SIDNEY — The first of two public hearings that will be held in Sidney on energy aggregation took place in City Council chambers Tuesday night prior to council’s worshop session.
A few residents attended the hearing, but most questions came from council members. Another hearing will be held Monday, Oct. 5, in council chambers.
The hearings are part of the effort to educate voters about issues they will decide at the polls Nov. 3. Ballot issues concerning energy aggregation for electricity and natural gas will be on the ballot. Voters will decide whether the city should participate in the energy aggregation program.
With aggregation, a municipality combines the retail electric and/or natural gas load of its residential and small commercial constituents and negotiates a rate with a competitive energy supplier to provide the customers’ energy supply. The residents benefit because the larger, aggregated load permits the municipality to negotiate a rate with the competitive supplier that is lower than the traditional utility’s current service rate for individual customers.
In addition to Sidney, other area towns proposing energy aggregation programs are Russia, Botkins, Fort Loramie and Bradford.
Affordable Gas & Electric (AGE) is the consultant assisting the city with establishing electric and natural gas aggregation programs.
Explaining the program at Tuesday night’s hearing were AGE representatives Jordan Haarmann, procurement manager, and Ross Calliott, vice president, operations. They showed a short video about the program and answered questions.
The AGE reps stressed that residents who don’t want to participate in the program may “opt out.” They then can continue shopping for energy on their own or take the “default rate” offered by Dayton Power and Light and Vectren. There are no penalties to opt in or out.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan said she already knew the answer to her question, but she asked the AGE reps to confirm that it was correct. They agreed that the city doesn’t get any financial benefit or kickback from the program; all the savings are passed through to customers.
The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.