Some voters to decide energy issues

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — Residents in unincorporated areas of Shelby County and residents of the village of Anna will see issues on the ballot Nov. 8 concerning the community choice to aggregate electric and natural gas loads.

With aggregation, a group combines the electric and/or natural gas load of its residential and small commercial consituents and negotiates a rate with a competitive energy supplier to provide the customers’ energy supply at a rate that is lower than the traditional utility’s service rate for individual customers.

Voters will decide for or against electric and natural gas aggregation as separate issues. In 2015, voters in Sidney, Russia, Botkins and Fort Loramie voted for both aggregations; Lockington voters approved electric aggregation only.

“Buying in bulk is better buying power,” said Shelby County Commissioner Bob Guillozet. “Residents in Botkins, Sidney, Russia and Fort Loramie have said they have seen savings on their monthly bill. We’re hoping to see that in the county, too.”

Each political subdivision has to be its own aggregation. The issues on this year’s ballot affect only residents in unincorporated areas of Shelby County and, separately, residents of Anna. Passing the issue will not create one large aggregation of Shelby County as a whole.

“Each political subdivision would sign the contract at a rate for its own aggregation. The commissioners would sign one for the unincorporated areas,” Guillozet said. Anna adminstrators would sign the village’s contract.

“Village government gets nothing out of it,” said Anna Administrator Wayne York. “The savings go right to the consumer. You’ll still get your bill from your current vendor. Other villages in Shelby County have reported savings of up to 20 percent. There’s no downside to it.”

People who are members of Pioneer Electric Cooperative would not be eligible to participate in the aggregation or get the negotiated rate for electricity. Neither would people who have negotiated their own rates with other suppliers. However, they will be able to vote for or against the measures.

“You can help your neighbor out and maybe lower his bill” by voting in favor of them, Guillozet said. If the measures pass, all customers in the affected areas who are not Pioneer cooperative members and have not signed a contract with a supplier will automatically become part of the electric aggregation and get the negotiated rate. Individuals with their own contracts for energy can join the aggregation when their contracts run out. And Pioneer members will be eligible to participate in the natural gas aggregation.

There is no cost to the consumer to be part of any of the aggregations. And anyone can opt out of participating at any time.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-548-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-548-4824.