SIDNEY — Registered voters in the city of Sidney will be able to cast their vote on an aggregation program dealing with the cost of natural gas and electric to its residents.
Sidney City Council approved two ordinances Monday night to place the issues on the Nov. 3 ballot. The ordinances permit the Shelby County Board of Elections to submit the following questions to the voters in the city:
• “Shall the City of Sidney, OH have the authority to aggregate retail electric loads located within the governmental boundaries of the City and enter into service agreements for the sale and purchase of electricity, such aggregation to occur automatically except where any person elects to opt out?”
• “Shall the City of Sidney, OH have the authority to aggregate retail electric loads located within the governmental boundaries of the City and enter into service agreements for the sale and purchase of gas, such aggregation to occur automatically except where any person elects to opt out?”
Both ordinances authorize City Manager Mark Cundiff to enter into service agreements to facilitate the sale and purchase of service for electric and gas loads. He is also authorized to join with other political subdivisions in the electric aggregation program and the gas aggregation program.
The program, said Cundiff, won’t apply to people who opt out of the aggregation, are in a contract with a certified gas service company and/or certified electric service company, have a special contract with a natural gas distribution utility and/or electrical distribution utility, are not located within the corporation limits of the city of Sidney, or are not eligible for the aggregation by the PUCO.
If the issues are approved by the voters, then Cundiff is authorized to develop a plan of operation and governance for the program. Two public hearings on the plan of operations and governance will be held prior to council taking a vote on the adoption of the plan. Notices of the public hearings will be published once a week for two consecutive weeks prior to the public hearings.
Jordan Haarmann, procurement manager for Affordable Gas + Electric (AGE), who is working with the city on the issue, said he has ordered yard signs and banners for the election. He is also planning to attend meetings of local organizations to discuss the ballot issues.
Haarmann said since council has approved the issues to be placed on the Nov. 3 ballot, he expects other companies to visit city residents to try to get them to sign on with their companies. He recommends residents to hold off on signing with any company until after the election.
A 2-minute video about the ballot issues was shown to council. Haarmann said the video will be on AGe’s website and also be available for the city to use on their website and Facebook page. He said mailers will be sent to residents telling them about the program and press releases will also be sent to local media during the campaign prior to the election.