Voters in 5 towns OK energy issues in

By Michael Seffrin -

SIDNEY — Voters in five Shelby County communities approved energy-aggregation issues Tuesday that will allow programs that proponents say will save consumers money on their electric and/or natural gas bills.

Voters also approved a tax levy for the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department by a vote of 8,675 to 5,675.

Voters in Sidney, Russia, Botkins and Fort Loramie passed separate issues for community choice aggregation for electric and natural gas. A fifth community, Lockington, approved the aggregation issue on the ballot for electric only.

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.

Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst said concerning the issues, he “hoped it would” pass, but in talking to residents during the election campaign, he found many initially “didn’t understand” how the program would work.

The unofficial vote results by community were:

• Sidney — electric, 2,688-2,188; gas, 2,682-2,166.

• Botkins — electric, 323-60; gas, 320-62.

• Fort Loramie — electric, 576-55; gas, 577-55.

• Lockington — electric, 28-16.

• Russia — electric, 201-29; gas, 199-29.

Affordable Gas & Electric is the consultant assisting Sidney and the villages with establishing electric and natural gas aggregation programs.

By Michael Seffrin

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.