DARKE COUNTY — Voters in several communities approved electric and natural gas aggregation questions by wide margins ranging from 55 percent approval to more than 75 percent approval.
The communities of Greenville, Ansonia, Wayne Lakes, Bellefontaine, Belle Center, DeGraff, Quincy, West Milton, Covington, and Newberry Township as well as Anna in Shelby County will be combined in a bulk bidding process to secure fixed electricity and natural gas rates for eligible residents and small businesses.
Jeff Haarmann, Managing Partner of Affordable Gas and Electric (AGE) said “I was very pleased with the results of the ballot questions and my team is excited to get to work on securing the lowest rates, for the longest term, from the most qualified suppliers in our industry. Suppliers have already reached out to us asking when the bidding process will begin.”
Haarmann says the bid process begins with approval of the Plan of Operation and Governance that each community will adopt to run their program. Certification of the aggregation programs at the Public Utility Commission of Ohio will follow and a bidding process will be initiated. If all goes as planned and the electricity market stays favorable, AGE expects to have the bid process completed by mid-February with new lower electricity rates in place before the summer air conditioning season begins.
Last November, the communities of Sidney, Ft. Loramie, Russia, Botkins, Bradford, and Lockington approved similar aggregation programs. The bidding process for those communities resulted in a 36 month fixed rate that was 27 percent below DP&L’s previous 12-month supply rates.
Haarmann added the group of communities who approved ballot questions during this presidential election period will ultimately be lined up with the Sidney group of communities for even better negotiating power.
The initial bids will focus on electricity. Natural gas bids will likely be conducted after the electricity bids have been completed as the seasonal market for natural gas will likely be better during the summer as opposed to securing natural gas rates during the peak winter prices. However, the bids for both electricity and natural gas will go out simultaneously so a measure of the market can be attained for both commodities.