COVINGTON — Before Covington Council’s regular meeting Monday evening, the council held an information session for residents to learn about the gas and electric aggregation programs that the residents will be voting on in November.
“On Nov. 8, residents inside Covington and the unincorporated areas of Newberry Township will be seeing two questions on the ballot — one for electricity aggregation, one for natural gas aggregation,” Jordan Haarman, procurement manager of Affordable Gas and Electric (AGE), said.
AGE is the consultant and broker for the village of Covington and the unincorporated areas of Newberry Township’s possible aggregation programs.
“Currently, shoppers in the DP&L service area have the ability to go choose their own retail electric supplier, where they buy their power from,” Haarman said, adding that he was focusing on electricity as an example to explain aggregation. Haarman explained that while Dayton Power and Light delivers the electricity and maintains the power lines, consumers are still able to choose the provider for their electric generation.
“Dayton Power and Light continues to deliver the power to you, they maintain the lines, they charge the delivery fee that’s on your bill separate from the supply charges or the electric generation charges. In the electric generation section, though, you have the choice as to who your provider is, and right now you can do so on an individual basis choosing from a number of different suppliers,” Haarman said.
“What aggregation is going to do is combine the entire community here in Covington and the unincorporated area of Newberry Township with 11 other communities that AGE is representing at the November ballot, including the city of Greenville, the city of Bellefontaine, the village of West Milton, and several others in the area.”
The aggregation programs would bring those communities together to shop for lower electric and gas rates as a group.
“What we will do then if the vote is approved by a simple majority for both the electric and natural gas, we will pull everybody together, and we shop the entire group for electric and natural gas rates, and that bulk purchasing power drives the rates down further,” Haarman said.
Suppliers will bid on those electric and gas rates. Those rates are then locked in for a period of two or three years, meaning that even if the market costs of energy generation fluctuates, those rates will still stay the same during that time period.
According to AGE, recent aggregation rates “have been substantially lower than DP&L’s 12-month historical Price to Compare,” which they listed as 7.49 cents per kilowatt-hour. One example of an electric rate secured through one of their aggregation programs was that of 5.441 cents per kilowatt-hour that was obtained in 2016 for 36 months. It showed 25 percent in savings or more than $200 of potential savings per year for each participating household.
One resident asked who customers call if there is a power outage. Haarman said that, with electricity, that will still be DP&L, as they will still continue to supply the energy and bill the residents.
There is also the option for residents in those areas to opt out of the program at no cost. Residents can also rejoin the aggregation programs at a later date if they choose.
Covington Mayor Ed McCord explained that the village first became interested in possible aggregation programs for their residents after the mayor of Sidney contacted Village Administrator Mike Busse about it. The city of Sidney recently entered into utilities aggregation programs, receiving an electric rate 27 percent below DP&L’s default rate.
McCord was adamant that the village government is not receiving any “kickbacks” or benefits by promoting these aggregation programs, but is pursing them to help village residents save money on their utilities bills.
“This is a program for the residents,” McCord said. “After we checked it out, we couldn’t find a downside.”
“For the residents, there is no downside,” Busse said.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336