The first call concerning electric aggregation rates came in to City Hall on Monday. When I arrived home following Monday evening’s City Council Meeting, I understood why. The letter sent to my home was waiting for me on the kitchen table.
I scanned the obligatory letter sent to each residential customer advising of the change in electric suppliers and the new aggregated electric rate. By law, the letters have to be sent, but they can be confusing.
If you are happy with the rate ($ 0.0529 per kilowatt hour) and do not wish to find a different supplier, you should simply throw the letter away. If you wish to leave the city’s program, you need to fill out the bottom part of the letter and mail it back to Dynegy at Post Office Box 650764, Dallas, Texas 75265-0764, or telephone Dynegy at 888-682-2170 before March 1.
Although March 1 is the deadline, you can actually leave the city’s aggregation pool at any time without penalty. That provision is far different than most programs that obligate you to remain in the program for a fixed period of time (usually multiple years) and if you decide to leave, charge you a stiff penalty.
Aggregation is no different than any other contract — you need to read the fine print. Other suppliers may offer a very low introductory rate (usually good for three, four or six months), then increase the rate significantly. The rate you are being charged ($ 0.0529 per kilowatt hour) will be in effect through your April 2020 meter reading. At that time, our rate and the rate of the other members of the aggregate pool will be reduced to 4.88 cents per kilowatt hour.
If you remain a member of the city aggregate pool, you will continue to receive one bill from DP&L. The Dynegy charge will simply be a part of that bill.
One of the callers who phoned City Hall concerning aggregation was upset that the City was competing with DP&L. That simply is not the case.
DP&L is no longer in the electric generation business. Just as some years ago, DP&L divested itself of the natural gas business by selling that business to Vectren, they have also ceased generating electricity. They sold the electric generation business to Kimura Power. Today, DP&L is solely in the electric transmission business. You call them whenever you have a power outage.
Affordable Gas + Electric (AGE) continues to be the city’s contracted consultant with respect to the aggregation process. AGE has been in the aggregation business for some time. They began in Illinois, where aggregation took hold long before it did in Ohio. They provide the expertise to manage and maintain an aggregation program, a skill set that was lacking in Sidney, and nearly every community in the country.
Using the services of AGE has been a tremendous benefit to us, and to the city’s consumers. Their efforts have helped to save residents and small businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars — just in Sidney!
Growing the pool has been something that I, along with the folks at AGE, have continued to work toward. There are a number of municipalities that could join the pool, ranging from communities as small as Christiansburg (population 500) and Pleasant Hill (population 1,200) to Marysville (24,406) and Dayton (140,489). There are also the unincorporated areas that are eligible (households served by a rural electric cooperative are not eligible).
Fortunately over time and as a result of our efforts, the aggregate pool has continued to increase in size. Surrounding communities that are a part of the aggregate pool include Anna, Ansonia, Belle Center, Bellefontaine, Botkins, Bradford, Covington, DeGraff, Fort Loramie, Greenville, Lockington, Quincy, Russia, Urbana, Wayne Lakes and West Milton, as well as the unincorporated areas of Newberry Township in Miami County.
I want to again mention that none of the city, village or township program sponsors receive any monetary benefit from aggregation. The benefit comes from knowing that our consumers save money on utility costs — costs that have increased dramatically in the past several years.
I also want to mention that letters concerning natural gas will be mailed within the next few weeks. The natural gas provider will be changing from Constellation to Volunteer Energy, the low bidder for this cycle. That change will be effective with the May 2019 bill. Similarly with the electric program, if you are a member of the natural gas aggregate and do not want to opt out of the program, simply destroy your letter and do nothing.
If your electric or natural gas supply contract is ending soon and you would like to investigate the city’s program, I would encourage you to visit the city’s website at www.sidneyoh.com/utilities/aggreagtion.asp for more information. Additional information may also be obtained by contacting atAGE 618-203-8328.
The writer is the mayor of Sidney.