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Electric Ballot Summary
By Alexis Metezier
Released/Published: Oct 24, 2011

CANTON, Ohio — 

Ballot Summary – Electric Aggregation Program

City of Canton officials have placed a ballot issue on the November 8, 2011 General Election seeking voter approval to pursue an opt-out electric aggregation program. More than 200 similar ballot initiatives have passed in communities across Ohio in the past 10 years, most by a wide margin.

The ballot initiative, if approved, would give City Council the authority, but not the obligation, to pursue an electric aggregation program similar to the City’s natural gas program that received voter approval in 2001. The City, working through its consultant, Independent Energy Consultants, would first become certified as a Governmental Aggregator with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Once certified, it would be permitted to make an electric supply offer available to our residents and businesses. Prior to certification, the city would hold 2 public hearings to explain the Plans of Operations and Governance that would be used to administer the program. Electric flow under a new program could begin as soon as March 2012.

With “opt-out” aggregation programs all eligible residential and small commercial customers are included in the program unless they decide to opt-out. The participation rate for opt-out programs tends to be very high, and because of this, suppliers are able to pass on lower rates. This program, if voter approved, will present a valuable option for our residents and small businesses in their attempts to manage their energy costs.

The ballot initiative and this program are being conducted without using any taxpayer money. The ballot must pass before any formal steps can be pursued with an opt-out program. If approved you will be hearing more details about the program as we move forward in the coming weeks and months. Participation in the program is purely voluntary. The City, like others before it, is attempting to leverage the bargaining power of a largebuying group to obtain a favorable alternative to the local utility’s supply rates. Ohio Power (electric utility) would continue to deliver your electric, maintain their distribution systems, read your meters, issue your bills, etc.

This program will impact only those residents in the City of Canton. Other cities, villages and townships in the Ohio Power service territory are already benefitting from electric aggregation programs. This program does not guarantee savings but does present another valuable option for our residents and small businesses in their attempts to manage their energy costs.

State legislators deregulated Ohio’s natural gas and electric markets in 2001 thereby enabling residents to choose their gas and/or electric suppliers. Most of the customer switching and savings have come through Governmental Aggregation programs similar to what City of Canton is pursuing. To learn more about aggregation programs please visit the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel website or the PUCO’s website

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