any supplier, marketer or broker in the energy industry. Palmer Energy has been certified for over 20 years by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as a competitive electric and natural gas service provider (CRES and CRNGS).

 

NOTE: Green Township residents have previously voted to establish aggregation programs (Gas - November 2014 and electric - March 2015) and their residents will not be voting on the ballot issues.