EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two in a two-part series on the Covington Council meeting held Monday, Nov. 2.
COVINGTON — Covington Council heard from Dan Deters of Energy Alliances during their meeting on Monday evening about gas and electric aggregation which supposedly could possbily save their residents money on their utility bills.
“We are on the forefront of energy aggregation,” Deters said about Energy Alliances. “What we do is we maintain gas and electric programs for communities throughout Ohio.”
Energy Alliances has been aggregating energy for about 10 years. They currently have approximately 220,000 houses and almost 8,000 businesses involved in their gas and electric programs. Deters later stated that West Chester and Cincinnati are two examples of the cities that they work with to aggregate their energy.
“Basically, aggregation is pretty simple,” Deters said. “All we do is we come into your municipality or your village … and we put all of the energy needs of the residents together and we buy that in bulk.”
Deters explained that the utility is not making any money on the sale of gas or power anymore.
“Nobody’s really watching out for your residents,” Deters said. “What we do is we take our strategic buying power and allow the residents to use that. It’s kind of like having Walmart buy your Coca-Cola for you. And that’s what we do. We sell billions of dollars of energy a year … We make those purchases on behalf of your residents to save them money.”
Deters stated that council would have to put this option of gas and electric aggregation on the ballot to allow residents to vote on it.
“If you take all of our programs right now, most of our electric aggregations are saving between 10 and 17 percent off of their electric power bill,” Deters said.
For the gas aggregations, Deters stated that was a bit different. He explained that when there are high-use months, e.g., between November and February, they fix a price called a “flex down” and the price to the resident “can only go down.”
“We set a cap, we buy options against that cap,” Deters said. “If the price goes up, we exercise the options. Your residents pay no more than we told them we would pay. The price goes down, we let the options go, we buy the new rate, we pass the savings onto the residents.”
Deters stated they are able to buy power strategically so that there are no big fluctuations in gas and electric bills during high use months.
The council was not asked to make any decisions about going with Energy Alliances or pursuing gas and electric aggregation for the village during their meeting.
In Busse’s report, he explained that leaf pickup will continue through Friday, Dec. 4.
“Leaf pickup is continuing with, we figure, about 50 percent of the leaves down,” Busse said. Residents should place their leaves and yard waste curbside and the village will pick up the leaves as time allows, Busse said.
Busse also explained that it is easier for the village to pick up leaves and yard waste if they are along the curb rather than in big piles. When the leaves are dry, it does not matter, but when the leaves are wet, they can become compact and harder to pick up.
The Spring Street Project is continuing to wrap up with replacing three driveway approaches, a curb and drive approach, and three sidewalk pads.
“We are continuing discussions about the steps in front of 501 Spring St.,” Busse said. “The homeowner is working to obtain estimates on replacing those steps.”
The village is also looking to update their employees on their health care coverage for next year with a voluntary meeting on Thursday.
For Busse’s last item, he discussed the purchase of property at 136 N. High St.
“At council’s direction, I have signed the agreement to purchase the property pending a successful environmental review,” Busse said. He stated that he contacted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for a grant to complete the phase 1 and asbestos study for the property.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall